Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

The Tale of an Intelligence Officer’s Recordings

The Tale of an Intelligence Officer’s Recordings

Tuesday, 9 January, 2018 - 12:15
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad.

The New York Times (NYT) is a reputable newspaper known for journalistic integrity and fact-checking to a point where it’s said the paper cannot find anything good to publish.

Anyway this is just a myth. Just like any other newspaper, NYT is strict when it wants to and lenient when it suits it. There might not be a journalist in the whole world without an opinion or affiliations. This can be seen in the coverage of media opposing President Donald Trump as it became a smear campaign of insults resulting the media coverage in violating the profession’s ethics.

NYT recently published a report claiming that, contrary to official statements, Egyptian authorities, are not against Trump's decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. It included recordings of an Egyptian intelligence officer coordinating with Egyptian television hosts, explaining the Egyptian government's policy and asking them to agree with it.

This report, if true, like plenty of recent news about the region, seems to be part of the Qatari public relations’ activity that uses journalists to spread facts and fake news.

When I listened to the recordings, I did not discover any new political stance. All Arab countries approved the Arab initiative, which clearly accepts West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and recognizes Israel as a state. When Trump insisted on activating the decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, all Arab countries voiced their opposition, but they are aware they cannot stop it.

At the same time, the majority of Arab countries did not want to fall into the Iranian or Qatari trap, with both seeking to incite regional people for reasons irrelevant to Palestine or Jerusalem. They are part of the regional political game.

Incitement has been Qatar's approach since the 1995 coup led by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah against his father. Sheikh Hamad is still ruling the country from behind the curtains. We should not forget how US jets bombed al-Qaeda in Iraq and Afghanistan flying from a base in Qatar, while the Qatari media was calling for jihad against US infidels. Hypocrisy and fraud have continued to this day.

Qatar rushed to translate Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury" and published it on social media. When comparing the Qatari version with Wolff’s, we can see that the original one is 260-pages long while the translated version is only 120 pages. This is because Qatar selected and negatively translated chapters discussing Saudi Arabia.

Falsification is common. Even during live broadcasts of Trump's speeches, Qatari interpreters have put words into the President’s mouth according to Qatar’s position. This is the credibility of sources quoted by NYT.

Qataris and Muslim Brotherhood filled the internet and social media with false media garbage by fabricating interviews with political figures like Henry Kissinger and deceased men like Brzezinski or publishing false analyses attributed to German and British papers.

They also exploited Western media outlets that are eager to learn interesting stories about the region, and willing to publish without validating the sources, leading to a less of credibility.

Countries like Egypt need to carefully tackle major issues unlike Qatar which does not hesitate to gather US bases, Taliban offices, and Sheikh Qaradawi in one place. The Muslim Brotherhood, along with their Qatari allies, have been trying for two years to stir problems with the Egyptian people. They were trying to do so in every possible way and under any slogan, whether supporting people’s demands or Jerusalem, in order to destabilize the current regime. In addition, they launched a campaign against late President Anwar al-Sadat when he signed the Camp David Agreement, until he was assassinated.

The Brotherhood exploits public support for Palestine for reasons that have nothing to do with Palestine. Exaggerating the significance of these recorded phone calls falls within that context.

It is not difficult to understand Egypt’s position as it is well aware that defying the Trump administration would have repercussions on Palestinians. The US is one of the biggest supporters of refugee relief programs and the only country capable of pressuring Israel.

Egypt also realizes that Trump's decision can be dealt with in the same way the 1995 Congress decision was resolved when they ordered the move of the embassy, but it never happened. The mission will not be moved for five years, and during this time Trump may change his mind or another president may halt the decision.

Governments have no interest in entering into a lost battle just to satisfy instigators. Because of Qatar and Muslim Brotherhood's incitements, 15 Palestinians were killed and 600 injured in confrontations with the occupying forces.

It is naive to believe that recorded phone calls published by media outlets can remove any obstacle in the way of negotiations whether by adopting an alternative capital or resettling the refugees. These are complex issues that will not be solved as long as Netanyahu is prime minister.

The goal of Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood is to portray leaders of countries who disagree with them as traitors. They incite others to assassinate or overthrow the regimes. This is what the Muslim Brotherhood did with President Sadat.

I understand when a journalist constantly promotes Qatari messages, as the New York Times did. If only he mentions the sources, we would understand the story.

Other opinion articles

Editor Picks