(photo credit: REUTERS)
An Al Jazeera TV host, writing in the Qatari media, has called the Western coalition campaign against Islamic State a “new crusade,” reminiscent of the one that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.
The Al-Watan newspaper ran an op-ed on Sunday by Al Jazeera host Ahmed Mansour, who said that the Western media coverage on late has focused on “their industry” of making enemies, namely the Islamic State.
This is being done just as it was in the past regarding al-Qaida, the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, and Osama bin Laden, he said.
Mansour accused the “extreme Right” in Britain of “corresponding” to the Islamic State in terms of extremism.
And just as US president George W. Bush referred to the war on terror as a “crusade,” it is clear now that “the story is not the Islamic State, but the real story is what is happening is a new crusade dressed in new clothing,” he wrote.
This article follows the Qatari position that supports Islamist movements throughout the region, including those in Syria seeking to topple President Bashar Assad.
Meanwhile, Israel, Egypt and other Gulf states have slammed Qatar for supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist movements.
The Gulf Arab state has a population of just over two million, of whom about 5 in 6 are expatriates, but is playing an outsized role on the world stage.
The Qatar-owned Al Jazeera media company seems to be following a similar line in defending Sunni Islamists in the region.
The English version of Al Jazeera ran an article by Donatella Della Ratta last week titled, “ISIL and Western media: accidental allies?” in which she writes that the Western press is exaggerating Islamic State’s social media presence.
Della Ratta cites “Arab analysts” who blame the creation of Islamic State on the West and its colonialism.
“Several Arab analysts connect the rise of jihadist networks and sectarian groups to the imposition of borders by the Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916, which they argue resulted in entrenching sectarianism and fragmentation in the region,” she wrote.