While the United States invites Al Jazeera in, Iraq gives Al Jazeera the boot for the usual reasons like incitement to violence. Since Al Jazeera only does three things, incite violence, engage in propaganda campaigns for Qatar and run bland stories that provide cover for its two real purposes, banning Al Jazeera from inciting violence eliminates its entire reason for existence.
The problem for Iraq, now tightening it into Shiite dominated federalism, is that Al Jazeera is no longer just pushing generic Muslim terrorism or even serving as a forum for Al Qaeda, but is the main weapon of the Qatari royals in a Sunni-Shiite regional war. And a lot of Gulfies have already started talking about Iraq being the next front in the holy war.
Giving Al Jazeera the boot is a matter of pure self-defense. Iraq has seen what kind of mischief Al Jazeera pulled off in Egypt. It has no interest in letting it play on its own turf.
Iraq’s government on Sunday revoked the operating licenses of Al Jazeera and nine other television channels, saying that they were inciting sectarian conflict. All but one of the channels are aligned with Sunni financial backers, and the move was widely perceived as a crackdown on dissent by the Shiite-led government that is facing an increasingly violent Sunni uprising.
The decision will not banish the channels from the airwaves: as satellite channels based abroad, they are beyond the reach of the Iraqi government. But it prohibits the channels’ journalists from reporting inside Iraq.
On Sunday afternoon, the normally bustling newsroom of one of the channels, Baghdad TV, was quiet. Riad Barazanji, the general manager of the station, which has ties to the Iraqi Islamic Party and some top Sunni leaders, said he told the channel’s reporters, “This is a good chance for you to go home and see your wives and children after so much time covering the uprisings.”
By covering the uprisings, Riad means promoting the Sunni Jihadists, which Iraq’s government has a natural objection to.
The commission said that it had the authority to restrict news coverage it deemed was encouraging “hatred on the basis of national or ethnic or religious identities that can incite discrimination, hostility or violence.”
In a written statement, a senior American official, who insisted on not being identified, said, “Besides giving the appearance of trying to cover up security force actions and intimidate the press, this undermines confidence in the Iraqi government’s ability to govern democratically and guarantee freedom of expression.”
Iraq’s government never guaranteed anything of the kind. No Muslim country does. But should one of Obama’s little toadies really be talking after the White House launched Operation Rushbo? And has worked to demonize and marginalize FOX News?