Monday, March 14, 2005
Not long time ago, Al Qaeda’s branch in the Arabian peninsula threatened that they will attack Kuwait if it didn’t kick US troops there out. When I heard the news I thought: ummmm, interesting, but what about Qatar? Why didn’t Al Qaeda extend its threat to Qatar as well? After all, it hosts the largest US military base in the region, the center command from where the Iraq war was carried out. The US base in Qatar is the actual backbone or nervous system of the entire US army in the region. Why wasn’t the tiny island on Al-Qaeda’s hit list?
I believe the presence of Al-Jazeera channel is a major factor in preventing any Al-Qaeda attacks. The Qatari ruler finances Al Jazeera for three main reasons. One, to give his tiny insignificant island leverage and status among the Arab countries provided that the Islamist run channel never messes up with his rule (The channel never mentions the 1995 coup that the current ruler carried out against his father or how he kicked an entire tribe that was pro-his father). Two, Al-Jazeera is a perfect weapon against Qatar’s archenemy: Saudi Arabia. Right after Hariri’s assassination, Al-Jazeera’s played a tape showing a person claiming that the attack on Hariri was because of his relations with the Saudi royal family. The channel then started broadcasting pictures of Hariri with Saudi officials on a continuous basis right after the tape. Saudi Arabia used its own channel Al-Arabiya to enormously highlight the recent trip of an Israeli minister to Qatar. Third, the channel “buys Al Qaeda” so that it won’t attack the island even if the channel hosted the largest US military base and built very warm relations with Israel.
It is well known that Islamists and radical Arab nationalists constitute the top management of Al Jazeera. A New York Times investigation on Al-Arabiya mentioned how a number of Al Jazeera employees shifted to Al Arabiya because they were uncomfortable with the Islamist atmosphere at Al Jazeera. Tayseer Alouni, the channel’s former correspondent in Afghanistan, is currently under arrest in Spain for financing Al Qaeda members. Ahmed Mansour, an Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood member, was a journalist in Pakistan during the soviet occupation and forged ties with radicals there. I couldn’t stop laughing when I heard Uday Hussein refer to him as “this Mansour boy” during one of meetings that the former Al Jazeera general manager had with Uday to seek his “guidance”. In addition, it is well known now that the channel is Al Qaeda’s mouthpiece in the region. Why attack the country that hosts and finances its mouthpiece to the world?
You know what, I’m really fond of the Qatari ruler. He plays it very well. He funds a channel that gives Saudi Arabia hard time and buys him protection from Al Qaeda attacks. Free from the threat of terror, the Emir can invite the US military in as well as forge relations with Israel positioning his tiny island as a lighthouse of reform and modernity in a sea of backward Arab countries. He doesn’t give a hoot about the terror and radicalism that Al Jazeera promulgates across the region as long as it is away from his fat rich ***.