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Al Jazeera and Qatar: The Muslim Brothers' Dark Empire?
Zvi Mazel writes in the Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs:
- There has been a significant presence of the Muslim Brothers (also known as the Muslim Brotherhood) in Qatar since the second half of the twentieth century. The first wave came from Egypt in 1954 after Nasser had smashed their organization. The next wave came from Syria in 1982 after Hafez el-Assad bombed their stronghold in Hama. The last group arrived after September 11, 2001 - from Saudi Arabia.
- In 1995, the present Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, deposed his father in a bloodless palace coup. One of his first steps was to establish the Al Jazeera satellite channel in 1996, which is the most viewed station in the Arab world with an estimated audience of some 60 million.
- There was never any doubt about the network's political orientation. Al Jazeera immediately launched scathing attacks on Israel during the Second Intifada and went on to incendiary broadcasts against the United States at the time of the Afghanistan conflict and over Iraq. It was later revealed to be in contact with bin Laden, and was the medium of choice for the video and audio cassettes of bin Laden and his men.
- During the U.S. war in Iraq, the Americans accused the station of being pro-Saddam, and after the war, of presenting the terrorist groups active in the country in a positive light. One of its reporters stationed in Baghdad always seemed to arrive suspiciously quickly, with his camera, at the site of terror attacks. During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Al Jazeera behaved as a Hizbullah spokesman. During the Gaza war, a senior Al Jazeera reporter stationed himself at Shifa Hospital, from where he broadcast a stream of carefully selected horror pictures.
- The Egyptian Maamun Fendi wrote in Asharq Alawsat that some 50 percent of the network's personnel belong to the Muslim Brothers. He believes that Qatar, by embracing the Brothers while hosting American bases, has found the perfect formula against retaliation by Arab leaders and attacks by Islamic extremists. Al Jazeera has become a weapon in the hands of an ambitious emir who may be driven by the Muslim Brothers and who is threatening the stability of the Middle East.
- With the Muslim Brothers increasingly aligned in recent years with Iran, by repeatedly attacking the Sunni Arab regimes and inciting against them, Al Jazeera is serving as an important instrument for Tehran and its effort to undermine their internal stability.
Could Qatar and Al Jazeera's satellite channel located there be secretly manipulated by the Muslim Brothers? This is a question frequently asked by Arab media trying to puzzle out the high profile adopted by the ruler of the tiny desert country and the nationalistic and radical Islamic content of the channel he owns.
Qatar Offers Refuge to Fleeing Islamists
The fact that there has been a significant presence of the Muslim Brothers (also known as the Muslim Brotherhood) in Qatar since the second half of the twentieth century is not in dispute. They came in three successive waves seeking sanctuary from the wrath of the rulers of their countries intent on quashing their subversive activities. The first came in 1954 from Egypt where Nasser had just smashed their organization, making it illegal and putting the Brothers in jail by the tens of thousands - after having executed some of the leaders. He was reacting to a failed attempt to assassinate him. The fugitives settled not only in Qatar but throughout the peninsula (Saudi Arabia and the other emirates).
The next wave came in the 1980s - from Syria. In 1982, Hafez el-Assad thought the activities of the Muslim Brothers endangered his regime and his army bombed the town of Hama, considered their stronghold. Some fifteen to twenty thousand people were killed....
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