Hot off the Arab press 498960

What citizens of other countries are reading about the Middle East

Donald Trump (photo credit: REUTERS)
Donald Trump
(photo credit: REUTERS)
TRUMP: 1; CNN: 0
Asharq al-Awsat, London, June 29
Whether you like or dislike him, the truth is that President Donald Trump has been one of the American presidents most criticized by the media. The feud between Trump and his country’s major news stations began way before he stepped into office, during his campaign for the presidency. From the very get-go, Trump was ridiculed and mocked by senior politicians and journalists, including some affiliated with his very own Republican Party.
Nowhere has this been more visible than on CNN, which launched what seemed like a personal war on President Trump and his family. Granted, most media outlets have liberal tendencies. This is true of most of the European newspapers and television channels, and the United States is no exception. However, the war between Trump and CNN quickly escalated to unprecedented levels. The president, at his end, made sure to continuously accuse CNN of spreading “fake news,” while CNN journalists stuck to every move the new president made in an attempt to hamper his work.
Last week Trump gained the upper hand and marked his first victory, when three CNN journalists who worked on a now-retracted story about Russia and a top Trump adviser were forced to resign from their jobs at the station. Trump took advantage of their resignation to discredit the entire network. This was a true blow to CNN. Despite claiming to be objective and impartial, it was caught single-handedly inventing negative news against Trump.
This fiasco reminds us that regardless of where one stands on the political spectrum, we must never abandon our professional standards. In a day and age in which news proliferates so uncontrollably, it is important more than ever before to put our political affiliations aside and strive to provide genuine reporting of the events around us.
– Mashari al-Zaidi
Al-Ittihad, UAE, July 1
One of the things that shocked me the most in recent weeks is Qatar’s response to the Arab boycott imposed on it. It seems as if the Qatari people are genuinely confused about what is taking place in their country and the region, more broadly. With the boycott now entering its fourth week, the Qatari leadership is refusing to take any kind of action. It is digging its head in the sand and pretending that the problems around it simply don’t exist. Using its state-controlled news channels, the Qatari leadership is working hard to send a business-as-usual message to its citizens at home and abroad, with the hope that if it believes hard enough that the crisis is nonexistent, then it will actually become a nonissue.
Sadly, Doha is lost. It is incapable of telling where things are headed next. Instead of sitting down with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, and Bahrain, the Qatari government is reaching out to every possible lobby and interest group abroad, with the aim of pressuring those countries to end their embargo.
Unfortunately, this just shows how detached the Qatari people are from the grave reality around them. Arab states simply had enough of Doha’s interference in their affairs, and they will not lift their sanctions, until it changes its ways. Simply wishing the crisis away won’t do a thing. The only way to move forward is for the Qatari leadership to acknowledge its mistakes and sit down with Arab heads of state to negotiate a reconciliation agreement. But before any settlement of this sort even takes place, Doha must begin by acknowledging that there is a problem. So far, it is refusing to do so out loud.
– Muhammad al-Hammadi
Al-Araby al-Jadeed, London, July 1
What is no less interesting than the current crisis unfolding in the Arab Gulf is the priceless reaction to it by US President Donald Trump. Trump, a seasoned businessman, is treating one of the most burning diplomatic crises of our era in the same way that he treats his financial affairs: doing business with the highest bidder. He isn’t concerned about the United States’ strategic interests in the Middle East, or the possible implications of this boycott on American assets. Instead, he views the Gulf as one large barrel of oil, to be exploited and manipulated at the hands of America.
Saudi Arabia seems to have picked up on this game, and is using it well to advance its own interests. By bringing some of Trump’s closest aides to Riyadh – where they are wined, dined and hosted like royalty – King Salman and his colleagues in government are able to wield their influence in Washington and protect Riyadh’s interests. They, too, understand that Trump’s lack of ideology makes him extremely amenable to these exploitations.
Meanwhile, concern in the State Department is growing ever stronger. There, veteran diplomats understand that leaving America’s support to the highest bidder is a dangerous game, one that could end terribly wrong. With very limited power, they are waging their own boycott: against Trump’s dangerous policies.
– Khalil al-Anani