Tous les articles par dans Lucile Jourde Moalic

Birmanie : récit d’un nettoyage ethnique


Il y a plus d’un mois que le “nettoyage ethnique” des Rohingyas par l’armée birmane a commencé, et la situation semble toujours figée. Le 25 août, une attaque des militants de l’Armée du Salut des Rohingyas de l’Arakan (ASRA) sur des postes-frontières de la région a provoqué une réaction démesurée des militaires, à l’origine de la destruction de deux-cents villages Rohingyas et d’un exode de plus de 400 000 réfugiés. D’où viennent ces tensions, quelles en sont les conséquences ? Réponses.

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Al-Jazeera: torn by Arab regional tensions

June 5, 2017; rude awakening for Qatar. No less than 10 Persian Gulf countries, led by Saudi Arabia, decide to sever all diplomatic relations with Doha (the Qatari capital). All land, air and sea borders are closed, as well as the offices of news network Al-Jazeera in Riyad (Saudi Arabia’s capital). In June, Qatar received an ultimatum: they had to agree to 13 conditions intended to ease regional tensions. One of them was to shut down the entire Al-Jazeera company. Les Décryptages explain how the “Arab CNN” became the center of international political demands.

Thunderous beginning

In 1996, Hamad Ben Khalifa, Qatar’s head of armed forces, decided to unseat Khalifa Ben Hamad – his own father – and to seize power. He then started to actively modernize the young emirate, which had gained independence in 1971. Modernization included increased visibility for Qatar on the regional and international stage, and this happened via a two-word tool: “Al-Jazeera”.

Literally meaning “the island” in Arabic, Al-Jazeera news network had one goal: to end the Saudi hegemony on Arab TV. It set about becoming the first Arabic-speaking news channel, reaching far beyond the Gulf. In the entire Arab region, from Morocco to Algeria to Cisjordania, Arabic-speaking journalists were poached by the growing Qatari firm. The news are now produced in Arabic, by Arabs, for Arabs.

Success built gradually. In 2008, Al-Jazeera was watched daily by 30 to 40 million people. Celebrities, like Fayçal Al Kaceem, moderate impassioned debates over political, religious, cultural, and economic issues, which sometimes end in live altercations. The chain truly reflects the arab world, down to the tiniest detail…

Before Al-Jazeera, the Arab TV industry was controlled by two distinct spheres. First the BBC, a single British news operation with an international-oriented continuous feed. Second, a series of national chains, each controlled by its government, and each unapologetically praising its current regime. Al-Jazeera positions itself between these two spheres: no apparent government control, and no foreign control.

This “independent” editorial line serves the company’s image: calling the network “island” was not random. The apparent lack of ties ensures news “objectivity”, and insularity is promoted. The slogan conveys a similar message: with Al-Jazeera, you get “the opinion, and its contrary”.

“Independence and its contrary” ?

Compared to other Arab channels, Al-Jazeera seems to have a different, remarkable tone. As early as 1998, Al-Jazeera breaks with the usual editorial line of the Arab media landscape by publishing its own images of bombings in Irak, while other chains downplay the damages caused by the attacks.

However, Al-Jazeera is at the heart of a controversy, accused by its competitors of “providing a loudspeaker to islamism”. After the September 11 attacks, the Qatari channel notably showed videos filmed and sent by Oussama Ben Laden himself. Years later, this reputation led Mohamed Mera to send videos of his massacres of children from the Ozar Hatorah school, that Al-Jazeera chose not to broadcast.

Opponents to Al-Jazeera also question its independency. Since it is a tool of the Qatari soft Power, the network leaders cannot choose themselves which images to publish. Each coverage of external events seems to be consciously thought out. Indeed, it is easy to guess the state of diplomatic relations between Qatar and its neighbours by looking at the angle used to cover foreign events.

Al-Jazeera has even shown support for and given a platform to people strongly opposed to particular regimes. The show “Charia and life”, features Youcef Al-Qardawi, a preacher from the Muslim Brothers movement. The brotherhood is considered a terrorist organisation by the Egyptian government. No doubt such support from this media was one of the main reasons why Egypt joined Saudi Arabia in the recent diplomatic spat with Qatar. In other words, Qatar seems to have a more or less discrete control over Al-Jazeera’s editorial line. Last but not least, Al-Qardawi is also renowned for provocative positions that led to his forbidding of European countries.

Meanwhile, there are no articles about the Qatari state. Human rights, wealth inequalities… “Al-Jazeera” talks about other countries but remains mum on Qatar.


The future was bright for Al-Jazeera. Viewers were many, the chain was in a situation of quasi-monopoly in the Arab news media industry. It was a true empire in process of building up.

Al-Jazeera soon had two little twin sisters in the UK and Bosnia. The sports channel Al-Jazeera Sport was then born, allowing international development. Likewise, BeInsport was created in France, seriously hurting older, monopoly-like networks such as Canal+. The American subsidiary of the channel with a gold logo, Al-Jazeera America was also created, with a French subsidiary soon to follow.

Each channel has a specific editorial line depending on its audience. For instance, Al-Jazeera English tends to lend a voice to Third World countries with numerous correspondents in Africa and Asia. The style of these channels is more restrained, with less polemic shows than the original one.

Threatening influence

This fast expansion also brings tensions. Particularly in Saudi Arabia, scared by the prospect of increasing Qatari influence, beyond the Persian Gulf boundaries.

Indeed, Saudi Arabia has always had expansionist views in the region; Qatar is one of the emirates most threatened by this goal. In 1921, Ibn Séoud, founder of the Saudi Arabian Kingdom, set about taking the Qatari land. He was stopped by a strong refusal from the British colonies, and Qatar’s existence is only due to the British presence in the region. For Saudi Arabia, which considered the emirate was part of its own territory, an ambitious emancipation can be perceived as an humiliation. Particularly when Qatar shows pride and becomes a real competitor in terms of regional influence. Thus, the very existence of Al-Jazeera proves to be a factor that can damage relations between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Is the island sinking ?

Al-Jazeera seems to have encountered many difficulties these past few years. First, competition keeps increasing. Many national news channels get more viewers everyday, robbing the qatari channel of precious percentage points.

Besides, the coverage of the Arab Spring by the golden channel, accused of supporting islamist candidates in the elections, may have caused significant loss of audience.

Finally, the success of Al-Jazeera’s business expansionism should also be questioned. In 2016, during a time of decreasing fossil fuel prices, several hundred employees were laid off. It was also hard for Al-Jazeera America to find its audience, so much so that the American channel folded in April 2016.

The request from the anti-Qatar coalition appears to be the last straw: the definite end of the company is required. Qatar would lose a powerful tool for boosting its global exposure. Nonetheless, the chain has not made any declaration on its potential end. It remains to be seen whether the editorial line will be changed, which could help Qatar alleviate the consequences of the regional exclusion.

Read the original french article, written by Yunews, here :

Charlottesville : What responsibility for Trump ?

Important | “Tribunes” est un format indépendant : il permet à une personne d’exprimer publiquement ses idées et n’est pas à associer à l’activité de Décryptage effectuée par notre média.

On Saturday August 12, a meeting of neo-nazis and white supremacists was held in Charlottesville, Virginia. Anti-racism demonstrators gathered to protest against this American far-right show of force; a man drove his car into the group, causing the death of a 32 year old female protester and hurting more than 20 people. The FBI launched an investigation and soon designated a murderer: James Field, a 20 year old man with ties to the neo-nazi movement. The police called this act a homicide and mentioned that the act was intentional, however president Trump initially refused to publicly condemn the crime, instead mentioning “violence from both sides” without readily incriminating the racist demonstrators.

What does this tragic event reveal about the treatment of the alt-right’s violence ?

Far-right’s terrorism is a curse in the United States: there are several recent examples, like the shooting in a black church in Charleston by a white supremacist (leaving 9 dead), or the murder of 7 people in a Sikh temple in 2012. Researchers Charles Kurzman and David Schanzer estimated there were 337 attacks by far-right activists leading to 254 casualties in the U.S. since September 11th, 2001*. Meanwhile, islamist terrorism killed around 50 people since that same date. However, many media outlets and politicians tend to focus on islamist attacks to instill a climate of fear around the danger they see in Islam. The acting out by right-wing extremists is actually far more worrying.

Indeed, we can find many small active far-right groups, about a thousand in the entire US. Racist violence has reached a frightening level with a 584% increase in islamophobic crimes between 2014 and 2016, according to the CAIR (Council for American-Islamic Relations), an NGO defending Muslims’ civil rights in the United States. This rise can be partially explained by the trivialization of anti-islam positions like the one held by the Republican candidate during his campaign, and applied (with the #MuslimBan) once in power.

Add to that the ambiguous position held by the Trump administration toward far-right terrorism. Last August 5th, the Islamic center Dar Al Farooq, Minnesota, was the target of a bombing, qualified as a terrorist attack by Mark Dayton, the Minnesota governor. Nonetheless, president Trump remained mute on the subject – while tweeting recklessly on every subject. One of his advisors, Sebastian Gorka, even suggested that the act was the result of a manipulation from left-wing militants.

With the recent Charlottesville event, it took 48 hours for the president to give a clear statement, hinting to a possible complacency toward those who actively supported his campaign. He finally provided those words on August 14th, after an outcry from his own political party:  “Racism is Evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and brutes, including the KKK, Neo-nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.” A declaration which would go without saying for any political leader, but which had been long-awaited because of the  previous positions and actions of the president, and of those around him with a dubious past. A declaration which was also quickly made unclear when Trump parallely mentioned alt-right and alt-left violence, although the murderer is undoubtedly a neo-nazi.

As long as we do not condemn with equal intensity a racist attack and an islamist attack, we will fuel extremist movements in their hate projects. The image of a white murderer qualified as an unstable person, but immediately designated as a terrorist when his beard is too long, must be removed from the media landscape. Although it all seems obvious with our hindsight, it is almost impossible within the mainstream media’s obsession toward Islam, widely shared in Europe. The first step, if we want to combat this violence, is to condemn – with the same strength – all murderers, regardless of their ideology. It is also to stop any ambiguity that might feed bitterness, fuel fantasies and yield evermore violence.

Read the original french article, written by Ménélas Kosadinos, here :