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Al-Arabiya Flirting with Terrorists

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hassan Hanizadeh

The Dubai-based Al-Arabiya satellite television network, which is owned by a rich Arab prince from a Persian Gulf state, has recently established relations with Abdolmalek Rigi, the ringleader of the Jundullah terrorist group, and is trying to cast his criminal acts in a positive light.

The TV network, which was set up to counter the Al-Jazeera network, is currently implementing three major propaganda campaigns.

The first propaganda campaign of the Al-Arabiya network, which was established with a one-billion dollar investment, aims to give a favorable spin to the regional policies of Washington and Tel Aviv and to break the taboo against holding talks with the Zionist regime’s officials. Long live interviews with the Zionist prime minister, war minister, and foreign minister all provide evidence of this objective.

The second propaganda campaign aims to raise doubts about the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities. Through its biased news reports and analyses, Al-Arabiya is attempting to give citizens of regional countries the impression that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, which is the same strategy the Zionist media is following.

The goal of the third propaganda campaign is to give the impression that the Shias are a threat.

The network constantly broadcasts news reports and analyses about the phantom menace of Shiism and the Shia crescent and posts these stories on its Arabic and Persian websites every day.

The Persian website of Al-Arabiya, which was recently launched with the help of the U.S. State Department and Persian speakers living in the U.S., is under the direct supervision of U.S. psychological warfare experts and a certain Arab country’s cultural attaché’s office in Washington.

The wide coverage of interviews and film clips about the kidnappings of Iranian border guards by Abdolmalek Rigi’s Jundullah terrorist network, which has committed vicious crimes against the citizens of Sistan-Baluchestan Province in southeastern Iran, clearly demonstrates that U.S. and Israeli experts, with the cooperation of certain well-known Arab journalists, are jointly directing the network’s psychological warfare campaign.

While the U.S. claims it is engaged in a relentless campaign against terrorism, the Voice of America and Al-Arabiya are making coordinated efforts to depict the criminal acts of the Jundullah group in southeastern Iran as revolutionary acts.

The Al-Arabiya network was launched by the Arab prince after the September 11 attacks with the goal of eradicating prejudice against Arabs in the United States.

Through a $20 billion donation to the U.S. Republicans, the Arab prince was able to get the dossier of the September 11 attacks closed, but one of the U.S. preconditions was that the network had to give positive coverage to U.S. and Israeli policies in the region.

Thus, it became clear what kind of policy the network would adopt.

For example, during Israel’s 33-day war against Lebanon, Al-Arabiya tried to downplay the victories of the Hezbollah forces and make it appear that the Lebanese resistance movement was responsible for the war. Afterwards, it aired the religious decrees against Lebanon’s Shia Hezbollah forces issued by certain Salafi clergymen.

Another strange event that occurred during the 33-day war was the fact that Al-Arabiya gave extensive coverage to statements issued by 22 Wahhabi clerics, including Sheikh Abdullah bin Jabrin, Sheikh Abdurrahman al-Barak, and Sheikh Naser al-Amri, in which they called Hezbollah takfiri (extremists who believe they are the only true Muslims).

In other recent reports that were aired repeatedly by Al-Arabiya, these clerics again called Shias takfiris, said their practice of visiting holy shrines is haram (forbidden in Islam), and asked regional governments to prevent the formation of a Shia government in Iraq.

Despite these slanders, Hezbollah was the first Arab army that was able to defeat Israel in 60 years.

Whereas in the Six-Day War of 1967, the Israeli army captured over 80,000 kilometers of Arab territory (eight times the size of Lebanon) in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East Beit-ul-Moqaddas, Palestine’s Negev Desert, Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Sharm al-Sheik, and Al-Arish, Jordan’s Wadi Arab, and Syria’s Golan Heights, the Zionist regime was humiliated by Hezbollah in the 2006 war.

This victory, and the fact that it was cheered by Arab nations, angered Wahhabi and Salafi leaders, so they felt compelled to issue statements condemning Hezbollah.

Al-Arabiya has even tried to downplay the achievements of the recent Doha deal, in which the rival Lebanese groups agreed to elect a president and form a national unity government.

Al-Arabiya’s approach toward Iran’s peaceful nuclear program and the Shias of the region and its bias toward the Jundullah terrorist group show that the hidden hands behind the network are pursuing an Iranophobia strategy in order to sow discord among Muslims and marginalize the Shias.

Source: http://www.tehrantimes.com/Index_view.asp?code=171487

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