Wednesday, May 2, 2012

QATAR: INFORMATION VACCUM AROUND THE «INFORMATION STATE»


About a week ago timid rumors about a failed coup in one of the most outstanding Arab states — Qatar — leaked to the outskirts of global information space. Its population is of match to a population of Udmurt Republic (federal subject of Russia) and makes about 1.700.000, but of late it has been laying claims for leadership within the renovated Gulf Cooperation Council, ousting the authority of Saudi Arabia.

Small country located at the Arab Peninsula and disposing the tremendous deposits of oil and gas (estimated explored oil deposits make up 14.5 billion barrel and gas deposits make up 17.9 trillion cubic meters) has recently become an information — rather than just a merely “resource” — state. Qatar Emir Hamad bin Khalifa, who came to power in 1995 after deposing his own father Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, studied in Great Britain and not in vain it seems. Year after the coup, which brought him to the peak of Qatari power, he decreed to establish the renowned Al Jazeera TV-channel that is famous for its “hot topic” democracy-championing reports in Arab and English from all over the world. Qatari oil dollars have spread around the world, nourishing Islamic extremists in Chechnya, Dagestan and other Muslim regions of Russia, Central Asia and the Arab states, while Al Jazeera, this Qatari analogue of “Times” (in Arabian its name means “the Island” — traditional name of the Arab Peninsula), supported the cash flow with the floods of misinformation and outright lies — the way it happened in Libya and the way it happens in Syria right now. New master of Libya have properly shown their gratitude for these deserts and now Qatar is in charge of en entire Libyan oil trade.
Oil-gas and informational might of the Qatari Emir is prudently supported by the military component. In 7 years the defense budget has more than tripled — from $1.11 billion in 2001 to $4.5 billion in 2010. A long-time regional leader, Saudi Arabia, hasn’t somehow deemed it dangerous for itself.
Perhaps, this very fact has triggered weird events in Doha on Apr 17 this year. Information that leaked into the media is extremely scanty. If we carefully analyze and systematize them, we may surely assume that on this day the palace was surrounded by several units of Qatari army, which attempted to capture Emir Hamad bin Khalifa and the members of his family. It all started with an explosion, caused by a collision of two trucks, which was followed by a palace assault. Emir has called for his loyal allies — Americans, whose troops are stationed in Qatar. American special mission units repented the attacks of unlucky rebels and evacuated the regal persons on helicopters. After that Americans have taken the key governmental and military objects in Doha under their control and initiated mass arrests within the military. The rest — are assumptions and rumors, which might just happen to be true, though. Emir allegedly has an incurable disease, which aggravates the internal competition within family. His wife allegedly behaves inappropriately, causing the just anger of Muslims and so on. These gossips should concentrate the public attention at the “domestic coup” version. There is an external one, of course — Saudi, who attempted to get rid of a rival. “Palace conspiracy” version goes as follows: there was no coup, but merely media hype, produced by a group of Syrian hackers.
The juiciest thing though, is that Al Jazeera is silent as a dead body, while the global media do not react to the sensational news from Doha at all. If the silence of a Qatari channel may be explained somehow, the lack of interest of the leading press and Internet media to such “hot topic” is utterly obscure. It seems that not a single American is aware of Pentagon military actions at a foreign territory. What is that: a conspiracy, funded by an Emir-billionaire or the “global backstage” orchestrating the global opinion? Believing into the “global backstage” has long ago become every bit as unseemly, as believing into extraterrestrial visitors, so the first version seems to be more trustworthy. Yet, it is still utterly impossible to believe that a certain, though  a tremendously rich, person dressed in a white jalabea can turn all the media in the world blind and deaf with a beck of his hand.
The only country, which joyously comments the Qatari “cheesy news”, is, unsurprisingly, Iran — Tehran is more than willing to take advantage of a squabble between two of its rivals. Riyadh silence may be explained with its possible involvement into the failed dethroning attempt, yet it is plainly impossible to explain the silent conspiracy of the rest of the world without undermining the common faith into the open information society.

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