Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Al Qaeda TV - courtesy of our `ally' Egypt.

The Weekly Standard has an illuminating article by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross & Nick Grace (both of who's stuff I've linked to inthe past) on the latest competition to al Jazeera and al Aribiya..gen-U-wine, 100% Al Qaeda TV.

Al-Zawraa hit the airwaves on November 14. Based out of a secret studio in Syria, its signal is broadcast 24-7 to the entire Arab world from a satellite owned by none other than our `good friends' the Egyptian government.

In the past, as the article notes, most of al-Qaeda's propaganda went out on al Jazeera, but 2006 saw more Internet releases, which meant that al Qaeda's messages went out much more quickly. The new TV station is apparently an extension of this effort.

According to Middle East-based media monitor Marwan Soliman and military analyst Bill Roggio, al Zaraa was set up by the Islamic Army of Iraq, an insurgent group comprised of former Baathists who were loyal to Saddam Hussein and now profess their conversion to a bin Laden-like ideology. They're part of the Mujahideen Shura Council (who chose Zarqawi's successor, Abu Ayyub al-Masri when Zarqawi was killed) and directly part of the al Qaeda `insurgency' in Iraq.

The station appears to be well financed and is broadcast on Nilesat, a powerful satellite owned by the Egyptian government which broadcasts its signal throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

According to Roggio, the station is heavy on al Qaeda and pro- Iraqi insurgent propaganda, showing destroyed mosques, weeping women and children, and of course, US soldiers and military vehicles being taken out by the brave jihadis. The station's anchors appear in military fatigues.

This is powerful stuff, especially, as the authors note, in a part of the world with high illiteracy rates.

It's designed to carry al Qaeda's message region wide and to continue to help in destabilizing Iraq.

The easiest route to shutting down Al-Zawraa then is to persuade Egypt to remove the station from Nilesat. So far, any efforts to get the Egyptian government to intervene has been handled through the US State Department, which means that nothing has been done so far, of course.

We give Egypt $2 billion a year in aid, but it appears that the Bush Administration isn't prepared to use that as leverage with Egypt.

Just another example of how we're not serious about fighting this war yet....

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