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Al Jazeera, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Overthrow of Morsi

Mus­lim Broth­er­hood spir­i­tu­al leader Youssef Al Qaradawi on Al Jazeera

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. (The flash dri­ve includes the anti-fas­cist books avail­able on this site.)

COMMENT: In past arti­cles, we have not­ed the close rela­tion­ship between the Al Jazeera net­work and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.  (The Broth­er­hood is an Islam­ic fas­cist orga­ni­za­tion allied with the Axis in World War II and nur­tured in the post­war peri­od by West­ern intel­li­gence ser­vices and Per­sian Gulf oil king­doms as anti-com­mu­nist and anti-Israeli proxy war­riors.)

Based in Qatar (which is uti­liz­ing I.G. Far­ben’s Fischer/Tropsch process), the net­work is grow­ing in pres­ence in the Unit­ed States.

In addi­tion to its pur­chase of Al Gore’s “Cur­rent TV” and result­ing entry into the U.S. cable TV mar­ket, Al Jazeera has been broad­cast­ing for some time on the Paci­fi­ca Radio net­work, which caters to the so-called pro­gres­sive com­mu­ni­ty.

(In past posts, we have not­ed that Al Jazeera/Muslim Broth­er­hood’s benight­ed pres­ence in Amer­i­can media, along with that of Ber­tels­mann, cor­re­sponds to a tee to the Ser­pen­t’s Walk sce­nario we have dis­cussed for many years.)

A gag order, Mus­lim Broth­er­hood style

One place where Al Jazeer­a’s influ­ence is NOT wax­ing is Egypt.  (See text excerpts below.) In addi­tion to the fact that many of their jour­nal­ists have resigned in protest over the net­work’s bla­tant pro-Broth­er­hood bias, the Egypt­ian army has been arrest­ing some of its staff in the crack­down on Mor­si’s sup­port­ers.

In addi­tion, Al Jazeera cor­re­spon­dents have been barred from news con­fer­ences by fel­low jour­nal­ists, because of the net­work’s pro-Broth­er­hood stance.

In an update, we note that the Egypt­ian gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to be at log­ger­heads with the net­work.

 

“Al-Jazeera Egypt Staff Resign Over Orders To “Favor” The Mus­lim Broth­er­hood” by gmb­watch; Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Dai­ly Watch; 7/9/2013.

EXCERPT: Gulf media is report­ing that 22 mem­bers of the Al-Jazeera Egypt­ian bureau have resigned in protest over what they say were instruc­tions from the man­age­ment to “favor the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.” Accord­ing to a Gulf News report: The news chan­nel Al Jazeera Mubash­er Misr saw 22 mem­bers of staff resign on Mon­day in Egypt over what they alleged was cov­er­age that was out of sync with real events in Egypt.

Anchor Karem Mah­moud announced that the staff had resigned in protest against what he called ‘biased cov­er­age’ of the events in Egypt by the Qatari broad­cast­er.

Mah­moud said that the res­ig­na­tions had been brought about by a per­ceived lack of com­mit­ment and Al Jazeera pro­fes­sion­al­ism in media cov­er­age, adding that ‘the man­age­ment in Doha pro­vokes sedi­tion among the Egypt­ian peo­ple and has an agen­da against Egypt and oth­er Arab coun­tries.’

Mah­moud added that the man­age­ment used to instruct each staff mem­ber to favour the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.

He said that ‘there are instruc­tions to us to tele­cast cer­tain news’.

Hag­gag Sala­ma, a cor­re­spon­dent of the net­work in Lux­or, had resigned on Sun­day accus­ing it of ‘air­ing lies and mis­lead­ing view­ers’.

He announced his res­ig­na­tion in a phone-in inter­view with Dream 2 chan­nel.

Mean­while, four Egypt­ian mem­bers of edi­to­r­i­al staff at Al Jazeera’s head­quar­ters in Doha resigned in protest against what they termed a ‘biased edi­to­r­i­al pol­i­cy’ per­tain­ing to the events in Egypt, Ala’a Al Aioti, a news pro­duc­er, told Gulf News by phone . . .

In 2009, Egypt­ian author­i­ties were report­ed to be in the process of revok­ing Al-Jazeera’s license to broad­cast and that the net­work was plan­ning to close its bureau office in Cairo.

Leaked US State Depart­ment cables indi­cate that Al-Jazeera, based in Qatar and fund­ed by the Qatari gov­ern­ment, oper­ates as an arm of Qatari for­eign pol­i­cy which has recent­ly been strong­ly sup­port­ive of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and the recent­ly deposed Mohamed Mor­si. . . .

RECOMMENDED READING: “Why Does Al Jazeera Love A Hate­ful Islam­ic Extrem­ist?” by gmb­watch; Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Dai­ly Watch; 7/11/2013.

EXCERPT: Bloomberg colum­nist Jef­frey Gold­berg has pub­lished an arti­cle titled “Why Does Al Jazeera Love a Hate­ful Islam­ic Extrem­ist?” that sum­ma­rizes recent devel­op­ments adverse for Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood leader Youssef Qaradawi. The arti­cle begins:

So, it hasn’t been the best week for Al Jazeera, the tele­vi­sion net­work owned by Qatar’s despot­ic rul­ing fam­i­ly, for the same rea­son that it hasn’t been a great week for the despot­ic rul­ing fam­i­ly itself: the ouster of Egypt’s pres­i­dent, Mohamed Mur­si, the bump­kin fun­da­men­tal­ist.

Qatar pumped a lot of mon­ey into Mursi’s Mus­lim Broth­er­hood gov­ern­ment, and for what? The Qatari roy­al fam­i­ly should sue the Broth­er­hood for malfea­sance. So much hope was rid­ing on Mursi’s exper­i­ment in polit­i­cal Islam. Although Qatar spreads risk around a bit — it has pro­vid­ed mil­lions of dol­lars to Islamists in Syr­ia and to the Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist group Hamas (now there’s an invest­ment in the future) — Mur­si rep­re­sent­ed its main chance to advance the cause of Islam­ic fun­da­men­tal­ism.

And now, to add insult to finan­cial injury, Sau­di Ara­bia just promised post-Mur­si Egypt $5 bil­lion, and the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates, anoth­er of Qatar’s main rivals, has kicked in $3 bil­lion.

As for Al Jazeera, which is sched­uled to intro­duce its Amer­i­can net­work next month in place of Al Gore’s hap­less Cur­rent TV, well, let’s put it this way: It will cer­tain­ly be more pop­u­lar among Amer­i­cans than it is among Egyp­tians. Which isn’t say­ing much.

Jour­nal­ists Protest

The mil­lions of Egyp­tians who rose up against Mursi’s rule also aired their feel­ings about Al Jazeera’s breath­less pro-Mus­lim Broth­er­hood cov­er­age. The harsh crit­i­cism direct­ed at the net­work prompt­ed Egypt­ian reporters to expel Al Jazeera reporters from a recent news con­fer­ence, and led sev­er­al jour­nal­ists to quit Al Jazeera’s Egypt oper­a­tion, appar­ent­ly to protest its obvi­ous bias.

One of the cor­re­spon­dents who quit, Hag­gag Sala­ma, accused his ex-boss­es of ‘air­ing lies and mis­lead­ing view­ers.’ The jour­nal­ist Abdel Latif el-Menawy is report­ed to have called Al Jazeera a ‘pro­pa­gan­da chan­nel’ for the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. It’s pos­si­ble that some of the jour­nal­ists who quit did so as a mat­ter of self-preser­va­tion; the Egypt­ian mil­i­tary is behav­ing in pre­dictably heavy-hand­ed ways toward jour­nal­ists it doesn’t like. But it’s also entire­ly plau­si­ble that they quit because they couldn’t abide Qatari gov­ern­ment inter­fer­ence in their report­ing. . . .

“RECOMMENDED READING: Al Jazeera Faces Crit­i­cism In Egypt Over Its Cov­er­age Of Mus­lim Broth­er­hood”; Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Watch; 1/8/2013.

EXCERPT: The Wash­ing­ton Post has fea­tured a sto­ry titled “Al Jazeera Faces Crit­i­cism In Egypt Over Its Cov­er­age Of Mus­lim Broth­er­hood” which looks at crit­i­cism of Al Jazeera over its rela­tion­ship to the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. The sto­ry begins:

“Ever since the military’s ouster of Egypt­ian pres­i­dent Mohamed Mor­si in July, Al Jazeera, the pio­neer­ing Arab-lan­guage news broad­cast­er, hasn’t shrunk from call­ing his removal some­thing the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment won’t: a coup.
That high­ly loaded dec­la­ra­tion, as well as its relent­less and, crit­ics say, sym­pa­thet­ic cov­er­age of Mor­si and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood move­ment, has turned Al Jazeera into a vir­tu­al ene­my of the state in Egypt. Its jour­nal­ists have been harassed and banned, and five remain in cus­tody, includ­ing three who were arrest­ed last week for alleged­ly harm­ing nation­al secu­ri­ty. Al Jazeera’s local TV stu­dios in Egypt, though not its transna­tion­al satel­lite trans­mis­sions, have been shut down, forc­ing its few remain­ing Egypt­ian jour­nal­ists to work from makeshift facil­i­ties, such as a Cairo hotel room. . . .
. . . . Since then, Egypt­ian author­i­ties and Al Jazeera’s crit­ics — includ­ing some of the network’s own employ­ees — have accused it of being a mouth­piece for Mor­si and the now-out­lawed Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.

Al Jazeera has giv­en a lot sup­port to the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. There’s no doubt about that,’ said Hugh Miles, a free­lance jour­nal­ist in Cairo and the author of ‘Al-Jazeera: The Inside Sto­ry of the Arab News Chan­nel That Is Chal­leng­ing the West.’ . . .”

. . . . The GMBDW report­ed ear­li­er this week that Egypt had sum­moned the Qatari Ambas­sador to the Egypt­ian for­eign min­istry in order to object to Qatari crit­i­cism of the crack­down on the Broth­er­hood as well as to Qatari broad­cast­er Al-Jazeera’s cov­er­age of events.

The GMBDW report­ed in Sep­tem­ber 2013 on the ongo­ing con­flicts regard­ing Al-Jazeera’s cov­er­age of events in Egypt. In July 2012, the GMBDW had report­ed on the res­ig­na­tion of the 22 mem­bers of the Al-Jazeera Egypt­ian bureau in protest over what they say were instruc­tions from the man­age­ment to “favor the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.” In 2009, Egypt­ian author­i­ties were report­ed to be in the process of revok­ing Al-Jazeera’s license to broad­cast and that the net­work was plan­ning to close its bureau office in Cairo.

Leaked US State Depart­ment cables indi­cate that Al-Jazeera, based in Qatar and fund­ed by the Qatari gov­ern­ment, oper­ates as an arm of Qatari for­eign pol­i­cy which has recent­ly been strong­ly sup­port­ive of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and the recent­ly deposed Mohamed Mor­si. Our pre­de­ces­sor pub­li­ca­tion exten­sive­ly cov­ered the role of Qatar as a sup­port­er of the Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and was the first to report on the strong ties to the Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and Hamas of Wadah Khan­far, the for­mer Direc­tor-Gen­er­al of Al-Jazeera who resigned in 2011 after serv­ing for eight years. . . . .

 

Discussion

7 comments for “Al Jazeera, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Overthrow of Morsi”

  1. Accord­ing to ana­lyst David P. Gold­man (AKA ‘Spen­gler’), Qatar’s emir may have been deposed by his son, because he spent 1/3 of Qatar’s for­eign cur­ren­cy reserves prop­ping the Broth­ers in Egypt.
    See...
    http://pjmedia.com/spengler/2013/07/08/islams-civil-war-moves-to-egypt/?print=1

    Posted by Vanfield | July 15, 2013, 3:15 pm
  2. http://www.politico.com/story/2013/07/congress-qatar-stop-funding-hamas-93965.html

    Con­fronting Qatar’s Hamas ties
    By JONATHAN SCHANZER | 7/10/13 1:52 PM EDT

    Qatar’s ambas­sador to Wash­ing­ton, Mohammed Bin Abdul­lah al-Rumai­hi, is about to receive a let­ter that will put his diplo­mat­ic skills to the test.

    Con­gress­men Peter Roskam (R‑IL) and John Bar­row (D‑GA) are cir­cu­lat­ing a “Dear Col­league” let­ter on Capi­tol Hill this week, col­lect­ing sig­na­tures to chal­lenge the uber-wealthy Per­sian Gulf emi­rate over its finan­cial ties to the Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist group Hamas.

    The draft let­ter, addressed direct­ly to Rumai­hi, acknowl­edges that “long­stand­ing, strate­gic bilat­er­al rela­tions between the Unit­ed States and Qatar, includ­ing a strong defense pact, are of crit­i­cal impor­tance to both coun­tries.”

    “How­ev­er,” it con­tin­ues, “we believe that Qatar’s rela­tion­ship with Hamas empow­ers, legit­imizes, and bol­sters an orga­ni­za­tion com­mit­ted to vio­lence and hatred.”

    Qatar is a valu­able ally for Wash­ing­ton. The sprawl­ing al-Udeid Air­base near Doha is a cru­cial asset for CENTCOM, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the recent con­flicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. More recent­ly, Qatar has played a key role in orga­niz­ing, financ­ing, and arm­ing the oppo­si­tion to Bashar al- Assad’s regime in Syr­ia at a time when the U.S. gov­ern­ment has failed to reach con­sen­sus.

    How­ev­er, Roskam, Bar­row, and a grow­ing group of oth­er leg­is­la­tors don’t believe that should absolve the Qataris of their sup­port for a ter­ror­ist group best known for sui­cide bomb­ings and fir­ing rock­ets into civil­ian areas. Of par­tic­u­lar con­cern is Qatar’s report­ed pledge of $400 mil­lion in finan­cial aid to Hamas last year, and the fact that Hamas’s leader, Khaled Meshal, now hangs his hat in Doha. Meshal recent­ly deliv­ered a ser­mon at Qatar’s Grand Mosque in which he affirmed Hamas’s com­mit­ment “to lib­er­ate Jerusalem” – a euphemism for the destruc­tion of Israel.

    The con­gres­sion­al let­ter also notes that Qatar’s recent­ly-retired emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khal­i­fa al-Thani, made “the first vis­it by a for­eign leader to Gaza since Hamas took pow­er in 2007,” and fur­ther express­es alarm that the emir char­tered a pri­vate plane in April for Hamas mil­i­tants to vis­it Doha.

    Of course, the emir recent­ly abdi­cat­ed the throne to make way for his son, Tamim. And it’s pos­si­ble that Tamim will eschew his father’s Hamas pol­i­cy. Rumors in the Ara­bic-lan­guage press even sug­gest­ed that Tamim gave Meshal 48 hours to vacate Qatar after the top­pling of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in Egypt last week.

    It is clear now that these were only rumors. Qatar’s pol­i­cy has not wavered. But what if con­gres­sion­al pres­sure could force Tamim to change course?

    The tim­ing of this let­ter is crit­i­cal. It coin­cides with the fall of Egypt’s Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, which was one of Hamas’s most impor­tant patrons. One senior Israeli secu­ri­ty offi­cial told me that he viewed Egypt as the “back office” for Hamas. Cairo, for exam­ple, host­ed the group’s inter­nal elec­tions ear­li­er this year, and allowed one of its more senior lead­ers, Mousa Abu Mar­zouk, to be based there. More impor­tant­ly, under­ground tun­nels con­nect­ing Egypt’s Sinai Penin­su­la to the Hamas-con­trolled Gaza Strip serve as a cru­cial life­line for the smug­gling of weapons, goods, and cash.

    With Egypt’s Broth­er­hood down for the count, the Egypt­ian jun­ta is now shut­ting down the Hamas tun­nels. With few allies left in the region, Hamas is now cling­ing to Qatar for finan­cial and polit­i­cal assis­tance. If Con­gress can suc­cess­ful­ly chal­lenge that rela­tion­ship, the Israeli secu­ri­ty offi­cial believes that it “can weak­en or even destroy” the move­ment.

    Roskam and Barrow’s let­ter to al-Rumai­hi is expect­ed to drop some­time this month. It will fall far short of label­ing Qatar a “state spon­sor of ter­ror,” but it will undoubt­ed­ly encounter stiff resis­tance from the State Depart­ment, which jeal­ous­ly pro­tects its alliance with this tiny but influ­en­tial state.

    Roskam and Bar­row are appar­ent­ly pre­pared for this bat­tle, par­tic­u­lar­ly if Sec­re­tary of State John Ker­ry weighs in. As they note in their let­ter, in 2009, then-Sen­a­tor Ker­ry warned: “Qatar can’t con­tin­ue to be an Amer­i­can ally on Mon­day that sends mon­ey to Hamas on Tues­day.” We’re about to find out if that’s true.

    Jonathan Schanz­er, a for­mer ter­ror­ism finance ana­lyst at the U.S. Depart­ment of the Trea­sury, is vice pres­i­dent for research at Foun­da­tion for Defense of Democ­ra­cies.

    Posted by Vanfield | July 18, 2013, 8:48 am
  3. Here are sev­er­al arti­cles from the Egypt­ian press, show­ing Ger­many pimp­ing for the M. Bros.

    http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/0/75161/Egypt/0/Strifewracked-Egypt-facing-moment-of-truth-Germany.aspx

    Strife-wracked Egypt fac­ing ‘moment of truth’: Ger­many
    AFP , Fri­day 28 Jun 2013

    Ger­many on Fri­day called an esca­la­tion in polit­i­cal vio­lence in Egypt a “moment of truth” for its fledg­ling democ­ra­cy and urged Islamist Pres­i­dent Mohamed Mor­si to imple­ment reforms.

    For­eign Min­is­ter Gui­do West­er­welle under­lined that demon­stra­tors had a right to peace­ful assem­bly and urged both sides to refrain from blood­shed after one activist was killed overnight, his spokesman said.

    West­er­welle “is deeply con­cerned about the cur­rent esca­la­tion in polit­i­cal ten­sions in Egypt,” the spokesman, Andreas Peschke, told reporters.

    “This is in his view a key moment of truth for polit­i­cal change in Egypt.”

    West­er­welle urged all par­ties to “live up to their respon­si­bil­i­ties and pre­vent any out­break of vio­lence”.

    “What Egypt needs above all are reforms so that the eco­nom­ic sit­u­a­tion will improve and peo­ple have real future prospects,” Peschke said. “That must be, in our view, the goal of all polit­i­cal forces in Egypt.”

    Fears mount­ed of a bloody show­down between sup­port­ers and oppo­nents of Mor­si after a demon­stra­tor was killed in the lat­est vio­lence to cloud the Arab world’s most pop­u­lous democ­ra­cy.

    Islamist groups called on their sup­port­ers to camp out indef­i­nite­ly in a Cairo square Fri­day two days before a planned protest by the main­ly sec­u­lar oppo­si­tion to demand Mor­si’s res­ig­na­tion just a year after he took office.

    Rival demon­stra­tors clashed overnight out­side offices of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood’s polit­i­cal arm, the Free­dom and Jus­tice Par­ty, on whose plat­form the pres­i­dent won elec­tion last year.

    The FJP said on its web­site that one of its sup­port­ers was killed. Thir­ty peo­ple were also wound­ed, the health min­istry said.

    Ger­many, Europe’s biggest eco­nom­ic pow­er, has recent­ly stepped up its crit­i­cism of crack­downs on civ­il soci­ety in Egypt, most recent­ly slam­ming a court’s sen­tenc­ing of two staff mem­bers of a Ger­man non-gov­ern­men­tal organ­i­sa­tion for work­ing ille­gal­ly in the coun­try.

    http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/76482/Egypt/Politics-/Egypts-future-should-include-Brotherhood-Merkel.aspx

    Egyp­t’s future should include Broth­er­hood: Merkel
    Merkel said Egypt should embark on an “inclu­sive process” that accom­mo­dates all groups
    AP , Sun­day 14 Jul 2013

    File pho­to: Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel and Egypt­ian Pres­i­dent Mohamed Mor­si address the media after talks in Berlin Jan­u­ary 30, 2013. (Pho­to: Reuters)

    Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel is urg­ing Egyp­t’s new rulers not to exclude the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood from the polit­i­cal process as they work on plans for the future.

    In an inter­view with ARD tele­vi­sion Sun­day, Merkel reit­er­at­ed Ger­many’s call for the release of Mohammed Mor­si, a Broth­er­hood leader who was oust­ed as Egyp­t’s pres­i­dent by the mil­i­tary near­ly two weeks ago. The U.S. has backed that call.

    Merkel said Egypt should embark on an “inclu­sive process” that accom­mo­dates all groups. She added: “Oth­ers were exclud­ed by the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood; the oppo­site must not hap­pen now.”

    She insist­ed that every­thing must be done to find a “com­mon path” for­ward.

    Mor­si’s sup­port­ers have refused to accept his ouster or the mil­i­tary-backed time­line for tran­si­tion, which calls for con­sti­tu­tion­al changes and new elec­tions.

    http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/76315/Egypt/Politics-/Updated-Germany-calls-for-Morsi-release-in-Egypt.aspx

    Updat­ed: Ger­many calls for Mor­si release in Egypt
    Ger­many’s for­eign min­istry spokesman calls for an end to the ‘restric­tions on Mor­si’s where­abouts’
    AFP , Fri­day 12 Jul 2013

    Ger­many con­demns vio­lence in Egypt, hails Mor­si’s for­eign pol­i­cy
    Ger­many on Fri­day called for the release of oust­ed Egypt­ian pres­i­dent Mohamed Mor­si amid mount­ing ten­sions between sup­port­ers and oppo­nents over his over­throw.

    “We call for an end to the restric­tions on Mr Mor­si’s where­abouts,” a for­eign min­istry spokesman told reporters.

    The Ger­man min­istry spokesman said a “trust­ed insti­tu­tion” such as the Inter­na­tion­al Com­mit­tee of the Red Cross should be grant­ed access to Mor­si.

    Mor­si is cur­rent­ly being held in a “safe place, for his safe­ty” and has not yet been charged with any­thing, accord­ing to the Egypt­ian for­eign min­istry, but mil­i­tary and judi­cial sources say he may even­tu­al­ly face charges.

    And he called on all groups to refrain from vio­lence as the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, the influ­en­tial group from which Mor­si emerged, vowed to keep protest­ing until he is rein­stat­ed.

    “We and our part­ners are of the opin­ion that any appear­ance of selec­tive jus­tice in Egypt must be avoid­ed and there must be no polit­i­cal per­se­cu­tion,” he said.

    “That is not only an expres­sion of our prin­ci­ples on the rule of law but also our con­vic­tion that any form of polit­i­cal per­se­cu­tion would be dam­ag­ing for the future of Egypt.”

    He said “a return to democ­ra­cy” in Egypt could only suc­ceed “if all polit­i­cal forces can take part in the demo­c­ra­t­ic trans­for­ma­tion process.”

    The Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and oppo­nents of Mor­si have called sep­a­rate ral­lies across Cairo Fri­day amid fears of fur­ther blood­shed in the Arab world’s most pop­u­lous coun­try.

    http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/9/77377/World/International/Brotherhood-must-play-role-in-Egypt-reconciliation.aspx

    Broth­er­hood must play role in Egypt rec­on­cil­i­a­tion: Ger­man FM
    Ger­man For­eign Min­is­ter Gui­do West­er­welle says solu­tion to Egypt polit­i­cal cri­sis requires par­tic­i­pa­tion of Mus­lim Broth­er­hood
    Ahram Online, Thurs­day 25 Jul 2013

    Ger­man For­eign Min­is­ter Gui­do West­er­welle has urged all par­ties in Egypt to find a prompt solu­tion to the coun­try’s polit­i­cal cri­sis, Al-Ahram Ara­bic news web­site report­ed.

    West­er­welle issued a state­ment on Thurs­day stress­ing that Egypt’s future can­not be decid­ed by “con­fronta­tions.”

    Egypt’s demo­c­ra­t­ic tran­si­tion requires the Mus­lim Brotherhood’s inclu­sion in the polit­i­cal scene, he added. “Paving the way for a sta­ble future will not be achieved unless the demo­c­ra­t­ic tran­si­tion includes all civil­ian lead­ers.”

    Westerwelle’s state­ment comes after Egypt­ian army chief Abdel-Fat­tah El-Sisi called for mass protests on Fri­day to give the mil­i­tary a man­date to com­bat “vio­lence and ter­ror­ism.”

    Pres­i­den­tial spokesper­son Ahmed El-Mus­li­mani stat­ed on Wednes­day that the pres­i­den­cy backed El-Sisi’s call for protests.

    “Egypt has already start­ed a war on ter­ror­ism. El-Sisi’s call for protests is to pro­tect the rev­o­lu­tion and the state,” El-Mus­li­mani added.

    http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/76733/Egypt/Politics-/Morsi-release-would-aid-reconciliation,-asserts-Ge.aspx

    Mor­si release would aid rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, asserts Ger­man ambas­sador
    Michael Bock clar­i­fies Germany’s stance on the ongo­ing deten­tion of deposed pres­i­dent Mohamed Mor­si, call­ing for an inclu­sive demo­c­ra­t­ic process and polit­i­cal rec­on­cil­i­a­tion
    Sarah El-Rashi­di, Wednes­day 17 Jul 2013

    Release Mor­si to solve Egyp­t’s cur­rent strife: Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty head
    Ger­man Ambas­sador to Egypt Michael Bock has clar­i­fied his coun­try’s posi­tion dur­ing a small press meet­ing attend­ed by Ahram Online Wednes­day at the Ger­man Embassy in Cairo fol­low­ing a con­tentious state­ment made by the Ger­man for­eign min­istry call­ing for the release of deposed pres­i­dent Mohamed Mor­si.

    The state­ment was wide­ly con­demned among Egyp­tians amidst ongo­ing polit­i­cal upheaval between sup­port­ers and oppo­nents of Morsi’s removal.

    “We call for an end to the restric­tions on Mr Mor­si’s where­abouts and sug­gest a trust­ed insti­tu­tion be grant­ed access to Mor­si,” stat­ed a Ger­man for­eign min­istry spokesman Fri­day, iden­ti­fy­ing the Inter­na­tion­al Com­mit­tee of the Red Cross as a cred­i­ble body for the task.

    Ambas­sador Bock reit­er­at­ed the same sen­ti­ments on Mor­si’s deten­tion and the inter­ven­tion of a trust­wor­thy insti­tu­tion. The ambas­sador high­light­ed that the min­istry’s state­ment was selec­tive­ly quot­ed and that impor­tant parts of its state­ment were dis­re­gard­ed by the media.

    When ques­tioned on the ratio­nale behind seek­ing Mor­si’s release, Ambas­sador Bock said that unwar­rant­ed polit­i­cal arrests of Mor­si and Mus­lim Broth­er­hood fig­ures would fur­ther alien­ate the Islamist organ­i­sa­tion and push it under­ground. Such iso­la­tion would like­ly hard­en their hero­ic sta­tus among sup­port­ers, which may have dan­ger­ous reper­cus­sions.

    “Mor­si’s release is use­ful for the coun­try’s re-democ­ra­ti­sa­tion. The judi­cia­ry should rapid­ly deter­mine a ver­dict. Is there a case against him or not?” Bock asked, elab­o­rat­ing that the Ger­man gov­ern­ment is yet to get a response from the pros­e­cu­tor gen­er­al in this regard, adding that using judi­cial chan­nels as a means to exact polit­i­cal revenge would be unwise.

    EU calls for inclu­sive approach

    The Euro­pean Union appears to be adopt­ing a sim­i­lar stance with regards to Mor­si’s release. Cather­ine Ash­ton, the EU’s for­eign pol­i­cy chief, announced pri­or to her arrival in Egypt on Tues­day: “I am going to Egypt to rein­force our mes­sage that there must be a ful­ly inclu­sive polit­i­cal process, tak­ing in all groups that sup­port democ­ra­cy.”

    Ash­ton met with Inter­im Pres­i­dent Adly Man­sour and Gen­er­al Abdel-Fat­tah El-Sisi, defence min­is­ter and head of the army, as well as Nabil Fah­my, the new­ly-appoint­ed for­eign min­is­ter.

    She also met with offi­cials from the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood’s Free­dom and Jus­tice Par­ty, Amr Dar­rag, for­mer min­is­ter of plan­ning and inter­na­tion­al coop­er­a­tion, and Mohammed Ali Beshr, who served as min­is­ter of state for local devel­op­ment until 3 July 2013 — the day of Mor­si’s ouster.

    The EU’s role in mod­er­at­ing rec­on­cil­i­a­tion efforts between polit­i­cal cur­rents was the focus of dis­cus­sions, as well as the release of Mor­si.

    In terms of defin­ing the ouster of Mor­si, which fol­lowed mil­lions tak­ing to the streets 30 June call­ing for ear­ly pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, Ambas­sador Bock said that the events of 3 July have not been clas­si­fied as a “coup d’e­tat” by the Ger­man gov­ern­ment.

    “Although the for­eign min­is­ter had said this was a set­back for democ­ra­cy, owing to the mil­i­tary’s inter­ven­tion, it was nonethe­less nev­er labelled as a coup d’e­tat,” Bock told Ahram Online, pre­fer­ring to refer to 30 June as “the sec­ond wave of the Jan­u­ary 25 Rev­o­lu­tion” and “a man­i­fes­ta­tion of the will of the Egypt­ian peo­ple.”

    In his gov­ern­men­t’s fur­ther defence, Bock drew atten­tion to a state­ment made by Ger­man Pres­i­dent Joachim Gauck that was not quot­ed by the papers, which stat­ed that under volatile con­di­tions where civ­il war is a risk, extra­or­di­nary mea­sures must be tak­en.

    Gauck also voiced Ger­many’s will­ing­ness to sup­port a new demo­c­ra­t­ic order in Egypt; such state­ments con­tra­dict claims in the media of bias, sug­gest­ed Ambas­sador Bock.

    “We are watch­ing and try­ing to help Egypt on its dif­fi­cult way,” he pledged, whilst con­ced­ing that the path to democ­ra­cy is going to be a long and “bumpy” one, as rev­o­lu­tions take time to unfold.

    ‘We liaise with all sides’

    Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion is key, stressed Bock, so as to end the suf­fer­ing of the Egypt­ian peo­ple. Order and eco­nom­ic progress need to be re-estab­lished. Dif­fer­ent fac­tions need to be involved in the demo­c­ra­t­ic process, he said.

    “We liaise with all sides: the mil­i­tary, the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, the left­ists and lib­er­als, etc,” he added.

    The mil­i­tary and judi­cia­ry are aware of the need for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, main­tained the ambas­sador, inti­mat­ing trust in the mil­i­tary’s involve­ment in the polit­i­cal process, stress­ing that retain­ing pow­er would not be in its inter­ests. Time needs to be giv­en and crit­i­cism of the army lim­it­ed, urged the ambas­sador, to enable it to con­tin­ue what has been start­ed.

    The impor­tance of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood’s con­tin­ued polit­i­cal inclu­sion was under­lined by Bock, based on the organ­i­sa­tion’s pop­u­lar­i­ty amongst the poor and due to its long stand­ing role as a wel­fare provider dur­ing the Mubarak era.

    The Ger­man diplo­mat nev­er­the­less admit­ted that Mor­si and Mus­lim Broth­er­hood rule was marred by many errors. One of the major mis­takes made by Mor­si, he high­light­ed, relat­ed to his promise to allow ample time to debate the new con­sti­tu­tion whilst instead unex­pect­ed­ly rush­ing the process to a vote. Such actions indi­cat­ed a clear dis­re­gard of the demo­c­ra­t­ic process.

    Yet, in spite of such mis­takes, and recent events, Bock rein­forced the impor­tance of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood not turn­ing its back on democ­ra­cy and re-join­ing polit­i­cal life.

    Crit­i­cism con­cern­ing Inter­im Pres­i­dent Man­sour Adly’s recent con­sti­tu­tion­al dec­la­ra­tion was described by Bock as expect­ed giv­en the time con­straint Adly was under in mak­ing the dec­la­ra­tion. Nonethe­less, the Ger­man ambas­sador opti­misti­cal­ly assert­ed that such crit­i­cism can now be con­struc­tive­ly voiced as part of the new demo­c­ra­t­ic process.

    Posted by Vanfield | July 30, 2013, 8:42 am
  4. @Vanfield–

    These fit right in with the lines of inquiry devel­oped on the pro­grams and in the posts for years.

    Good work!

    Dave Emory

    Posted by Dave Emory | July 30, 2013, 12:04 pm
  5. The cable news chan­nel Al Jazeera Amer­i­ca has launched! Most of us can probal­by agree on not break­ing out the cham­pagne!

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/20/al-jazeera-america-millennial-viewers/2677317/

    Posted by GK | August 20, 2013, 11:02 pm
  6. http://www.timesofisrael.com/dramatic-capture-of-a-brotherhood-leader/

    Dra­mat­ic cap­ture of a Broth­er­hood leader
    Erdogan’s accus­ing Israel of top­pling Mor­si makes mod­er­ate Arabs dis­like Turkey, colum­nist claims
    By Elhanan Miller August 21, 2013, 3:06 pm 2

    The arrest of Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie in Cairo leads the news in Ara­bic lan­guage dailies Wednes­day, which went to print before news broke of a large chem­i­cal attack in Syr­ia.

    “A secu­ri­ty source tells A‑Sharq Al-Awsat: A phone call led to Badie’s arrest,” reads the head­line of the Sau­di-owned dai­ly, fea­tur­ing a pho­to of Badie in a white shirt moments after his arrest ear­ly Tues­day morn­ing.

    Accord­ing to the newspaper’s source, police arrest­ed a Mus­lim Broth­er­hood mem­ber of par­lia­ment three days ago, and after trac­ing a phone con­ver­sa­tion, rec­og­nized the voice of Badie, who was hid­ing out at the parliamentarian’s home.

    Lon­don-based dai­ly Al-Hay­at reports that Badie, remand­ed for 15 days after being indict­ed for incite­ment to kill, will be replaced by his deputy Mah­moud Izzat, “who is known for his extrem­ism.”

    Al-Hay­at reveals the name of the par­lia­ment mem­ber who har­bored Badie in his home near the Broth­er­hood encamp­ment at Rabi­ah Al-Adawiya Square: Hazem Farouq.

    Badie is being indict­ed, among oth­er things, for using Hamas oper­a­tives to guard him per­son­al­ly and form­ing a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion to burn church­es in the coun­try, the dai­ly reports.

    “The arrest of the Broth­er­hood leader rep­re­sents a severe blow to the move­ment, which has been weak­ened by con­fronta­tions on the street… cul­mi­nat­ing in a mas­sive arrest cam­paign among the Brotherhood’s region­al lead­ers and cut­ting their lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. But Badie’s arrest may cause an erup­tion of vio­lence, espe­cial­ly con­sid­er­ing that his heir belongs to the extrem­ist wing of the move­ment,” reads the arti­cle.

    Sources inside the Broth­er­hood tell Lon­don-based dai­ly Al-Quds Al-Ara­bi that Badie will remain the movement’s leader, despite reports on the Brotherhood’s web­site of the appoint­ment of Izzat to replace him. Izzat is cur­rent­ly out­side Egypt, the sources report­ed, and it will there­fore be dif­fi­cult for him to serve as gen­er­al guide, even tem­porar­i­ly.

    Mean­while, Sau­di news web­site Elaph reports that Broth­er­hood offi­cial and tele-preach­er Safwat Higazi was arrest­ed by police as he attempt­ed to escape to Libya. Higazi report­ed­ly shaved his beard and dressed up as a veiled woman, but was nev­er­the­less appre­hend­ed near the Libyan bor­der.

    Higazi was caught fol­low­ing the arrest of his broth­er a few days ago. The brother’s mobile phone con­ver­sa­tions helped trace the Broth­er­hood offi­cial to Siwa, near the Libyan bor­der. Higazi is being indict­ed for incite­ment to vio­lence.

    Com­ment­ing on state­ments by Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan that Israel was behind the mil­i­tary coup which top­pled Mohammed Mor­si, A‑Sharq Al-Awsat colum­nist Tareq Homayed says that such state­ments dimin­ish any pos­si­bil­i­ty of coop­er­a­tion between Turkey and the “mod­er­ate Arab world.”

    “Mr. Erdogan’s cur­rent and past state­ments con­cern­ing the Egypt­ian cri­sis in no way serve Turkey’s inter­est and its rela­tions with region­al states. What Erdo­gan doesn’t under­stand is that his government’s posi­tion toward Turkey has become a source of con­cern no less than the con­cern from Iran. As they say, a wise foe is bet­ter than an igno­rant friend. Erdogan’s state­ments dimin­ish any chances of increas­ing region­al coop­er­a­tion between mod­er­ate Arabs and Turkey. They also annul the illu­sion of ‘the Turk­ish mod­el’ or the illu­sion of ‘the Erdo­gan Broth­er­hood’ which appealed to many in the region.”

    On the oth­er side of the polit­i­cal divide, Al-Jazeera colum­nist Mu’min Bsiso won­ders when Egypt­ian Defense Min­is­ter Abdel Fat­tah el-Sis­si will be tried for mur­der.

    “What is tak­ing place in Egypt today pos­es new doubts in the Arab League, which gave the mur­der­er license to kill his peo­ple with­out bat­ting an eye­lid,” writes Bsiso.

    “Can any­one imag­ine a sce­nario in which the leader of the coup, Defense Min­is­ter Abdel Fat­tah el-Sis­si, and his gang of bloody coup lead­ers — politi­cians, mil­i­tary men and par­ty mem­bers — will be saved from the reper­cus­sions of the great mas­sacre that unfold­ed on the streets of Egypt over the past few days?”

    Posted by Vanfield | August 21, 2013, 8:33 am
  7. It isn’t easy being the king. For instance, there are oth­er kings, and some­times they get pissed:

    The New York Times
    3 Gulf Coun­tries Pull Ambas­sadors From Qatar Over Its Sup­port of Islamists

    By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
    MARCH 5, 2014

    CAIRO — Ten­sions between Qatar and neigh­bor­ing Per­sian Gulf monar­chies broke out Wednes­day when Sau­di Ara­bia, the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates and Bahrain with­drew their ambas­sadors from the coun­try over its sup­port of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and allied Islamists around the region.

    The con­cert­ed effort to iso­late Qatar, a tiny, petro­le­um-rich penin­su­la, was an extra­or­di­nary rebuke of its strat­e­gy of align­ing with mod­er­ate Islamists in the hope of extend­ing its influ­ence amid the Arab Spring revolts.

    But in recent months Islamists’ gains have been rolled back, with the mil­i­tary takeover in Egypt, the gov­ern­ing par­ty shak­en in Turkey, chaos in Libya and mil­i­tary gains by the gov­ern­ment in Syr­ia.

    The oth­er gulf monar­chies had always bri­dled at Qatar’s tac­tic, view­ing pop­u­lar demands for democ­ra­cy and polit­i­cal Islam as dual threats to their pow­er.

    The Sau­di mon­archs, in par­tic­u­lar, have grum­bled for years as tiny Qatar has swag­gered around like a heavy­weight. It used its huge wealth and Al Jazeera, which it owns, as instru­ments of region­al pow­er. It nego­ti­at­ed a peace deal in Lebanon, sup­port­ed Pales­tin­ian mil­i­tants in Gaza, shipped weapons to rebels in Libya and Syr­ia, and gave refuge to exiled lead­ers of Egypt’s Broth­er­hood — all while cer­tain its own secu­ri­ty was assured by the pres­ence of a major Amer­i­can mil­i­tary base.

    ...

    In addi­tion to dif­fer­ences over Sun­ni groups like the Broth­er­hood, Qatar also views Iran as a man­age­able con­cern, while Sau­di Ara­bia sees it as an exis­ten­tial dan­ger, ana­lysts said. The inter­nal ten­sions make it hard­er for Wash­ing­ton to reas­sure the ner­vous gov­ern­ments in the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates and Sau­di Ara­bia that Amer­i­can nego­ti­a­tions with Iran over its nuclear pro­gram will not under­mine gulf secu­ri­ty. And a diplo­mat­ic break­down like the with­draw­al of the ambas­sadors all but pre­cludes any hope of coor­di­nat­ing their com­pet­ing efforts to bol­ster the Syr­i­an rebels, anoth­er West­ern goal.

    “The gulf squab­bling real­ly does not help,” Mr. Stephens said. Iran, he said, is “the only one who wins from this.”

    In a joint state­ment, Sau­di Ara­bia, the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates and Bahrain all but accused Qatar of engag­ing in espi­onage against them by sup­port­ing the Broth­er­hood and pro­vid­ing a media plat­form for its allies.

    The state­ment said they had with­drawn their envoys “to pro­tect their secu­ri­ty” because Qatar failed to ful­fill vows “to refrain from sup­port­ing orga­ni­za­tions or indi­vid­u­als who threat­en the secu­ri­ty and sta­bil­i­ty of the gulf states, through direct secu­ri­ty work or through polit­i­cal influ­ence,” and also “to refrain from sup­port­ing hos­tile media.”

    But after “stren­u­ous attempts” at a meet­ing of their rep­re­sen­ta­tives at the Gulf Coop­er­a­tion Coun­cil in Riyadh, Sau­di Ara­bia, on Tues­day night, the state­ment said, Qatar still “declined to com­mit to enforce these mea­sures.”

    In its own state­ment, Qatar expressed “sur­prise and regret” and denied that the rift had any­thing to do with “secu­ri­ty and sta­bil­i­ty.”

    The oth­er gulf states were retal­i­at­ing against Qatar for refus­ing to join them in back­ing the mil­i­tary ouster of Egypt’s Islamist pres­i­dent by Abdul-Fat­tah el-Sisi, now a field mar­shal, said Nass­er bin Hamad M. al-Khal­i­fa, a for­mer Qatari ambas­sador to Wash­ing­ton, speak­ing on Al Jazeera’s Eng­lish-lan­guage net­work. “The whole issue is real­ly about Sisi,” he said. “These coun­tries are sup­port­ing a coup d’état” and “they want Qatar to sup­port such a pol­i­cy” but “we will nev­er sup­port anoth­er regime that kills its own peo­ple.”

    He said Sau­di Ara­bia, the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates and Bahrain were try­ing to take the Arab world back to the years before the Arab Spring of 2011. “They want to keep the Arab world in the hole, they want them to stay weak coun­tries con­trolled by dic­ta­tors,” he said, but “we are not going to sup­port dic­ta­tors.”

    Ten­sions between Qatar and Sau­di Ara­bia go back fur­ther. In 2002, Sau­di Ara­bia with­drew its ambas­sador in protest over broad­casts by Al Jazeera that includ­ed crit­i­cism of the king­dom and its founder; the ambas­sador did not return until 2007.

    But it is the bat­tle for Egypt that has brought ten­sions between Qatar and its neigh­bors to a new peak. Sau­di Ara­bia and the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates have cheered Field Mar­shal Sisi for remov­ing the Islamists from pow­er in Cairo before their exam­ple or influ­ence might stir unrest clos­er to home. Both lav­ished Egypt’s new mil­i­tary-backed gov­ern­ment with crit­i­cal finan­cial sup­port, and both nod­ded approv­ing­ly when it out­lawed the Broth­er­hood as a ter­ror­ist group.

    Qatar, on the oth­er hand, was Egypt’s most impor­tant donor when the Broth­er­hood was in pow­er. Doha, along with Lon­don and Istan­bul, has become a hub for Broth­er­hood lead­ers in exile.

    And Al Jazeera has con­tin­ued to pro­vide the only Ara­bic-lan­guage news cov­er­age in Egypt sym­pa­thet­ic to the Broth­er­hood even as Egypt’s gov­ern­ment has begun treat­ing the net­work itself as some­thing close to a ter­ror­ist group, includ­ing jail­ing four of its jour­nal­ists.

    Per­haps most galling­ly to Sau­di Ara­bia and the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates, Al Jazeera has pro­vid­ed a plat­form for Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an influ­en­tial Egypt­ian-born preach­er close to the Broth­er­hood, as he has fierce­ly crit­i­cized the gulf gov­ern­ments for back­ing the mil­i­tary takeover.

    The Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates state news media report­ed last month that its gov­ern­ment had sum­moned Qatar’s ambas­sador to express “extreme resent­ment” at a dec­la­ra­tion on Al Jazeera by Sheik Qaradawi that the Emi­rates “has always been opposed to Islam­ic rule.”

    But even the sum­mon­ing of the ambas­sador did not per­suade the Qataris to keep Sheik Qaradawi from return­ing with more crit­i­cism the next week, said Mustafa Alani, a schol­ar at the Gulf Research Cen­ter in Gene­va. And the Saud­is and Emi­ratis object­ed that Qatar did not join Egypt in declar­ing the Broth­er­hood a ter­ror­ist threat, he said.

    “Qatar has nev­er hid­den their sup­port of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood,” Mr. Alani said. “In all the oth­er coun­tries, Qaradawi and his like are on the black list, but the Qataris give this man a plat­form to attack and crit­i­cize the secu­ri­ty poli­cies of the oth­er states” in the gulf.

    “The Qataris are not toe­ing the line,” he said.

    So the pro­mo­tion of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and its pecu­liar vision of democ­ra­cy via Al Jazeera appears to be the pri­ma­ry irri­tant to Qatar’s neigh­bors. Let’s see if a new anti-Mus­lim Broth­er­hood chan­nel and a host of oth­er new media out­lets smooths things over:

    TheNational.ae
    Qatar to launch Al Jazeera coun­ter­weight

    Justin Vela
    May 4, 2014 Updat­ed: May 5, 2014 13:11:00

    ABU DHABI // Qatar is launch­ing a new tele­vi­sion sta­tion as a polit­i­cal coun­ter­weight to Al Jazeera amid con­cern the net­work has become too sup­port­ive of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.

    The new sta­tion is to be an Ara­bic-lan­guage news chan­nel based in Lon­don and broad­cast­ing across the Arab world. It is one of sev­er­al new media ven­tures launched under the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who suc­ceed­ed his father in June and is seek­ing to put his own stamp on the country’s vast soft pow­er machine.

    The dri­ving force behind the new sta­tion is Azmi Bishara, the Pales­tin­ian direc­tor of the Doha-based Arab Cen­tre for Research and Pol­i­cy Stud­ies, and a close con­fi­dant of the emir.

    Mr Bishara is known to be “fair­ly anti-Broth­er­hood” and will­ing to crit­i­cise the group pub­licly, said Michael Stephens, deputy direc­tor of the Roy­al Unit­ed Ser­vices Insti­tute for Defence and Secu­ri­ty Stud­ies Qatar.

    Bishara rec­om­mend­ed that it be start­ed. His own beliefs are that Qatar has been too close to the Ikhwan for too long.

    Mr Stephens said the chan­nel, named AlAra­by Tele­vi­sion Net­work, was sup­posed to launch in Jan­u­ary but kept get­ting pushed back.

    It is cur­rent­ly recruit­ing staff, plac­ing job adverts for a satel­lite coor­di­na­tor and a plan­ning pro­duc­er and head­hunt­ing from exist­ing Ara­bic news sta­tions such as BBC Ara­bic.

    Media out­lets serve as Qatar’s main soft pow­er tool on the inter­na­tion­al stage, espe­cial­ly the Doha-based tele­vi­sion net­work Al Jazeera.

    Since its launch in 1996 Al Jazeera has grown expo­nen­tial­ly but its crit­i­cism of oth­er Ara­bi­an Gulf coun­tries and will­ing­ness to give voice to mem­bers of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, in line with Doha’s sup­port for Islamists after the Arab Spring upris­ings, has angered Qatar’s neigh­bours.

    In one of the worst diplo­mat­ic spats in the GCC’s his­to­ry, the UAE, Sau­di Ara­bia and Bahrain with­drew their ambas­sadors from Qatar in March. The protest came after Youssef Al Qaradawi, a spir­i­tu­al guide of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, who has a show on Al Jazeera, con­tin­ued their poli­cies.

    Sau­di Ara­bia con­sid­ers the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood to be a ter­ror­ist organ­i­sa­tion, a posi­tion backed by the UAE.

    The new sta­tion will serve as a way for Qatar to not only boost its already size­able media indus­try, but also allow Sheikh Tamim to step out of the shad­ow of his father, Sheikh Hamad bin Khal­i­fa Al Thani, and rebal­ance the country’s poli­cies after draw­ing the ire of its neigh­bours.

    “My view is that it’s the emir try­ing to be his own man,” said Andrew Ham­mond, a Mid­dle East ana­lyst at the Euro­pean Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions. “He hasn’t real­ly emerged from the shad­ow of his father.”

    While Qatar would risk los­ing face and region­al influ­ence by clos­ing Al Jazeera, the estab­lish­ment of the new out­lets appears part of a strat­e­gy to gain a new audi­ence.

    Instead of com­pet­ing direct­ly with Al Jazeera, the new sta­tion would be more like­ly to com­pete for view­ers with Sau­di Arabia’s Al Ara­biya tele­vi­sion.

    Yet with so many Ara­bic-lan­guage news out­lets in exis­tence, Qatar’s new ven­tures are unlike­ly to offer Sheikh Tamim the same kind of pow­er that Al Jazeera offered his father Sheikh Hamad.

    “This chan­nel is designed to cor­rect the image of Qatar, not to assert its inter­ests,” said Mr Stephens.

    The tele­vi­sion sta­tion was reg­is­tered in the UK in Sep­tem­ber 2013, accord­ing to busi­ness records.

    Pub­lic doc­u­ments describe the company’s objec­tives as: “To set up and oper­ate tele­vi­sion and broad­c­st­ing [sic] sta­tions and ser­vices, pub­lish­ing and print­ing news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines.”

    Sabah Al Mukhtar, the Lon­don-based lawyer who reg­is­tered the com­pa­ny, described Al Jazeera as the land­mark sta­tion, but said it was “less impar­tial than it was before”.

    “With­out Al Jazeera you would not have AlAra­by, you would not have the oth­er sta­tions that are flour­ish­ing all over the place,” Mr Al Mukhtar said.

    Qatar has also launched a news web­site based in Lon­don and with an office in Beirut. Named Al Ara­by Al Jadeed, the web­site is owned by Fadaat Media Lim­it­ed, which reg­is­tered in the UK in May 2013, short­ly before Sheikh Tamim took over from his father.

    Sul­tan Ghan­im Al Kuwari, a busi­ness­man from a promi­nent Qatari fam­i­ly, is list­ed on the doc­u­ments as direc­tor.

    An employ­ee of Fadaat Media, who refused to give his name, described Al Ara­by Al Jadeed as intend­ed to offer unbi­ased polit­i­cal news focused on “lib­er­al free­doms” and the “ideals of the Arab Spring”.

    The web­site will be only in Ara­bic for now and aims to even­tu­al­ly pub­lish a print edi­tion, he said.

    The move to estab­lish new media out­lets is like­ly con­nect­ed to a wider Qatari strat­e­gy that sees Al Jazeera rebrand­ing itself by renam­ing its sports divi­sion beIN and its children’s chan­nel JeemTV.

    “I think they are split­ting up the brand,” said Mr Stephens.

    While Al Jazeera is open­ly fund­ed by the Qatari-gov­ern­ment, its involve­ment in Fadaat Media and Al Ara­by Tele­vi­sion Net­work is not clear.

    The rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Fadaat Media denied any con­nec­tion to a gov­ern­ment, say­ing that the com­pa­ny was invest­ed in by pri­vate busi­ness­men.

    “It’s not that they need a writ­ten signed approval from the emir, but of course they would want his tac­tic sup­port,” Mr Stephens said of the new out­lets.

    When Emir Tamim came to pow­er in June 2013, there was an expec­ta­tion he would change Qatar’s poli­cies.

    Yet, there were few imme­di­ate signs of change. Though he had abdi­cat­ed, Sheikh Hamad was still believed to wield con­sid­er­able pow­er behind the scenes and Tamim did not alter his father’s poli­cies.

    Flo­rence Gaub, a senior ana­lyst at the EU Insti­tute for Secu­ri­ty Stud­ies, said the loca­tion and even the name of the new tele­vi­sion sug­gest­ed Sheikh Tamim had big ambi­tions for it.

    “It shows the ambi­tion to cre­ate some­thing new and maybe even shows the ambi­tion to cre­ate some­thing big­ger than Al Jazeera.”

    Qatar has also launched a news web­site based in Lon­don and with an office in Beirut. Named Al Ara­by Al Jadeed, the web­site is owned by Fadaat Media Lim­it­ed, which reg­is­tered in the UK in May 2013, short­ly before Sheikh Tamim took over from his father.

    Sul­tan Ghan­im Al Kuwari, a busi­ness­man from a promi­nent Qatari fam­i­ly, is list­ed on the doc­u­ments as direc­tor.

    An employ­ee of Fadaat Media, who refused to give his name, described Al Ara­by Al Jadeed as intend­ed to offer unbi­ased polit­i­cal news focused on “lib­er­al free­doms” and the “ideals of the Arab Spring”.

    The web­site will be only in Ara­bic for now and aims to even­tu­al­ly pub­lish a print edi­tion, he said.

    The move to estab­lish new media out­lets is like­ly con­nect­ed to a wider Qatari strat­e­gy that sees Al Jazeera rebrand­ing itself by renam­ing its sports divi­sion beIN and its children’s chan­nel JeemTV.

    “I think they are split­ting up the brand,” said Mr Stephens.

    While Al Jazeera is open­ly fund­ed by the Qatari-gov­ern­ment, its involve­ment in Fadaat Media and Al Ara­by Tele­vi­sion Net­work is not clear.

    The rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Fadaat Media denied any con­nec­tion to a gov­ern­ment, say­ing that the com­pa­ny was invest­ed in by pri­vate busi­ness­men.

    “It’s not that they need a writ­ten signed approval from the emir, but of course they would want his tac­tic sup­port,” Mr Stephens said of the new out­lets.

    ...

    That’s quite a bal­anc­ing act on the way for Qatar’s glob­al media empire because if it works the way it sounds like they’re plan­ning on mak­ing it work, that new news chan­nel could end up mak­ing the gov­ern­ment of Qatar as uncom­fort­able as Al Jazeera is mak­ing Sau­di Ara­bia and the UAE. For instance, it’ll be inter­est­ing to see the new chan­nel’s views on the best way to address the sit­u­a­tion in Syr­ia. Real­ly inter­est­ing...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 6, 2014, 8:15 am

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