Unequal Media Wars, Proxy Wars in the Middle East……….

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The Saudi Wahhabi opposition (Mujtahidd and others who support ISIS) recently claimed that the new defense minister Mohammed Bin Salman, the crown prince to the crown prince, has ‘purchased’ a hundred thousand Twitter accounts, possibly other social media as well. That he plans to hire many security workers to man them and use them. It claims he plans to use them to build up himself in the media. That is not new, some of the top potentates, as well as the most vociferous fundamentalists now ‘own’ millions of followers. 

Anyway, right now the media wars for the West are being won by the Arab princes. Hands down. When it comes to media control and public opinion, billions of dollars make a big difference, especially in influencing Western opinion (but not so much non-Gulf Arab opinion). That is why the Saudi and Qatari potentates have spent billions acquiring existing major traditional Arab media outlets and establishing new ones. From Asharq Alawsat (owned by King Salman) to Al-Hayat (owned by prince Khaled Bin Sultan) to Alarabiya (Saudi royal in-law) to Al-Jazeera and Al-Quds Al-Arabi (Qatari royals) to Middle East Online (UAE) to Al-Arab (owned by Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal but searching for a home outside the Gulf after being ejected from Bahrain), to LBC, among others. And many others.

Now major Western outlets and news agencies often grab anything headlined by Saudi and Qatari networks and magnify them as ‘truths’. By the time they are bounced around the globe and return to where they started from, they ‘are’ quoted as ‘the truth’. A neat trick. It is like the claim that in Yemen, ‘loyalists’ to deposed president Hadi Al Zombie (actually mostly Southern Independence and AQAP) are fighting the Houthi-Saleh alliance on his behalf. Or the myth that Yemen’s war is a proxy war between saudi Arabia and Iran: except that it is the Saudis who are directly bombing Yemen (no proxies there) with Western munitions including cluster bombs. There are no proxies there now, unless the rented Sudanese and Senegalese and Egyptian troops land in Yemen. But then some clever reader might ask: and who are the Saudis acting as proxies for?

Initially the Houthis were not Iranian proxies or allies either: they had their own agenda. Colonel Saleh certainly is not: he was a close Saudi ally for years, even though he is a Zaidi, (or Shi’a) as Western media keep mentioning. But now the Houthis have moved closer to the Iranians for practical reasons, so they are Iranian-backed, but it is still farfetched to call them proxies or stooges.

Yet references to the legend of ‘proxy’ wars in Yemen and Syria continue in the media………

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter
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