Friday, 30 September 2011

Wadah Khanfar, Al Jazeera and the triumph of televised propaganda

Al-Jazeera - the Qatari news channel that in the space of 15 years established itself in the Arab world as an innovative news outlet - suddenly embarked in a vast intoxication campaign to overthrow the regimes of Libya and Syria through any means. As demonstrated by Thierry Meyssan, this was not a conjunctural shift but one that was planned long in advance by individuals who shrewdly concealed their personal interests to the public. Revelations follow ...

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Wadah Khanfar

The Qatari-based Al-Jazeera channel announced the resignation of its director general, Wadah Khanfar, and his replacement by a member of the royal family, Sheikh Hamad Ben Jassem Al-Thani on September 20, 2011.

Sheikh Hamad is a Qatargas executive, and spent a year at the head office of Total in Paris. He is the former chairman of the Al-Jazeera Board of Directors.

This development is protrayed by the Atlanticist media in three different ways: either as a forced resignation and a takeover of the channel by the State, as a revenge on the part of the Palestinian Authority following the release of the Palestinian Papers and, finally, as the result of the Wikileaks leak exposing some of the connections between Mr. Khanfar and the United States.

While each of these interpretations may contain some truth, they nevertheless obscure the overriding factor: the role of Qatar in the war against Libya. At this point, a flash backwards is called for.


What future for Al-Jazeera?

The conversion of Al-Jazeera into a propaganda tool for the recolonisation of Libya was not achieved without the knowledge of the emir of Qatar, but indeed under his leadership. The Gulf Cooperation Council was the first to call for an armed intervention in Libya and Qatar was the first Arab country to join the Contact Group. He funneled weapons to the Libyan "rebels" before sending in his own ground troops, especially during the Battle of Tripoli. In exchange, he obtained the privilege of controlling all the oil trade on behalf of the National Transitional Council.

It is too early to say whether the resignation of Wadah Khanfar marks the end of his mission in Qatar, or if it heralds the channel’s desire to recover the credibility that took 15 years to build and only 6 months to lose.