Al Jazeera Director General Wadah Khanfar on Pushing Reset with US and Obama Administration


This is a video clip of a public event I chaired with Al Jazeera Director General Wadah Khanfar — who was simply outstanding. Anyone interested in Arab media and current trends in the Middle East should spend some time watching this clip.
Khanfar is currently Director General of Al Jazeera but was previously Baghdad Bureau Chief when the US bombed that news bureau during the Iraq invasion.
Really fascinating talk and good discussion.
This event — titled “Pushing Reset on America’s Relationship with Al Jazeera and the Arab World” is also available at C-Span.
— Steve Clemons


13 comments on “Al Jazeera Director General Wadah Khanfar on Pushing Reset with US and Obama Administration

  1. Prozac says:

    The West Bank, which is controlled by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, is seeing positive changes amid Israeli steps to facilitate travel and commerce and beefed up security efforts by U.S.-trained Palestinian security forces.


  2. Mr.Murder says:

    The Cable Co. here dropped CSpan, then set it to a new channel, only it isn’t on. It is on the menu for channels, a channel that actually replaced CSpan.
    Found it today on a channel formerly used for pay premium channels, not listed on the channel menu.
    Talk about withdrawal symptoms, this town didn’t need much help in dumbing down.
    Thanks for the article, this is an important step.


  3. Paul Norheim says:

    If Nadine thinks we should trust the Huffington Post as a
    credible news site, then I would suggest that she reads today`s
    story from the same site:
    “50 Palestinians Evicted From Their Jerusalem Homes
    JERUSALEM — Israeli police evicted two Palestinian families in
    east Jerusalem on Sunday, then allowed Jewish settlers to move
    into their homes, drawing criticism from Palestinians, the United
    Nations and the State Department.
    Police arrived before dawn and cordoned off part of the Arab
    neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah before forcibly removing more
    than 50 people, said Chris Gunness, spokesman for the U.N.
    agency in charge of Palestinian refugees.
    U.N. staff later saw vehicles bringing Jewish settlers to move
    into the homes, he said.
    Israeli police cited a ruling by the country’s Supreme Court that
    the houses belonged to Jews and that the Arab families had
    been living there illegally.
    Gunness said the families had lived in the homes for more than
    50 years.”
    Of course Nadine agrees with the Israeli Supreme Court here.
    Headscarfs in the Gaza courts is a huge issue. Forcibly removing
    Arabs from the houses where they`ve lived for 50 years, is
    nothing to make a fuzz about. They are Muslims, so they
    deserve it.


  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Or is the Huffington Post also a front for the vast Zionist conspiracy?”
    Ya know, thats a reeeeally stupid comment. The Huffington post is NOT the source for this story. And I have yet to find a source, although it appears it may have originated as an AP article.
    Is it your brilliant assumption that if its on the Huffington Post, it must therefore be vetted and credible, therefore the Huffington Post’s cred’s rest on the veracity (or lack of) of the story?
    I’m not really questioning or vouching for the article. I’m just pointing out what a buffoon you can be. Maybe you oughta devote some thought to your drool before you allow it to ooze out of your keyboard.


  5. nadine says:

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Gaza’s top judge said Sunday that he has ordered female lawyers to wear Muslim headscarves when they appear in court, the latest sign that the Islamic militant group is increasingly imposing its strict interpretation of Islamic law on residents of the coastal strip.
    Supreme Court chief justice Abdul-Raouf Halabi said female lawyers will be required to wear a headscarf and a long, dark colored cloak under their billowing black robes when the court returns from its summer recess in September.
    Halabi said his order was designed to ensure that women dress in accordance with Islamic law, which requires women to cover up in public, wearing loose garments and only showing their hands and faces.
    “Showing a woman’s hair is forbidden (in Islam),” the Hamas-appointed Halabi told The Associated Press. “We will not allow people to corrupt morals. This (dress code) will improve work in the courts.”
    Hamas seized power in Gaza in June 2007 and vowed never to impose its conservative values on others. But it has taken a series of steps in recent months that appear to be aimed at forcing residents to accept its Islamic-oriented social agenda.
    Hamas is imposing sharia on Gaza bit by bit. Or is the Huffington Post also a front for the vast Zionist conspiracy?


  6. Outraged American says:

    Clinton’s 1996 Telecommunications Act, well, I shouldn’t call it
    “Clinton’s” but he certainly bears some responsibility, destroyed
    any hope of getting real news in the US from the mainstream
    It has led to a serious dumbing down of the US population,
    which wasn’t too bright to begin with given our truly simplistic
    educational system.
    We are now epitome of the bread and circuses crowd, well,
    except for the bread part because more and more Americans
    don’t have any on their table.
    Look over there — it’s Paris Jackson or Paris Hilton — don’t look
    over here and see that your community is crumbling because of
    Don’t see that your medical records are being stored illegally
    (e.g., if you use a credit card they note what prescription
    medicine you’re buying) by nefarious companies who will then
    sell them to insurance companies who will then use them to
    deny you health insurance.
    As much as I laud the blogosphere, nothing replaces trained,
    and with any luck, impartial, journalists on the ground in terms
    of providing credible news. The internet has destroyed that.
    On one hand the internet has set us free, and that’s a great thing
    because it enables people around the world to find their
    commonalities, while our governments try to whip us all into
    nationalistic fervor so that they can start wars and enrich
    themselves while burying, physically and financially, most of us.
    On the other hand the internet has given no financial incentive
    for “news” outlets to actually report what’s happening. And the
    latter is a tragedy.
    The New York Times and her “aluminum tubes” lied us into an
    invasion, so no regrets there. But, believe it or not, the Wall
    Street Journal used to have excellent reportage outside of its
    editorial page.
    I haven’t watched Al Jazeera English yet because we just
    switched off our TV. But I used to watch Mosaic (Middle East
    news, including Israel and Iran, translated into English) daily. I
    would recommend it highly:
    In case you want to know why your kids are so dumb, here’s
    more on the Telecommunications Act that allowed for media
    consolidation (from Salon June 2001)
    the Telecom Act, as it became known, unleashed unprecedented
    deregulation and media consolidation, among the most
    pronounced in American history.
    If that link doesn’t work, cut and paste this into your browser:


  7. Paul Norheim says:

    Apparently, the peak of America`s power, or – as Kotzabasis
    perhaps may have formulated it in Greek: the “anabasis” of US
    hard and soft power was reached during the Clinton
    administration: The White House, Pentagon, Wall Street,
    Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and CNN seemed to cover the whole
    spectrum of global dominance, and constituted what Steve
    Clemons has called the “mystique of America`s power”.
    Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Wall Street, punctured this
    “mystique” of US military and economical power. What about Al
    Jazeera on the information front?
    Al Jazeera is one of the most powerful signs of a development
    that will be more visible during the next decade: CNN, BBC and
    other Western and Anglo-Saxon news medias will probably no
    longer be the hegemons in the world of news and information.
    Several regions will, slowly or rapidly, develop credible news
    centra in different languages – from India to South America,
    from the Middle East to East Asia, from Paris to Berlin. This
    happens at the same time as the blogosphere is undermining
    the influence of mainstream media. I notice that Steve is in the
    middle of it, and seems to welcome the development.


  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Any of this sound familiar?
    An excerpt……..
    “ZPC Deniers: Phony Arguments for Fake Claims”
    “The main claims of ZPC (Zionist power configuration) deniers take several tacks: Some claim that the ZPC is just ‘another lobby’ like the Chamber of Commerce, the Sierra Club or the Society for the Protection of Goldfish. Others claim that by focusing mainly on Israel and by inference the ‘Lobby’, the critics of Zionism ignore the equally violent abuses of rulers, regimes and states elsewhere. This ‘exclusive focus’ on Israel, the deniers of ZPC argue, reveals a latent or overt anti-Semitism. They propose that human rights advocates condemn all human rights abusers everywhere (at the same time and with the same emphasis?)”


  9. Carroll says:

    I see that another group of 8 congressmen arrived in Palestine to tour Gaza yesterday. They are scheduled to meeet with the UN staff whose school was bombed by Israel.
    Congress is still more Israeli/Jewish centered than American interest centered but there is some weakening of Israel support.
    Just as an interesting observation for those of us who watch congress like hawks. The militant support for Israel among the Jewish congressmen is becoming even more pronounced than it ever was, really noticable and smelling of desperation and is little by little putting them more in the public spotlight highlighting their ethnic loyalties and foreign alleigence to Israelmore than usual just political congressional Judas’s actions for Israel. There are still ongoing flurries of letters to Obama demanding the Arabs normalized relations with Israel, headed up by Byah. (Don’t think the Arabs are going to do that until Israel does something real and a lot more than lift a few checkpoints.) Then there are the Iran sanctions bills coming fast and furious still, Bergman has yet another one in the pipe.
    Obama doesn’t have much time to act if he is going to make Israel comply with his settlement demand. If he hasn’t used some sticks on Israel by December this year, (actually I would only give him another 3 months) then not only has he lost there, but has also lost ground on Iran/ME and put the US closer to becoming embroiled in a Israeli or Israeli inspired attack on Iran.
    The zio’s neo’s and Israelis are sniffing and probing every hole and weak link in the fence trying to regain some influence and footing and congress is as we all know, a very weak fence. The longer Obama waits for the Isr/zio’s to voluntarily comply the more likely the hyenas will chew thru the fence. Even if the US were to compromise on Israeli settlements, the Israelis still would not back off Iran. On the contrary having won that point they would push even harder for a Iran attack assuming they could get thru that fence also.


  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “And as for Hamas purportedly enforcing radical Islamic law in Gaza, I doubt that, but I’ll check.”
    Its wonderful knowing our leaders are being “briefed” by AIPAC and Haaretz, isn’t it? I’m sure these “briefings” are a treasure trove of honest and unbiased information.
    AIPAC As a Resource
    For more than 50 years, AIPAC’s staff and its 100,000-plus citizen activists across the country have worked to provide our elected officials with the information and tools they need to make informed decisions concerning American policy in the Middle East. AIPAC’s mission is to serve as an important resource for lawmakers and their staffs by providing in-depth information and analysis on the critical issues affecting the U.S.-Israel relationship.


  11. Outraged American says:

    Al Jazeera’s offices in Kabul were also deliberately bombed in
    Nov. 2001. Either it was a deliberate attempt to target
    journalists (and the US would nevah, evah do that, now would
    we 😉 or the Pentagon really needs to spend a few of its trillions
    developing a GPS system that actually works.
    Al-Jazeera accuses US of bombing its Kabul office (Guardian UK)
    The Qatar-based satellite television channel, al-Jazeera, claimed
    yesterday that its Kabul office had been targeted by United
    States bombers. Ibrahim Hilal, the chief editor of the Arabic
    language network, said it had given the location of its office in
    Kabul to the authorities in Washington – yet on Monday night,
    its office was destroyed by a bomb that almost wrecked the
    nearby BBC bureau.
    And as for Hamas purportedly enforcing radical Islamic law in
    Gaza, I doubt that, but I’ll check.


  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Al Jazeera is talking to think tanks. Who is Haaretz talking to?
    Israeli Reporter Briefs Hill Staffers on Palestinian Split
    Ha’aretz correspondent Avi Issacharoff briefed congressional staff.
    Avi Issacharoff, Arab affairs correspondent for Ha’aretz, briefed some 40 congressional staffers about the deepening divide between Hamas and Fatah, saying this conflict is the key obstacle to the advancing peace negotiations. Issacharoff said the terrorist group Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since 2007, has become more radical and is increasingly imposing strict Islamic law to restrict personal freedoms in Gaza. At the same time, the West Bank, which is controlled by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, is seeing positive changes amid Israeli steps to facilitate travel and commerce and beefed up security efforts by U.S.-trained Palestinian security forces. While Fatah and Hamas have been engaged in “reconciliation” talks to potentially form a national unity government, Issacharoff said he does not believe Hamas will ever accept the international community’s demands to be seen as a legitimate partner for peace. The briefing was sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with


  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Rhetoric is everything with this Administration. Pushing “reset” with the Muslim world will entail far more than simply blustering policy advocations that go undefended, un-implemented, and undermined by the Democratic majority who have shown an unwillingness to pursue Obama’s alleged visions.
    I have seen NO strong reactions to the myriad of Israeli public announcements and settlement activities that are a direct effrontery to the Obama Administration’s so called “hard-line” with Israel.
    Our politicians, in the face of Israel arrogance and defiance, are rebutting with promises of continued “alliance” and support, continuing the unceasing declarations of devotion to our “most favored ally” in the Middle East.
    There is absolutely NO incentive for Israel to halt settlement growth, or to back off on Iran. With Reid publically criticizing Obama’s hardline with Israel, allied with a large contingent of powerful Democratic leaders, Israel can be confident that Obama’s hardline is softened by political reality. The White House is impotent without the support of the Democratic majority, and Reid has shown us, irrefutably, that that support will be almost impossible to garner.
    Meanwhile, there are no SPECIFIC AND DIRECT criticisms of Israeli settlement activity, which is ongoing and escalating.
    In the face of Israeli arrogance, we promise our loyalty, and re-affirm our commitment to continued financial aid and arms shipments to Israel. Wheres the “hardline” in that?
    The Arab world cannot help but notice the disconnect between rhetoric and action.
    West Bank Settlers Top 300,000 as Growth Continues
    11 New Outposts Set Up in Past Two Days
    by Jason Ditz, July 27, 2009
    According to the Israeli military, the population of settlers in the West Bank passed 300,000 for the first time this year, and sits at 304,569 as of the end of June, an increase of 2.3% in the past six months. Usually growth rates are even higher in the second half of the year. The number does not include some 200,000 more settlers living in East Jerusalem.
    The announcement comes less than a week after a study by an Israeli think tank showed the heavy subsidies of the settlements by the national government were causing disproportionate increases in the populations of the outposts, at a time when Israel is under increasing pressure to halt their growth.
    The Netanyahu government has resisted the calls however, and insists growth will continue. The settlers have considerable sway in Israel’s right-wing government and today held a massive anti-US rally in Jerusalem condemning President Obama’s criticism of the settlements.
    The government has tried to salve international criticism with the promise to dismantle the smaller, illegal outposts in the West Bank, but over the past two days it is reported that 11 new outposts were set up by the militant “Youth for Israel” movement, which seemed to consist of little more than a handful of huts set up by teenagers. The Israeli military, however, declined to stop the construction of the new outposts.


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