Al-Jazeera Notes

|

I know, you're supposed to provide links when blogging, but here are two items on Al-Jazeera that I thought might be moderately interesting, and that I've gotten either through emails or conversation. The first is not too serious, but somewhat revealing. This from a missive sent by someone at the TV station who described his recent visit to Baghdad, in this case to the U.S.-controlled "green zone":

"An interesting place, full of US soldiers in desert camouflage, strolling around with large guns dangling from their shoulders, Iraqi administrative staff (or as we call them back in Doha, collaborators) [emphasis added] and journalists, local and foreign."

The second comes from a very well informed Lebanese journalist, who tells me that Al-Jazeera has recently fallen under the editorial control of those in the Qatari royal family close to the Muslim Brotherhood, hence its harsh anti-American line. He also added, as an exotic twist, that the station has "received advertising revenues from the former occupation authority in Iraq, despite the protests of the former Iraqi Governing Council."

For the record, Qatari mosques also subscribe to the Wahhabi interpretation of Islam. For the record, too, a number of Al-Jazeera employees are seriously considering joining the new BBC Arabic-language television station. Recall that Al-Jazeera initially hired the employees left out in the cold when the BBC Arabic radio service closed won.

NEXT: Oh, Dude

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. From 3-31-03
    “Saudi companies pulled ads from the network under pressure from their government, sources told Forbes at the time. However, some American firms, including General Motors (nyse: GM – news – people ) and Kraft Foods (nyse: KFT – news – people ), stuck to their guns–and Middle Eastern marketing plans–with the network”

    I think Pepsi might advertise on AJ too.

  2. I forgot that other window from 3/02
    “Pepsico and General Electric recently canceled advertising campaigns on Al Jazeera worth a combined $3 million, according to Al Ali. GE did not return requests for comment; Pepsico says it has not regularly advertised on Al Jazeera.”

    I’m sure someone’s put together a list of U.S. companies that advertise on AJ.

  3. Michael,

    Have you heard anything from folks in your neck of the world about what they think of “Control Room”, a documentary on perception of the United States’s war on Iraq, with an emphasis on Al Jazeera’s coverage?

  4. I was amused to learn that Al-Jazeera, the conduit for anti-capitalist planecrashers and beheaders, has plans for an IPO in two to three years.

  5. What makes you think they’re anti-capitalist?

    Mohammed was a merchant.

  6. And, for that matter, if you watch the movie Control Room, one of their managing editors says at one point that if he got the call to go work for Fox News, he’d do it–and that, moreover, he wants his kids to be educated in the U.S. and pursue “the American dream.”

  7. And, for that matter, if you watch the movie Control Room, one of their managing editors says at one point that if he got the call to go work for Fox News, he’d do it–and that, moreover, he wants his kids to be educated in the U.S. and pursue “the American dream.”

  8. They aren’t collaborators?

  9. Your predjudice is showing. Which “they” do you hear when I say planecrashers and beheaders?

    OBL doesn’t mind using capitalist tools to further his attacks. Amusing.

    Apparently comfortable with a perceived separation between Doha and New York, Al-J capitalists report “news” of anti-American interests. Amusing.

    Who owns the media in OBL’s Utopia?

  10. Uh, Mark, I don’t hear any “they” in the phrase “planecrashers and beheaders.” Assuming that I somehow could, though, what prejudice would it show? Not an ideological gripe, just annoyance at the time wasted trying to interpret your post.

  11. Anti-capitalist planecrashers and beheaders might be, depending on your tastes: terrorists, criminals, arabs, champions of moral purity, agents of god, disgruntled Saudis, freedom fighters, guys with moustaches, people who wear hoods, Jordanians, etc.

    I meant Al-Qaedans. joe might have heard Muslims, a generalization I did not intend.

    Al-J running OBL releases seems vaguely similar to Time giving a few free pages to Jim Dobson.

    I apologize for wasting your time. Again.

  12. “a number of Al-Jazeera employees are seriously considering joining the new BBC Arabic-language television station. Recall that Al-Jazeera initially hired the employees left out in the cold when the BBC Arabic radio service closed won.”

    The BBB breifly had an Arabic speaking TV station. It was packaged with Orbit (which is owned by Saudi Royals). Many of Al-Jazeera journalists worked for that station (and the BBC Radio before that) before Orbit cut the BBC off because of a program critical of Saudi Arabia.

    Mark: I’m willing to bet that you have never watched a minute of Al-Jazeeer’a broadcasts. I’m also willing to bet that Al-Jazeera gives more airtime to US government officials and talking heads than the time all US TV stations combined give to Arab politicians and talking heads.

  13. “…regarding Osama’s points 1-2, we went to war to remove Saddam, so we could remove our reason for being in the Mid-east and pissing off Arabs…”

    Yes, it’s darkly amusing to remember that, among the benefits of this war promised by conservatives were 1) a reduced need for American troops in the region, with consequent reductions in cost, 2) less hostility from Middle Easterners based on the American occupation of an historically Muslim country, and 3) less hostility from Middle Easterners stemming from military action undertaken by our armed forces against Iraq.

    I always found it odd that columnists in National Review would argue from the position that the projection of American power in the Middle East was a cause of anti-American feeling, since they argue so strenuously against that position most of the time.

  14. I think that we can be pretty sure that it wasn’t anti-capitalist sentiments that motivated AQ to attack us.

    Let’s assume that they don’t like free enterprise. It’s pretty clear that they are much more opposed to licentiousness.

    The chief exporter of pornography into the Arab world is Scandinavia. The Islamic clerics vociferously direct their complaints to Stockholm and Copenhagen, but of course there were no 9/11 attacks on Sweden or Denmark.

    The overwhelming evidence is that 9/11 happened as a direct reaction to our government’s hyper-interventionist foreign policy, Vis a vis the Mid-East:

    In his 9/11 Fatwa Bin Laden told us the three reasons for the 9/11 attack:

    1. The American military in the Arabian Peninsula too close to Mecca. (This idiocy is at last ended)

    2.The blockade if Iraq.

    3. American government support for the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestinian land.

    http://www.ict.org.il/articles/fatwah.htm

  15. anon: You are correct, I do not pay for TV. I may invest in Al-J, if allowed, as I see how many people do pay for TV. BTW, natty hood.

    joe: My “capitalist tool” was a setup (and a nod to Malcolm Forbes). Crack on, my brother.

    Rick: Did OBL tell us why he picked the WTC as a target?

  16. “If he can throw the countries he terrorizes into confusion over their own strategic goals, why not? If he has other goals that he wants to distract people from, why not?”

    Because, there is no evidence that he operates that way, and given his resources and situation it doesn’t even make any sense that he would be duplicitous about the reasons for the attack.

    Also, it runs counter to the AQ modus operandi. Note that after Madrid they made demands for European militaries to pull out of the Arab world.

  17. Mark,

    No, nor did he tell us why he picked the Pentagon as a target. Let us speculate…

  18. If our government doesn’t intervene to keep the radicals at bay in the Middle East…You can kiss the old US of A goodbye. And that is a fact. It would be like saying we shouldn’t intervene in Europe when Hitler is gobbling up everything in sight. Only this time, it’ll be Hitler with nukes…given freely to terrorists.

    Or haven’t you been doing your reading as to what is really going on?

  19. If our government doesn’t intervene to keep the radicals at bay in the Middle East…You can kiss the old US of A goodbye. And that is a fact. It would be like saying we shouldn’t intervene in Europe when Hitler is gobbling up everything in sight. Only this time, it’ll be Hitler with nukes…given freely to terrorists.

    Or haven’t you been doing your reading as to what is really going on?

  20. If our government doesn’t intervene to keep the radicals at bay in the Middle East…You can kiss the old US of A goodbye. And that is a fact. It would be like saying we shouldn’t intervene in Europe when Hitler is gobbling up everything in sight. Only this time, it’ll be Hitler with nukes…given freely to terrorists.

    Or haven’t you been doing your reading as to what is really going on?

  21. Rick,

    You apparently have no comprehension of Bin Laden, Al Quaeda or general Salafist goals. Please read the “fatwa” link you proivided carefully. The three issues that you listed are merely examples with which Bin Laden illustrates his conclusion that the U.S. is guilty of “attacking muslims.” He also mentions that another of our sins is that we, the west, have created “paper statlets.” In other words, we have destroyed the Muslim Caliphate and replaced it with a series of nation-states. If you have read any of the other interviews or fatwas issued by Bin Laden, it is abundantly clear that his medium term goal is to restore the Caliphate over all Muslim lands. The long term goal is to expand the Caliphate by converting or eliminating all the infidels. This is standard Salifist dogma; it should come as no surprise to you.

    Thus, no act short of conversion and submission to a Muslim Caliphate will appease Bin Laden or his Salafist ilk. Any other Bin Laden demand is merely a tactical ploy which is raised to play on popular Muslim sentiments in order to draw recruits and funds for the global jihad. Accordingly, U. S. government actions prior to the 9/11 attacks had little or no bearing on its choice as the main target. As the sole remaining super power that can quash Bin laden’s dream by military or political means, it is the only logical target to attack. Therefore, please stop your bleating about government intervention drawing Bin Laden’s terrotist attacks. Unless it wishes to join the Caliphate or crawl into a isolationist shell, the U.S. is stuck with the role of the “primary enemy” of Bin Laden.

  22. Rick,

    You apparently have no comprehension of Bin Laden, Al Quaeda or general Salafist goals. Please read the “fatwa” link you provided carefully. The three issues that you listed are merely examples with which Bin Laden illustrates his conclusion that the U.S. is guilty of “attacking muslims.” He also mentions that another of our sins is that we, the west, have created “paper statlets.” In other words, we have destroyed the Muslim Caliphate and replaced it with a series of nation-states. If you have read any of the other interviews or fatwas issued by Bin Laden, it is abundantly clear that his medium term goal is to restore the Caliphate over all Muslim lands. The long term goal is to expand the Caliphate by converting or eliminating all the infidels. This is standard Salifist dogma; it should come as no surprise to you.

    Thus, no act short of conversion and submission to a Muslim Caliphate will appease Bin Laden or his Salafist ilk. Any other Bin Laden demand is merely a tactical ploy which is raised to play on popular Muslim sentiments in order to draw recruits and funds for the global jihad. Accordingly, U. S. government actions prior to the 9/11 attacks had little or no bearing on its choice as the main target. As the sole remaining super power that can quash Bin laden’s dream by military or political means, it is the only logical target to attack. Therefore, please stop your bleating about government intervention drawing Bin Laden’s terrotist attacks. Unless it wishes to join the Caliphate or crawl into a isolationist shell, the U.S. is stuck with the role of the “primary enemy” of Bin Laden.

  23. Mark In Chi-Town,

    No Mark, you don’t want to let the evidence cloud your thinking.

    The three issues that you listed are merely examples with which Bin Laden illustrates his conclusion that the U.S. is guilty of “attacking muslims.”

    What?? He says that these three are among “these crimes and sins committed by the Americans are a clear declaration of war on God, his messenger, and Muslims”.

    Our government’s support of the Iraq war as well as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan are certainly more examples of our government’s intervention in his claimed would be “paper statlets.” Also, he bitterly complained about the three Fatwa items in previous utterances.

    It defies logic and evidence to think that without the intervention of our government that we would have been attacked.

  24. Rick: Murdering 3000 people unrelated to the complaint defies logic, too.

  25. Mark Fox,

    I agree. I’m not excusing the effect. I said earlier that they should be hunted down and killed so that they can’t do it again. I’m just saying that the evidence indicates that there is a cause and effect relationship, and our government’s actions are a critical part of the cause.

  26. Rick:

    You fail to grasp the mindset of Jihadi groups like Al Quaeda. They seek the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate by violent means. See the translation of the Al Quaeda Training Manual p. 5, available at http://www.FAS.org; see also, the sumary of al Quaeda philoshpy at http://www.infoplease.org. The confrontation with them was inevitable.

    This is irrefutable since Bin Laden was already planning for confrontation with the West while still fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. See the transcipt of Peter Arnett’s 1997 interview.

    To further illustrate the point, pro-muslim actions taken by the United States had no effect on Bin Laden’s violent plans. The United States begnin peacekeeping missions in Somalia and Bosnia were used by Bin Laden as a further pretext for violence. As stated before, the only act which could have forestalled the inevitable confrontation would be complete capitulation, which would result in the spread of Taliban style repression throughout the Islamic world.

  27. Remember, folks, there was no collaboration or connection between al Qaeda and Iraq, and theocrat Bin Laden would never work with secularist Hussein, and so on, and so forth . . . but Rick Barton would have us take Bin Laden at his word that he was nevertheless sufficiently incensed by sanctions on hated, non-collaborating, secularist Iraq to launch the 9/11 attacks. Makes sense to me.

    I suspect that if Bin Laden had listed our space program, and its defilement of the moon (which is a holy symbol to Islam) as a reason, Barton would be in here shouting, “Cassini out of Saturn NOW!”

    Jacob Levy at Volokh.com has a good post on this topic.

  28. So Ricky, if his next fatwa demands that our women start wearing burkas and that we all convert to Islam, should we submit?

  29. Mark In Chi-Town

    ” pro-muslim actions taken by the United States had no effect on Bin Laden’s violent plans.”

    Just how “pro-muslim” those actions were is suspect, let alone how Al Quaeda might interpret them. Much more direct evidence is; that after Madrid, Al Quaeda made peace offers for European militaries to pull out of the Arab world.

    “As stated before, the only act which could have forestalled the inevitable confrontation would be complete capitulation”

    Evidence, both direct (Fatwas) and indirect, (the abstention from ever hitting Scandinavia over the import of porn, despite Al Quaeda’s bitter and continued complaints that they were somehow destroying Muslim moral fiber) indicates that the attacks were a reaction to US government policy.

    “See the transcipt of Peter Arnett’s 1997 interview.”

    That sounds interesting. Do you have a link?

  30. You do what you think is right. If people don’t like it and complain, you take note. If a lot of people take to the streets, you consider again if you are doing the right thing. If someone who doesn’t like it blows up your house, you stomp him into dust.

    If you decide at some point that you aren’t doing the right thing, you change your policy. The fact that violent loonies disagree with you may increase costs for you, but it really has nothing to do with the virtue of their position.

  31. “OBL doesn’t mind using capitalist tools to further his attacks.”

    Must…not…make…Bush Family…joke…

    Resistance…failing…

  32. Rick, regarding Osama’s points 1-2, we went to war to remove Saddam, so we could remove our reason for being in the Mid-east and pissing off Arabs.

  33. Phil,

    There is no contradiction. If you read the Fatwa, you will find that the concern expressed is for the effects of the blockade on Iraqi people, not the regime.

    Any way, it doesn’t make any sense that this clandestine murderer would have any reason to lie about his real motivations. In fact, since he is motivated be a cause, we should expect to hear his real concerns.

    Our government and the neocons did us a great disservice by trying to divert attention from the reality of the 9/11 attacks as a blow back reaction to policies.

    Speaking of Iraq; the obvious response to the 9/11 attacks should have to hunt down those responsible and kill them so they can’t do it again. But incredibly, right after the 9/11 attacks, the neocons including Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz in the administration, pounded the table for going directly after Iraq first, instead of Afghanistan!

  34. Douglas,

    Of course not, but you may be quite sure that “demands that our women start wearing burkas and that we all convert to Islam” will not appear in a Bin Ladden Fatwa, and even more sure that even if it was, that we would not be attacked over it. As I said earlier, look at Scandinavia with whom AQ has a real and ongoing beef. No Attacks.

    It’s our government’s intervention I tell ya! 😉
    Government intervention screws up foreign matters just as it does domestic economic prosperity.

  35. Any way, it doesn’t make any sense that this clandestine murderer would have any reason to lie about his real motivations.

    Sure he would. Why wouldn’t he? If he can throw the countries he terrorizes into confusion over their own strategic goals, why not? If he has other goals that he wants to distract people from, why not?

    It’s worth noting, also, that just because a policy has the potential for Big Evil Blowback does not, automatically, make that policy wrong or not worth pursuing. You have to weigh it along with all the other costs and benefits, and decide whether you can meet it if it does come.

    It’s also worth noting that, whatever one’s feelings on the Iraq war, that a) the people responsible for 9/11, with the exception of pretty much Bin Laden and Zarqawi, are, in fact, either dead or in jail, and b) they have not, in fact, done it again. Certainly nothing on that scale.

  36. Any way, it doesn’t make any sense that this clandestine murderer would have any reason to lie about his real motivations.

    Sure he would. Why wouldn’t he? If he can throw the countries he terrorizes into confusion over their own strategic goals, why not? If he has other goals that he wants to distract people from, why not?

    It’s worth noting, also, that just because a policy has the potential for Big Evil Blowback does not, automatically, make that policy wrong or not worth pursuing. You have to weigh it along with all the other costs and benefits, and decide whether you can meet it if it does come.

    It’s also worth noting that, whatever one’s feelings on the Iraq war, that a) the people responsible for 9/11, with the exception of pretty much Bin Laden and Zarqawi, are, in fact, either dead or in jail, and b) they have not, in fact, done it again. Certainly nothing on that scale.

  37. Mark In Chi-Town

    ” pro-muslim actions taken by the United States had no effect on Bin Laden’s violent plans.”

    Just how “pro-muslim” those actions were is suspect, let alone how Al Quaeda might interpret them. Much more direct evidence is; that after Madrid, Al Quaeda made peace offers for European militaries to pull out of the Arab world.

    “As stated before, the only act which could have forestalled the inevitable confrontation would be complete capitulation”

    Evidence, both direct (Fatwas) and indirect, (the abstention from ever hitting Scandinavia over the import of porn, despite Al Quaeda’s bitter and continued complaints that they were destroying Moslim moral fiber) indicates that the attacks were a reaction to US government policy.

    “See the transcipt of Peter Arnett’s 1997 interview.”

    That sounds interesting. Do you have a link?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.