December 29, 2014

Al Jazeera Gives Up On Its Anti-Syria Propaganda Campaign, Assad's Army Is Dwindling Down, And Turkey's Erdogan Opens Door To Muslim Brotherhood Thugs

Al Jazeera is giving up on terror, Erdogan is doubling down on an error, and Assad is hanging on by a hair.

1. An excerpt from, "Is Al Jazeera changing its tune on Syria?" by Wissam Kanaan, Al Akhbar, December 27, 2014:
It is no secret that Al Jazeera is the media arm of Qatari foreign policy, which has suffered a successive series of setbacks, particularly in Syria. But some time ago, signs that changes had taken place in the editorial line of Al Jazeera began to emerge, as evident in the terminology the Qatari satellite channel started using. For example, Al Jazeera no longer refers to opposition fighters as “rebels.”

The assertion of Al Jazeera’s personnel then is that what is happening is merely administrative. Everyone is aware of this, including Broadcaster Majid Abdul Hadi who relayed this information to Syrian journalists in Gaziantep, where the station opened an office recently. The office is run by Ahmed Abda, one of those overseeing the Syrian file in the channel, and brother of opposition figure Anas Abda, who is affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood.

However, a documentary filmmaker who declined to be named contradicts this claim. He said, “All the answers I got about this issue from Al Jazeera personnel claim the matter is an administrative plan but I doubt it. I see a change in Doha’s policy towards Damascus that will unfold gradually, and have an impact on the coverage of Al Jazeera, which follows precise instructions.” The filmmaker added, “What makes it likely that the station’s policy is changing is that they have turned down dozens of pitches for Syrian documentaries, even though they are of a humanitarian focus rather than about armament and fighting. It seems there is a desire to marginalize the Syrian story on more than one level.”
2. An excerpt from, "Desperate for soldiers, Assad's government imposes harsh recruitment measures" by Hugh Naylor, Washington Post, December 28, 2014:
The Syrian regime has intensified efforts to reverse substantial manpower losses to its military with large-scale mobilizations of reservists as well as sweeping arrest campaigns and new regulations to stop desertions and draft-dodging.
3. An excerpt from, "The Muslim Brotherhood in Exile Finds a Potential Home in Turkey" The American Interest, September 16, 2014:
As we noted yesterday, Qatar’s decision to expel these high-ranking Muslim Brothers could be a sign that the wealthy Gulf emirate is moving into alignment with the Saudis, the UAE, and Egypt. Since the ouster of Mohamed Morsi last year, Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah Al Sisi has conducted a brutal campaign against the Brotherhood, while his allies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE also oppose the Brotherhood’s brand of political Islam.

Erdogan’s announcement, then, may be met with some mix of annoyance and alarm in Riyadh. The Saudis will likely be watching closely to see how far Turkey is willing to take its support of the embattled Islamist movement.
4. An excerpt from, "Erdogan defends Brotherhood's Qaradawi after arrest warrant" by Tulin Daloglu, Al-Monitor, December 12, 2014:
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was angered when Interpol issued an arrest warrant Dec. 5 for Youssef al-Qaradawi, the ideological leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Expressing his resentment publicly at the Fifth Religious Council in Ankara Dec. 8, Erdogan said: “Look, a person who came to power through a coup is giving instructions to Interpol. Based on this instruction a step is being taken for the arrest of Youssef al-Qaradawi, president of the [International] Union of Muslim Scholars. What kind of a business is this?”

In July, an Egyptian news report of unknown reliability wrote that Qaradawi had ruled that a declaration of a caliphate by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is “void under Sharia,” but that he declared Turkey to be the capital of the caliphate.  
In June 2013, Qaradawi released a written statement in response to the Gezi Park protests and called on everyone to support Erdogan against foreign conspiracies. He said the opposition protesting in Taksim Square is a minority and they should respect the opinion of the majority and refrain from destructive behavior. Qaradawi also stressed that Erdogan’s success was because of the help of Allah, because by prohibiting the use of alcohol Erdogan stopped moral corruption and destruction of society.