Thursday, November 03, 2005



End of Ramadan and Eid greetings to all the Muslim peoples of the world, I pray to God that he may bless them and inspire thoughts of peace and humanity in their minds and give them a true understanding of the tolerant and charitable essence of religion..

As I have said before, the War on Terror should take into account that perhaps the main arena of the struggle is the Media and Information fields. This terrorist phenomenon combines primitive urges and ideologies with the use of the modern technologies of satellite T.V. the internet etc. In fact, the Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda-like people design their operations with the prime objective of attracting maximum media attention. Thus Media attention is a weapon in itself, and the main one from the view point of these terrorist groups, and this subject should be a matter of primary consideration to strategists and planners of the War.

In this respect I would like to shed some light on the situation of the Arab Media, who are playing an important and direct role, especially in influencing the peoples and events in the region including those most directly involved, namely in Iraq.

Actually the most important event in the recent history of Arab journalism was the advent of satellite T.V. and the establishment of Al-Jazeera Network some years ago, financed and controlled by the Qatar Sheikdom government. That was the first time that the traditional style of direct soviet style crude propaganda customary in the whole of the Arab world was replaced with a western style that uses indirect and more subtle methods with a guise of objectivity and factual reporting. We must give it to Al Jazeera that it was a pioneer in this respect in the Arab world. This started a kind of revolution with other media outlets of similar style rapidly springing up and also the conversion of many of the more traditional ones to this new way with varying degrees of consistency. The other most important development was the spread and the expanding availability of the Internet, a great innovation which brought beside great benefits also great dangers. Thus the internet is the perfect medium for clandestine groups enabling them to keep their anonymity while giving them the means of disseminating their ideas and communicating throughout the world. In this way this communication revolution with was developed, originated and continues to be maintained and run by the West, has also provided lethal and effective weapons to its enemies.

Objectivity, which is the main pretended feature of this new style, is only a guise as far as Arab media are concerned in the vast majority of cases. Wherever you have regimes in firm control of their constituencies, you can be sure that true independence and impartiality of the press is pure sham. I could say that today only in Iraq, Lebanon and to some extent Egypt the press is more decentralized and may represent more diversity of positions.

Let us for example concentrate on two of the most important and well financed groups, namely, the MBC (Middle East Broadcasting Corporation), which includes Al-Arabia Station; and the Al-Jazeera Network. Both of these stations are dedicated to news in the style of CNN. The first of these is owned and financed by the Saudis. During the course of events that followed the fall of the Saddam regime, one could trace a definite evolution in the tone and leaning of this station directly related to the development of the official Saudi Arabian attitudes. Initially, this station competed with Al-Jazeera in negative and inciting reporting. However as the Kingdom of S.A. became engaged in a real struggle with Al-Qaeda elements, the station quickly moderated its tone and became less seditious, which clearly illustrates my point that these media are basically controlled despite all semblances of impartiality. This change of tone earned the Arabia a car bomb and several assassinations of its staff in Baghdad.

Al-Jazeera, however, continues to maintain its intransigent and highly pro-terrorist attitude, without even much attempt at disguise anymore, but always in the same style of speaking through so-called experts and invited guests and specially engineered programs with maximum dramatic impact. It has almost become the mouthpiece of terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere, widely publicizing Internet Claims, terrorist videos, Al-Qaeda tapes of Al-Dhawahiri et al., discussion programs featuring the most extreme people from Iraq and elsewhere, heaping crude abuse on the Americans, the Iraqi government, the political process and all. For Iraqis it has become almost impossible to watch this station for even a short duration without having their blood pressure seriously rising. As far as anti-American propaganda goes it is actually more superior and effective than any that North Korea can dream of. What is paradoxical, is that the regime behind this outlet claims to be the most faithful ally and friend of the U.S. to whom it owes its prosperity and security especially in the face of historical claims by Saudi Arabia, and often makes very friendly gestures towards Israel, and where the biggest American military base is located housing the command of American forces in the entire region (Siliya, Qatar). To western people who do not understand the M.E. this may sound very strange. The answer however is very simple: Sectarian prejudice, i.e. the pathological hatred of the Shiaa sect, which is the majority in only one Arab country which is Iraq. Indeed, the only Sunnis who are inclined to be more tolerant towards the Shiaa’s are the Iraqi Sunnis, especially in cities, having lived side by side for many centuries. Thus the fury of the Arabs and other Moslems against the Americans is not because they invaded and occupied Iraq, but because as a result of this action and the fall of the Saddam regime, the Shiaas have become liberated and acquired a louder voice. This by the way is also the main factor fanning the “insurrection” and terrorism in Iraq, a fact which is publicly proclaimed by people like Zarqawi. Thus the development of representative democracy with the Iraqi Sunnis taking their rightful place is the real antidote to these stupid prejudices. This is the hope of all patriotic Iraqis of all sects and the final happy outcome that we are all praying and working for.