B. Hussein Obama Hosts Boss of Terror Channel Al-Jazeera
President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Amir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani of Qatar in the Oval Office, April 14, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) Photo located at White House blog
Obama Hosts Boss of Terror Channel Al-Jazeera
Obama on Thursday hosted Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani of Qatar, otherwise known as the Boss of Al-Jazeera, for a meeting in the Oval Office. Obama called him “Your Highness” and “His Highness,” even though the Emir dropped his robes of royalty for a business suit. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani financially sponsors Al-Jazeera and its most famous personality, anti-American and anti-Semitic cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who has just returned to Egypt from Qatar to supervise the transformation of that one-time U.S. ally into an Islamic state.
“In addition to our efforts in Libya,” Obama said, “we have a strong relationship between our two countries. It is an economic relationship. It is a military relationship. It is a cultural relationship. And obviously, Qatar has done very well under His Highness’s leadership, but his influence extends beyond his borders. And so we’ve had discussions about how we can continue to promote democracy, human rights, increased freedom and reform throughout the Middle East.”The influence “beyond his orders” could be a reference to Al-Jazeera, described in one of the WikiLeaks cables from the U.S. as an instrument of foreign policy for the Qatar regime.
Obama also congratulated the emir on Qatar’s selection as host of World Cup soccer in 2022. He noted he’ll be an ex-president by then and made a pitch for good seats.
“I will not forget to send your tickets for the World Cup,” the Qatari dictator said. Obama replied, “Thank you, my friend.”
Once shunned, Al Jazeera has fans in Obama W.H.
By: Keach Hagey and Byron Tau
In the halls of American power, the Arab Spring has brought Al-Jazeera in from the cold.
Seven years after then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called the broadcaster’s reporting “vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable” and President George W. Bush joked about bombing it, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised it as “real news” in her recent Senate testimony.
Not only that, her staffers, as well as those of the CIA and the Obama White House, were attending the Congressional Correspondents’ Dinner as Al-Jazeera’s guests.
“They are a really important media entity, and we have a really great relationship with them,” said Dana Shell Smith, the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for international media engagement, who speaks Arabic and has frequently appeared on the channel. “This administration has empowered those of us who actually do the communicating to be in a close relationship with Al-Jazeera. They understand that the relationship can’t consist of complaining to each other about the differences we have.”
The differences also have shrunk as the big story in the Middle East has shifted from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the democratic movements sweeping the region. In the recent uprisings, U.S. interests tended to line up with Al-Jazeera’s, and President Barack Obama alluded to both the network’s influence and its pro-democracy bent in remarks caught on an open mic during a closed-door fundraiser last week.