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Middle East Press (07 Jul 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Al Jazeera Cannot Whitewash Its ‘Terror Network’ Past By Faisal J. Abbas : New Age Islam's Selection, 07 July 2017





New Age Islam Edit Bureau

07 July 2017

Al Jazeera Cannot Whitewash Its ‘Terror Network’ Past

By Faisal J. Abbas

Qatar Will Surrender In the Dark

By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Are The Winds Of Change Blowing In Iran?

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

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Al Jazeera Cannot Whitewash Its ‘Terror Network’ Past

By Faisal J. Abbas

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 (AJA).

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 terrorist content.

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 following:

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.  

Source: arabnews.com/node/1125286

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Qatar Will Surrender In the Dark

By Abdulrahman al-Rashed

6 July 2017

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.

Old Promises

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 revealed.

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.

New Ways

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 groups.

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.

Hostile Moves

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.

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2017/07/06/Qatar-will-surrender-in-the-dark.html

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Are The Winds Of Change Blowing In Iran?

By Hamid Bahrami

6 July 2017

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’ theocracy.

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 East.

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.

Bridges Destroyed

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 world peace.

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.

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2017/07/06/Are-the-winds-of-change-blowing-in-Iran-.html

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Various Dimensions of the Fight against Extremist Ideology

By Dr. Ibrahim Al-Othaimin

6 July 2017

“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 military action.

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 Internet protocols.

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 other languages.

Three fronts

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 of others.

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.

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2017/07/06/Various-dimensions-of-the-fight-against-extremist-ideology.html

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Germany and the Qatar Crisis

By Gunter Mulack

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 strength.

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 this crisis.

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.

Source: arabnews.com/node/1125581

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/middle-east-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/al-jazeera-cannot-whitewash-its-‘terror-network’-past-by-faisal-j-abbas---new-age-islam-s-selection,-07-july-2017/d/111805




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