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But it was free to air Osama bin Laden’s sermons, support the Muslim Brotherhood – millions of whose members, especially in Jordan and Egypt are not “terrorists” – and even advertise the Islamist political platform of the Al Nusrah/al-Qaeda front.And here we reach a critical point in the story of the “crisis” in the Gulf.The electrician was arrested in July and sentenced to jail this month for “public indecency” after a Jordanian businessman complained to police that he had been sexually assaulted.But the Scot was freed after Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum ordered he should be exonerated.
These two one-hour programmes on Al Jazeera were highly sensitive because Saudi Islamists – let us never suggest these might include the Saudi government – have always favoured the vicious Isis over the more political (though often equally cruel) Nusrah.It will be the ultimate irony if a mad American President’s “go-for-’em-boys” speech in Riyadh last month brings this about.Trump’s boastful promise of lots of “beautiful” weapons for Qatar – followed by his Twitter post condemning Qatar for financially supporting “terror” – were just part of the comedy show for Americans who have grown used to their Commander in Chief’s insanity. And we forget – and the BBC seems to forget – that it was Mohamed’s uncle, King Fahd, who put paid to the first version of an independent international channel in the Middle East.But for the new Warrior Chief of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, defence minister and now Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman (Mb S), it provided the power to command the GCC to do his bidding. The doomed BBC Arabic Television was put together between the BBC and a Saudi giant called the Muwarid Group.But no sooner had the BBC started to air critical documentaries on the Saudis themselves – part of the remit of its impartial news service – than the Saudis shut them down.
Most recently, Qatar even opened new proxy relations with the pro-Assad Shia Hezbollah movement in Lebanon after it approved the sending of two senior officials of the Sunni Palestinian Hamas organisation – hitherto funded and supported by Qatar – to speak to Hezbollah.