New Age Islam Edit Bureau
07 July 2017
Al Jazeera Cannot Whitewash Its ‘Terror
By Faisal J. Abbas
Qatar Will Surrender In the Dark
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
Are The Winds Of Change Blowing In
By Hamid Bahrami
Various Dimensions Of The Fight
Against Extremist Ideology
By Dr. Ibrahim Al-Othaimin
Germany and the Qatar Crisis
By Gunter Mulack
Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau
6 July 2017
To set the record straight, I do not think
any journalist should call for the closure of a media organization. But we must
not accept that objecting to, and seeking to limit, terrorist propaganda is
falsely portrayed as a crackdown on professional journalism.
I think including the closure of Al Jazeera
as one of the 13 demands by the Anti-Terror Quartet (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the
UAE and Egypt) was not carefully thought through. But this does not mean the
Qatari-owned news network should be allowed to get away with inciting murder.
There are a few issues with the ongoing
debate about the channel that must be clarified before dwelling further. First,
freedom-of-expression advocates must realize that Al Jazeera English (AJE),
which many worldwide watch and enjoy, has nothing to do in terms of tone,
editorial guidelines or media ethics with its older sister Al Jazeera Arabic
The latter can and should, at the very
least, be described as a scar on the face of Middle Eastern journalism. There
is such a difference between the two channels that the longstanding joke in the
Middle East when someone asks to put on Al Jazeera is: “Which one, the beauty
or the beast?”
A Fetish for Terrorist Content
The Anti-Terror Quartet’s demand should
have been carefully articulated to outline that the grievance with AJA is not
that it criticizes neighbouring countries, but that it has long served as a
platform for hate-preachers and terrorists.
This is in no way a made-up accusation, nor
is it only a Saudi, Emirati, Bahraini or Egyptian one. The channel was dubbed a
“terror network” by the administration of former US President George W. Bush,
and was criticized extensively, including in 2001 by the New York Times (NYT)
for turning the late global terrorist Osama bin Laden into “a star.”
The NYT seems to have softened its
position, with a recent editorial defending Al Jazeera in light of the recent
list of demands, which is admirable coming from a fellow media organization.
But limiting criticism of Al Jazeera to saying it “is hardly perfect,” and
praising it to the level of saying it enjoys “international journalistic standards,”
is an outrageously false claim that is a disservice to NYT readers, unless
whoever wrote the editorial is unaware of the channel’s ongoing fetish for
I say “ongoing” because only recently, Al
Jazeera became the platform of choice for the notorious Al-Nusra Front leader
Abu Mohammad Al-Julani — a US-designated terrorist, blacklisted worldwide, who
has called Al-Qaeda’s stance “noble.” AJA was also the platform the Muslim
Brotherhood cleric Yusuf Qaradawi used to promote anti-Semitism and infamously
bless suicide attacks, such as in a 2013 interview.
So to all our colleagues in AJE who
participated in the channel’s recent video campaign in response to the
Anti-Terror Quartet’s list of demands — particularly Western journalists such
as British presenter Felicity Barr, who seems to have been deliberately pushed
to the forefront of this video by Al Jazeera’s management — I say the
We all agree that “journalism is not a
crime.” But what you AJE staffers should do, since you also “have demands,” is
take them to your colleagues in your sister Arabic channel and ensure that
journalism does not become a crime by giving a platform to those who bless the
killing of innocents in both your home countries and mine.
By Abdulrahman al-Rashed
The moves taken by Doha can be easily
predicted as if it was an open book. Qatar has taken the same steps in similar
previous crises. It is keen on spreading the propaganda of rejection and
showing heroic television stances that do not match its capabilities, and do
not reflect the true decisions it intends to take.
We heard yesterday that Qatar has rejected
the demands of the 4 boycotting countries, but do not believe what you heard,
as Doha will secretly surrender soon. This is what it did when it was in
conflict with Saudi Arabia in 2013, and repeated it the following year.
On the media, Qatar exaggerated about being
tenacious, and then again, through some mediators, it agreed later on the
demands behind closed doors. Qatar has relied on the Emir of Kuwait as a
mediator, asking him again to intervene and stop the crisis on the diplomatic
and borders levels.
When Doha agreed to all the demands that
year, including silencing its Jazeera channel, it did not complain that it was
a violation of its sovereignty. The only condition of the Emir of Qatar was not
to announce the details of the agreement. Indeed, Saudi Arabia kept it secreted
until the last crisis broke out, weeks ago and most of the information was
Today, the authorities in Doha announced
their rejection through media celebrations and propaganda. It would be good if
Qatar sticks by its stances; however, you will hear soon, in a month or two,
that it has sent secret mediators with short messages stating that Doha is
ready to accept all 13 demands. Hypocrisy will repeat itself!
Qatar cares about the appearances; it wants
the world to see that it rejected the demands and then it will be ready to
compromise behind the scenes. A well-known Qatari source advises not to believe
anything said now as Qatar will be ready to get rid of their al-Jazeera channel
and even fire a number of its employees.
Later on, they will announce that they have
sold it and one of their affiliates will be buying it so that it remains
associated to Qatar. In my opinion, it is wrong to include al-Jazeera in the
demands. It is just a media tool for the government’s policy. Everyone knows
that it is no longer influential.
The Qatari manoeuvres will be repeated in a
different way. Last time, the Emir promised to undertake commitments that are
kind of similar to today’s demands.
The previous list also included the
abstention from financing Saudi extremist religious groups, funding revolts
against the government from abroad, paying Saudi clerics, academics and media
used by Qatari government against Saudi Arabia, and waging media inciting
campaigns, including al-Jazeera and other outlets.
Qatar has literally carried out its
commitments, but in fact, it was not doing so. Al-Jazeera has stopped
criticizing Saudi Arabia for 3 consecutive years and was always praising Saudi
officials, but at the same time, it opened 2 television stations in London that
carried out incitement against Riyadh, targeting in particular radical Islamic
After Al-Jazeera stopped criticizing Saudi
Arabia, based on the agreement between the 2 governments, it dedicated its time
to incite against the Egyptian authorities.
The Qatari authorities has also stopped the
payments to Saudi nationals as per the previous agreement, but opened new
financial accounts for them through their institutions that were affiliated to
Qatar and raised the number of those who are under the Qatari financial cover
to hundreds after being tens.
As for the demands to abstain from
sheltering Saudi Islamic extremists on its territories, Qatar deported them to
live in Turkey up until today at its expenses; there are also those who stayed
in Qatar after being granted the citizenship! In my opinion, this is a decisive
crisis as Saudi Arabia is not alone; it is supported by Egypt, the UAE and
Bahrain, and this would generate a stronger diplomatic position.
There also other regional governments that
have supported the boycotting countries and their positions against Qatar will
be clearer in future diplomatic and economic meetings. All these countries
insist on their position against the reconciliation and against accepting any
commitment from the Doha regime as they want Qatar to feel the same danger it
has caused to other governments in the region by insisting on funding terrorist
and extremist groups.
Are The Winds Of Change Blowing In Iran?
Tens of thousands of supporters of Iran’s
main opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),
gathered in a massive convention hall in Villepinte, Paris over the weekend to
call on the international community to back the Iranian people’s democratic
aspirations and recognize the NCRI as a real alternative to the mullahs’
The grand gathering of Iranians, which
takes place in Paris every year, was this year attended by more than 50
parliamentary delegations from all around the world including the US and Middle
East as well as the former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, the former
Chairman of the US Democratic Party and former Governor of Pennsylvania, Ed
Rendell, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, John R. Bolton, member of the
European Parliament, Gérard Deprez and many prominent political dignitaries.
The keynote speaker at the event was
NCRI-president, Mrs Maryam Rajavi. In her speech that was also broadcast inside
Iran, she underscored that “regime change [in Iran] is within reach because the
mullahs have gotten themselves stuck in three wars of attrition in the Middle
Their withdrawal from these conflicts in
whatever form or shape will undermine their own existence.” In the US an Iran
policy remains unclear but it is obvious that the current White House does not
want to appease the Iranian regime.
Regionally and internationally, the Iranian
regime is in the worst situation because it has destroyed all bridges with the
US and the neighbouring Arab countries. Today, the regime in Tehran is
terrorizing its own people and is a major threat to the Middle East and the
The NCRI is fighting to bring about
democratic change by overthrowing mullahs' theocracy. For over three decades,
the Iranian Resistance has urged the internationally community to adopt a firm
policy towards the regime, hence, it is not surprising that Mrs Rajavi welcomed
the statement following the recent Islamic, American Summit.
“We have welcomed the statements made at
the Arab, Islamic, American Summit in Riyadh against the Iranian regime’s
terrorist and destabilizing activities. Nevertheless, we emphasis that the
ultimate solution to the crisis in the region and confronting groups like ISIS,
is the overthrow of the Iranian regime by the Iranian people and Resistance”,
she said in her speech.
The Most Serious Threat
The realities on the ground in the Middle
East show that Mrs Rajavi is accurate. As the campaign to destroy ISIS is
ultimately successful, the most serious threat facing the world and the US
president is to confront Iran’s destabilizing actions in the region for example
in areas in Syria and Iraq that are liberated from ISIS. If Iranian regime is
allowed to usurp these areas then it would pose even a greater danger to the
US, Europe and Gulf countries.
Consequently, to protect their national
interests, they are and should looking for a solution to stop the mullahs.
Until now, their policy has been to accommodate Iran’s actions and evidently it
has failed. They hoped to reform Iran’s behavior by cozying up to President
Hassan Rohani but on the contrary, this policy has increased Iran’s
intervention in the Middle East. That is why the US and its Arab allies have
taking steps to change their policy.
Hence, a few weeks ago, the US Secretary of
State, Rex Tillerson, announced that “Our policy towards Iran is to push back
on this hegemony, contain their ability to develop obviously nuclear weapons,
and to work toward support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to
a peaceful transition of that government. Those elements are there, certainly
as we know,” Tillerson said on June 14.
It is an obvious fact that the NCRI and its
democratic platform for future Iran provides a viable alternative for this
policy. In this case, the former US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton
highlighted a crucial aspect about this policy at the gathering in Paris.
“There is a viable opposition to the rule of the Ayatollahs and that opposition
is Centreed in this room today”, he said in his speech.
Yet the most vitriolic remarks at the
gathering came from mayor Giuliani who pointed to the Iranian regime’s
malicious activities in the region stressing that the mullahs are the source
instability and crisis in the region, and have kept their grip on power in the
past 38 years through widespread repression and blatant disregard for human
rights at home and the export of extremism and terrorism abroad.
“I am happiest to be here because finally I
can probably say that the government of United States supports you, we are
behind you, we agree with your values. Finally I can stand here and say that
you, my government and your leadership, we see Iran exactly the same way. The
regime is evil and it must go”, he said addressing the tens of thousands
gathered in Paris.
Overthrowing With Minimal Risks?
It is time for the international community
to make decisive decisions on Iran. Today, the only remaining way to end four
decades of crisis in the Middle East. It is a known fact that Iranian regime is
root of problems in the region. Therefore, it is necessary that Mrs Rajavi’s
voice is allowed to be heard.
To end the mullahs’ regime in Iran, Mrs
Rajavi made three recommendations, “Recognize the resistance of the Iranian
people to overthrow the mullahs’ religious dictatorship. Expel the regime from
the UN and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and hand over Iran’s seat
to the Iranian people’s Resistance. Designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards
Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization and evict it from the entire region.”
If the international community wants
democracy and human rights to root and progress in the Middle East, it should
heed these recommendations.
Various Dimensions of the Fight against
“At #ETIDAL, we stress on our mission to
spread and promote peace, confront and refute extremism to make a safer world”.
This was the first tweet of the Global Centre for Combating Extremist Ideology
(Etidal or “moderation”) that was inaugurated at the end of the US-Islamic
summit in Riyadh.
The Etidal Centre is the result of the
joint cooperation and the great efforts made by Arab and Muslim countries, led
by Saudi Arabia, in combating terrorism and extremist ideology. Military action
alone is not enough to eliminate terrorist organizations according to the
conclusions of the Global Terrorism Index (GTI). For example, between 1968 and
2006, only seven percent of terrorist organizations were eliminated through
Therefore, the Centre has a single basic
objective: to demolish the pillars of the false narratives on which terrorist
organizations are based, refute them and destroy them altogether. Thus, their
ideological and religious foundations from which they draw the ability to
recruit youngsters will be lost.
The real image of such organizations will
be uncovered as being extremist, bloodthirsty mercenaries and militia that only
use religious slogans for their own interests or for the interests of those
countries that support them.
Knowing that youngsters spend most of their
time on the Internet, terrorist organizations, forefronted by ISIS, have
embraced social media as a tool through which to recruit youngsters. “Hidden
Power of Daesh (ISIS) in the New Media” is a study conducted by a research team
at King Saud University. It shows that 80 percent of ISIS information stock
comes from websites which are freely available to all with no breach of any
Another study, conducted by the Watani
Al-Emarat Foundation, in cooperation with Telecommunication Regulatory
Authority, Al-Ameen Service, and Dubai Electronic Security Centre (DESC), shows
that ISIS uses social media for most of its recruitment. It also reveals that
on Facebook and Twitter, ISIS has over 90,000 pages in Arabic and 40,000 in
Therefore, in order to combat extremism,
the Etidal Centre has three pivot fronts: intellectual, media, and digital.
Hence, the essence of Etidal comes from having numerous prominent international
experts and specialists in the field of combating extremist media discourse. At
the same time, it enjoys high-level technology in combating extremist
activities through conventional media and electronic space.
The Centre has developed innovative,
high-speed, world-class software capable of monitoring, analyzing and
categorizing any content of extremism at an unprecedented degree of accuracy in
only six seconds from the data available on the Internet.
Dr. Naseri Al-Buqmi, Secretary-General of
Etidal, said, “I think it is a quantum leap in combating activities in the
digital space.” According to Dr. Al-Buqmi, work is in progress to develop
advanced analytical models for locating digital media platforms that contain
extremist ideology and are secret sources of recruitment activities.
He adds that, as well as its activities in
combating extremist ideology, Etidal also works on preventing it through
professional media content that promotes tolerance, moderation and acceptance
This work is conducted under the
supervision of the Higher Committee of Thought, which includes a group of
prominent Muslim thinkers and scholars from around the world, in cooperation
with governments and organizations.
Finally, Saudi Arabia will remain an
important focal point for all Muslims, the origin of Islam, the cradle of the
Muhammadi message, and the foundation of moderation. Through this
intercontinental centre, it will become the world’s foremost reference in
combating extremist ideology and the promotion of a culture of moderation.
7 July 2017
The recent visit by German Foreign Minister
Sigmar Gabriel to the Gulf — starting off in Saudi Arabia, and then to Abu
Dhabi, Qatar and Kuwait — should not be seen as a new, separate mediation
effort. It is, rather, a sign that Germany is looking to help facilitate the
actual mediation, through Kuwait, in the Gulf’s ongoing dispute with Qatar.
Germany is the leading power in the EU and
one of the strongest economic players in the world. But because of its history,
it has never played a political role that is commensurate to its economic
As a partner of all Gulf Cooperation
Council (GCC) states Germany is very much concerned with the stability of the
Middle East and the GCC in particular. Germany is an important partner not only
in economic cooperation but also in security, culture and higher education. On
Friday and Saturday it will host the G-20 Summit in Hamburg.
The security and stability of the Arabian
Peninsula is very much in Germany’s best interests. International terrorism is
also a threat to Germany, and therefore the country will be a partner to the
GCC in combating that threat, without taking sides.
During the last month, Germany hosted Saudi
Arabia’s foreign minister, as well his counterparts from Qatar and Iran. In all
talks, Germany encouraged its partners to seek a peaceful solution to the
tensions and to avoid any aggravation of the crisis.
Minister Gabriel, during his visit to Saudi
Arabia, proposed a joint strategy to cut off financial support — by whomever —
to radical organizations, such as Daesh. Only a joint approach by all GCC
states will be successful.
Concerning the problems posed by Qatar’s
political activities, Germany supports a diplomatic solution through the
mediation by Kuwait, as well as through dialogue.
A split of the GCC and a growing crisis
will only harm the unity of the region, and also affect German relations with
all GCC member states. Only Iran would benefit from a further tightening of
Of course, Qatar has to show its
willingness to play a constructive role in settling the problems. But the other
Arab states — under the wise leadership of Saudi Arabia — should also
concentrate on positive ways to settle the issue through dialogue.
Only a unified stand — including by Qatar —
against the threats of terrorism will be successful. Germany will remain a
reliable partner to all member states of the GCC, and will always be willing to
engage in the search for a stable solution to the existing problems.