Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Egypt Enabling Sunni Info Ops In Iraq

This is the kind of thing that drives Washington nuts.

Al Zawraa television station, the face of Iraq's Sunni insurgency, shows roadside bombs blowing up American tanks, dead and bloody Iraqi children, and insurgent snipers taking aim and firing.

And all this blatant anti-Americanism is broadcasting 24/7 on an Egyptian government-controlled satellite provider from one of Washington's closest allies. Even though Iraq and the US have asked Egypt to pull the plug, the station remains on the air.

The question is, why? While Nilesat, which broadcasts Al Zawraa, argues that it's airing the channel for purely commercial reasons, analysts point to the political benefits for Egypt.

Some say the country's reluctance to shut down the channel shows that Egypt, predominantly Sunni, may be taking a stand against what it sees as the unjust aggressiveness of Iraq's Shiite-led government and the dangers of Iran's influence there. ...

American officials have reportedly called the station "utterly offensive," saying that closing it down is a priority. ...

"I want to show people everywhere what the Americans are doing to my country," says (Station owner Mishan al-Jabouri), a former member of Iraq's parliament, now based in Damascus, "what American democracy has done to Iraq, how it has killed children, what has happened in the prisons, how the Americans gave Iraq to Iran."

While many see Nilesat as Al Zawraa's staunch supporter, Jabouri complains that the satellite provider is already reacting to US pressure by raising technical obstacles that prevent him from sending new footage from the field, forcing him to loop already-broadcast material. ...

The business deal between Al Zawraa and Nilesat is all the more curious, commentators say, since Islamic extremism remains a threat in Egypt and Al Zawraa appears the perfect militant recruiting tool. But, it seems Egypt is more concerned about reasserting its leadership in the Sunni Arab world than it is in gagging a possible militant mouthpiece, analysts say.

This is also a sign that Egypt may be further distancing itself from Washington. Recently, it defiantly announced a nuclear energy program of its own and criticized Mr. Hussein's execution last month.


Post a Comment

<< Home