Al-Jazeera to Close US Branch – Mission Accomplished?
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : Qatar’s State owned Al-Jazeera will be closing its broadcasting branch in the United States. Al-Jazeera played a pivotal role in selling a Qatari / Western biased narrative about the so-called Arab Spring, the war in Syria, and the political changes in Egypt.
Al-Jazeera in America (AJIM) announced on Wednesday that it will be closing down its cable TV and digital operations by April 30 of this year. AJIM CEO Al Anstey explained that the decision was:
“driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in light of economic challenges in the U.S. media marketplace”.
The Qatari State broadcaster has barely operated in the USA for three years. Until 2011 the United States’ government largely considered Al-Jazeera as a “rogue” network.
That position changed significantly when Al-Jazeera began playing a pivotal role in selling a pro-Qatari and by implication pro US / NATO narrative about the “Arab Spring” in Libya and the alleged “civil war” in Syria.
A large number of journalists left the network in 2012 – 13 in protest over what they described as the State run channel’s strongly biased coverage of the war in Syria.
Al-Jazeera became also known for its ardently pro-Muslim Brotherhood coverage of the people-powered military coup that resulted with the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Al-Jazeera would omit that “the coup” came when Egyptian politicians and the military responded to some 14 million people in the streets who demanded that Morsi and his administration either begin earnest talks with the opposition or step down.
Neither would Al-Jazeera report that the popular demand was based on the fact that the Morsi administration had changed Egypt’s electoral law in such a way that it had become virtually impossible for non-Islamist parties to register for – let alone win elections.
The closure of Al-Jazeera in the United States comes as Deep State structures in the United States increasingly use Al-Qaeda franchises including the self-proclaimed Islamic State in a strategy of cooperative antagonism.
The Muslim Brotherhood, favored by Qatar, has largely lost significance the Syrian war theater. It has no significance in Iraq, and it has been ousted in Egypt.
The decision to close down Al-Jazeera operations in the United States may very well be based on the consideration that the network has cost Qatar about USD 2 billion. Correct, falling oil and gas prices have an impact on Qatar’s economy.
However, as it is with all State funded media it is, in the final equation, a question about whether or not an investment in propaganda yields the expected political, economic and other return.
It is here that Qatar and Al-Jazeera have fulfilled their function over the past three years while the prospects for the future are looking more bleak.
The end to Al-Jazeera in the United States does, however, not imply that Al-Jazeera stops functioning as a Qatari propaganda channel.
There may be new “markets” to focus on. One example would be Mozambique which may become the world’s second-largest exported of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by 2020, superseded only by Qatar.
When Al-Jazeera in the United States closes down operations in April 2016 it will lay off some 800 journalists and other staff. But then again, letting down staff is no novelty at Al-Jazeera.
In the words of former Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy, Al-Jazeera spent millions of dollars on the trial against Al-Jazeera journalists in Egypt to wage war against Egypt. That was, after the channel had failed to provide necessary permits to their staff, including an operational and broadcast license.
CH/L – nsnbc 16.01.2016