January 30, 2005


Under Pressure, Qatar May Sell Jazeera Station (STEVEN R. WEISMAN, 1/30/05, NY Times)

The tiny state of Qatar is a crucial American ally in the Persian Gulf, where it provides a military base and warm support for American policies. Yet relations with Qatar are also strained over an awkward issue: Qatar's sponsorship of Al Jazeera, the provocative television station that is a big source of news in the Arab world.

Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and other Bush administration officials have complained heatedly to Qatari leaders that Al Jazeera's broadcasts have been inflammatory, misleading and occasionally false, especially on Iraq.

The pressure has been so intense, a senior Qatari official said, that the government is accelerating plans to put Al Jazeera on the market, though Bush administration officials counter that a privately owned station in the region may be no better from their point of view.

"We have recently added new members to the Al Jazeera editorial board, and one of their tasks is to explore the best way to sell it," said the Qatari official, who said he could be more candid about the situation if he was not identified. "We really have a headache, not just from the United States but from advertisers and from other countries as well."

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 30, 2005 6:46 PM

maybe "little" george will let john "arthur carlson" kerry run his tv station. the only problem will be getting him to show up to work, although even that might not be so hard given kerry's attraction to the camera.

Posted by: chris markle at January 30, 2005 7:39 PM

It would actually be brilliant. Soros has the anti-Bush cred he needs to be listened to, but he'd also do more than Al-Jazeera ever has to nudge Arab leaders towards democracy.

Posted by: Timothy at January 30, 2005 7:49 PM

While they might be in agreement with most of Soros' foreign policy beliefs, and the content might not change a whit, the idea of some rich Jewish guy owning Al-Jazeera probably wouldn't go over so well in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria and a few other Gulf nations, who'd be out stoning the satellite dishes the moment the deal was announced.

Posted by: John at January 30, 2005 10:43 PM
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