Saturday, May 13, 2006

Arab News Today

The Arab News Web site never ceases to frustrate me. Occasionally, I"ll see articles that, while not necessarily friendly to America, are friendly to the idea of liberalization. Once in a while, I’ll even see something that has the ring of honesty to it that doesn’t indulge in the need to paint either Israel or the US in evil hues. Of course, those are just peppered in amongst condemnations of the West and the Zionists that are more common to Arab media.

Take today, for example. The first article is an insightful piece from Amir Taheri that analyzes the current Iran crisis, ending with this:

President Ahmadinejad has the immense merit of being open and honest about his ambitions. He is determined to prevent the US and its regional allies from reshaping the Middle East they way they like. He believes that Iran is the natural “regional power” and, in that capacity, has the right and the duty to decide what the Middle East should look like once the Americans have been driven out or decide to run away.

Ahmadinejad’s letter was an invitation to Bush to acknowledge that fact and prepare for handing the future of the Middle East over to the Islamic republic. This is the real issue either for negotiations or for a showdown at the end of which we shall all know who will set the tune in this sensitive region for the foreseeable future. The nuclear issue, therefore, is an effect of a deeper cause.

Which seems exactly right to me; it also seems like a lesson Iran learned by watching North Korea’s manipulations of the West.

But it sits right next to Essa bin Mohammed Al-Zedjali’s odd condemnation of the “Zionist” Western media and the Arab world’s failure to convey its PR message to English-speaking audiences. Lucid thought is coupled with such an odd paranoia about the Damned, Evil Jews and the Manipulations of Deceit, that it is hard to take seriously.

This, no doubt, results from a false image of the Arab-Muslim world in the minds of the Western people. The situation has worsened in recent times, particularly after the 9/11 attacks. Without doubt, the Zionist-backed Western media has a big role in spreading this image. The Zionist lobby does not operate randomly, but works through organized campaigns to tarnish the image of the Arabs and Muslims. The Jewish lobby has long been feeding the Western media with lies and half-truths, and it is now quite obvious that they are working hard to defame the Arab world in every possible way.

I would also suggest that the PR problem for the Middle East is centered more around Western views on the subject of suicide bombers and basic human rights. But I’m wacky that way.

Arab News never fails to entertain; it also offers a view of the thoughts and processes of a people who are, culturally, quite alien to Westerners who have grown up on the processes of liberal democracies.


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