A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, July 12, 2013

Al Jazeera's Nonstory on US Aid for Morsi Opponents

Al Jazeera, long known for its straightforward reporting, has come under increasing fire for its undisguised support for Muhammad Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, reflecting the views of its Qatari owners. For the most part the tendency has been most pronounced in Al Jazeera Arabic and their Misr Live channel from Egypt, and less so in Al Jazeera English. But this strange "exclusive" story is bizarre, "Exclusive: US bankrolled anti-Morsi activists: Documents reveal US money trail to Egyptian groups that pressed for president's removal."

It's already well-established that Egyptian secularists and liberals believe the US backed Morsi and helped support the Brotherhood; now we're being blamed for his overthrow as well?
Indeed, the US supports a number of organizations that promote democratization:Washington's democracy assistance programme for the Middle East is filtered through a pyramid of agencies within the State Department. Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars is channeled through the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), USAID, as well as the Washington-based, quasi-governmental organisation the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
In turn, those groups re-route money to other organisations such as the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and Freedom House, among others. Federal documents show these groups have sent funds to certain organisations in Egypt, mostly run by senior members of anti-Morsi political parties who double as NGO activists.
In fact, as anyone familiar with these organizations should know (and could determine with a few calls), they generally maintain links with a broad range of political parties. Secularists have attacked some of them for their links to the Brotherhood, buy they, like the Embassy, maintain relationships with parties across the spectrum.  This is just as great an oversimplification as the charge that the US Embassy supported and propped up the Brotherhood, or that Ambassador Patterson was personally some sort of enabler of Morsi.

The lesson may be that if you try to keep lines open to all sides, all sides will end up blaming you. But Al Jazeera used to be above such blatantly slanted reporting, and they deserve to be called out on this.

1 comment:

Al Moxtar said...

Al Jazeera *English* was somewhat above such thing, Al Jazeera Arabic never was as far as I recall, and never pretended to be.