The Rise of Al Jazeera: The Need for Greater Engagement by the U.S. Department of Defense

By Stroud, Shawn | Military Review, July-August 2014 | Go to article overview

The Rise of Al Jazeera: The Need for Greater Engagement by the U.S. Department of Defense


Stroud, Shawn, Military Review


In January 2007, I traveled with then Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, IV, chief military spokesperson for Multi-National Force-Iraq, to the Al Jazeera Media Network headquarters in Doha, Qatar. At that time, the Iraq government had forced closure of Al Jazeera's television news bureau in Baghdad--accusing it of fomenting discord among the Iraqi people and heightening the insurgency. Nonetheless, Al Jazeera's popular broadcasts still reached Iraq from Qatar. Our purpose for the trip was to conduct live and taped television interviews and to engage Al Jazeera's senior leadership in dialogue concerning some of its misreporting about our operations. Our experience was remarkable. First, the network's highest leaders warmly welcomed us. They joined us for over two hours of discussions about major issues both parties were encountering. Second, we participated in several interviews on the Arabic and English channels. Each interviewer challenged our assertions and data but also gave us many opportunities to clarify or reinforce our positions. Last, and perhaps most important, we were asked to come back.

We returned to Baghdad after a full day to discover our appearances on both channels were highly successful in sharing information with the Iraqi population and viewers around the world. Subsequently, we convinced the Iraqi government to reconsider its closing of Al Jazeera's Iraq bureau. Within a month, the chief Iraq correspondent had returned. Al Jazeera asked Multi-National Force-Iraq to provide weekly interviews from Baghdad, using live satellite broadcasting capabilities in the U.S. embassy and interviews recorded at its office. In addition, we made three more visits to Doha, the last in May 2007. These interviews positively influenced "the surge," "Operation Fardh al Qanoon," and "the Anbar Awakening" The Department of Defense (DOD) welcomed the success of this new and constructive relationship and wholeheartedly supported our findings and efforts.

I returned to Doha in October 2011 to discover that the friendly relationship between Al Jazeera and Multi-National Force-Iraq had been neglected: no similar outreach efforts had occurred since our May 2007 visit. Many of the same executives and correspondents welcomed us warmly, but they expressed frustration at the force's unwillingness to speak with them or participate in televised interviews. (1) We found it unfathomable that for nearly five years neither the multinational force nor the U.S. military had fostered a relationship with one of the world's largest and most influential media networks, especially after our efforts had been so effective.

This paper explains why the U.S. military should build and maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with Al Jazeera. It summarizes the history of the Al Jazeera Media Network, its relationship with the United States, and its influence as a news media organization. It explains the importance of engagement and offers recommendations for implementation by DOD. It is my hope this information will serve as a catalyst for renewed engagement.

The Rise of Al Jazeera and Its Relationship with the United States

Since its inception in 1996, the Al Jazeera [Arabic for the island or the peninsula] Media Network has been hailed by world leaders for its independent and nonpartisan coverage of global issues, yet hated by those same leaders for its coverage of their domestic news. According to deputy managing director Ehab Alshihabi, it has endeavored to be "an independent and nonpartisan satellite TV network free from government scrutiny, control, and manipulation" (2) Al Jazeera's reporting, however, has been a flashpoint for U.S. audiences who have found its news coverage provocative and biased against the United States. During an interview in 2001, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged Al Jazeera's importance to the Arab world but alleged it also gave "time and attention to some very vitriolic, irresponsible kinds of statements. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Rise of Al Jazeera: The Need for Greater Engagement by the U.S. Department of Defense
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.