It’s Time to Close Down Al Jazeera

July 31 2017

Among the demands put to Qatar by its Arab rivals are that it shut down Al Jazeera, the media company it owns and sponsors. The editors of such Western publications as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Economist have rushed to defend the network. Clifford May explains why they’re wrong, citing the observation by the late Arab intellectual Fouad Ajami that Al Jazeera is a “crafty operation” that “day in and day out deliberately fans the flames of Muslim outrage.”

Among Al Jazeera’s brightest TV stars is Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the “spiritual leader” of the Muslim Brotherhood. He has praised Imad Mughniyah, the Hizballah terrorist mastermind behind the 1983 suicide bombings in Beirut, in which 241 U.S. Marines were killed. He once issued a fatwa, a religious opinion, calling for the “abduction and killing of Americans in Iraq.”

Sheikh Qaradawi favors the “spread of Islam until it conquers the entire world and includes both the East and West, [marking] the beginning of the return of the Islamic caliphate.” Hitler, he has said, deserves praise for having “managed to put [Jews] in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hands of the [Muslims].”

Defenders of the network argue that however extreme Al Jazeera Arabic may be, its sister network, Al Jazeera English, is different. [But] consider the . . . exchange on National Public Radio earlier this month between [the interviewer] Kelly McEvers and Giles Trendle, the managing director for Al Jazeera English.

When confronted with evidence that Al Jazeera’s Arabic-language programs promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, Trendle replied that “the cultural context and the language is such that [Arabic is] much more expressive and passionate, whereas maybe the English language, we [sic] might be more reserved and stiff-upper-lip.” Reading between the lines, May contends that rather than offering a lame defense, Trendle effectively admitted that “Al Jazeera is Al Jazeera. Its mission is to shape public opinion. Its owners are savvy enough to understand that different audiences will be persuaded by different messages.”

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Read more at Washington Times

More about: Al Jazeera, Fouad Ajami, Media, Muslim Brotherhood, Politics & Current Affairs, Qatar

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy