Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Parallel Universes

Tuesday September 5: Al Quds al-Arabi has two stories across the top of its front page, one on the shooting of a British tourist in Amman, and the other the narrow escape of a Hamas cabinet minister from an attempt on his life in northern Gaza. The Gaza attack was by a local Palestinian dude, apparently triggered by inflammatory remarks against the Hamas minister in a Palestinian TV show, Palestinian TV being controlled by the PLO, which is Abbas' group, the writer reminds us. The article highlights the idea of Hamas-PLO rivalry spiraling out of control. There is a similar focus in the Amman-shooting story, where the writer points out there isn't any indication of terrorist-group involvement in this, pointing rather to the idea of generalized street-level rage connected with Lebanon (Jordan has excellent official relations with Israel, the writer notes), and possibly with the recent enactment of a new anti-terror security law. The underlying theme is the disintegration of political systems under the combined pressure of internal corruption and oppression on the one hand, and external US-Israeli pressures on the other.

It is a good example of the difference in approach between Al-Quds al-Arabi and the other two major London-based pan-Arab dailies, al-Hayat and Assharq al-Awsat. The al-Hayat story on the Amman shooting features a Jordanian security official to the effect that no matter how you slice it, this man is a terrorist; with a headline calling him a "Zarqawi", because he is from the same hometown as the famous former leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. And both of these papers appear not to cover the West Bank episode, no doubt considering that type of thing beneath the notice of high political coverage. The theme of system-collapse in the Arab world is completely absent from these two papers.


Anonymous Batir said...

With all respect to you and your excellent blog, I think the "system collapse" is only in the mind of Atwan. I just want to give you an advise that you may accept or refuse, which is to decrease your references to Atwan's paranoia and focus on facts and sound analysis.

1:33 AM  

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