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  The limits of objectivity: Qatari rulers reassert control over Aljazeera
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Last EditedPenguin  Nov 15, 2011 06:57pm
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News DateWednesday, November 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionThe leader of al-Nahda movement, Rachid Ghannouchi, made his first visit to a foreign country after the first post-revolution Tunisian elections. His choice was the State of Qatar. Analysts see many messages in this gesture but some Tunisians are troubled by the invitation he had extended to the Emir of Qatar. Although many do not want any foreign leader present during the opening session of the constituency assembly, some Tunisians are singling out the ruler of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, as a persona non grata. They see him as a bully who is using Aljazeera and his huge wealth to push an agenda that is not necessarily in the interest of their country. From the initiatives in which they have been involved, it is not hard to identify echoes of personal ambitions to amass power and influence. The Qatari officials seem to have found the winning trifecta for success. A quick analysis of their projects shows that they have built a project on three foundations: Arab neo-nationalism, Islamism, and private capital. The single most crucial tool that effectively connects these three elements is information and communication. Aljazeera, then, became the central piece. Through their petro-wealth, the rulers of Qatar bankrolled Aljazeera and through Aljazeera they initiated reciprocal relationships with Islamist and nationalist movements. In this essay, we will examine the conception and function of Aljazeera in the context of the Arab Spring and regional politics and the way the rulers of Qatar have leveraged it for their advantage.
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