« Zawahiri's rap battles | Main | in search of Arab moderates »

September 30, 2006


isaac rosenberg


Your apercu about Al Arabiya coverage of Qatar lobbying against Prince Zeid may be about Saudi-Qatar rivalry, but it misses the bigger point. Qatar's 1DPM/FM Shaikh Hamad Jassim Jabor Al Thani is doing Saudi Arabia a favour, and may have instructed his UN Ambassador Nassir Al-Nasser to openly canvas against Prince Zeid to prove to the Saudis he's working in their favour. The fact is there's little lost between Jordan and Saudi Arabia. And this is a clear example where it works in the favour of both Saudi and Qatar to shut down the Jordanians from raising their international profile. From the Saudi perspective, the Hashemites are ideological rivals. Why let a Hashemite become 'secular caliph'. I wouldn't go so far as to talk about a anti-Hashemite Wahabbi compact between Saudi and Qatar. More likely, wily Shaikh Hamad Jassim is playing his usual balancing games with the Saudis, and protecting his business and political flanks.

David Ignatius

Tharoor would be a fine candidate, but the word at the UN is that he ain't going to get the job. Kofi's last swing through the Middle East demonstrated how important this job is--especially over the next 2 years, when a damaged Bush administration will need a strong secretary-general more than it probably realizes.


It's not really about the candidate. Before the sudden death of World Health Organization Director General J.W. Lee last year the reliable word on the street was that he had an inside track on the job. Sounds to me like a South Korean carve-out, presumably in part because of the looming confrontation with the North.

Most U.N. positions are filled this way: when it's not an implicit sinecure, it's a more or less formal one. Ann Veneman at UNICEF for example (and Carol Bellamy before her). Maybe this is not a good practice, you say, given the challenges we face internationally. You would, of course, be right. But these are part of the U.N.'s tacit terms of reference.



Did you notice the New York Times had an article interviewing a spoke in Al Qaeda's media wheel from Amman two days ago?

Al Qaeda Increasingly Reliant on Media

Abu Omar, 28, is part of an increasingly sophisticated network of contributors and discussion leaders helping to wage Al Qaeda’s battle for Muslim hearts and minds. A self-described Qaeda sympathizer who defends the Sept. 11 attacks and continues to find inspiration in Osama bin Laden’s call for jihad, Abu Omar is part of a growing army of young men who may not seek to take violent action, but who help spread jihadist philosophy, shape its message and hope to inspire others to their cause...

For example, this past Sept. 11, Abu Omar said, a link sent to a jihadist e-mail list took him to a general interest Islamic Web site, which led him to a password-protected Web site, then onto yet another site containing the latest release from Al Qaeda: a lecture by its No. 2 man, Ayman al-Zawahri, threatening attacks on Israel and the Persian Gulf. Abu Omar said he then passed the video to friends and confidants, acting as a local distributor to other sympathizers...

He goes to an Internet cafe several times a week. In recent years, Jordan’s Internet cafes have begun taking increased security measures, like registering users’ identification cards, he said, but jihadists in Amman alternate among a network of sympathetic cafe owners who allow them to surf anonymously.

Dude, I kept reading waiting to see a quote from you. What happened? This "Hassan M. Fattah" is stealing your act!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Blog powered by Typepad