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Analysis is More Essential than the News - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Observe the Arabic-language media in all its forms and notice who the speakers are and those that justify their words, and others who analyze the news to ensure that the train runs on the tracks of their choice. Undoubtedly, we can be certain that they are Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah.

Hassan Nasrallah and Khaled Meshaal’s speeches, the statements issued by Walid al Muallim and Manouchehr Mottaki, and their followers are currently monopolizing media coverage. These parties, or figures, are not satisfied with broadcasting the news but analyzing it as well – and analyzing news is more imperative than publishing it.

No sooner is a news item published in any given source that skeptics emerge to doubt it, attempt to scrutinize or invalidate its content. It is not enough that the news is broadcast; to simply present the truth to the people – when the arrow is shot, although it lacks propaganda support, it still continues to gain momentum until it reaches its target.

In political conferences, the Iranian foreign minister [Manouchehr Mottaki] barely concludes his address before he meets with journalists to clarify statements, divulge information and give his analysis of current events. By the next day, you find that most media outlets publish news about Iran, not to mention the leaked information and articles written by the Iranian embassies.

The Syrians have also learnt the game; you find them or their supporters readily available to accept any phone call equipped with information and analysis to support their positions. They act once, through statements that are attributed to unidentified sources, and on other occasions through press conferences that do not advocate the truth, but rather justify their positions which entail errors.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah’s disciples clutch their mobile phones and wait for calls like stock brokers so that they may stir up uncertainty, re-analysis, accusations and mistrust – all whilst equipped with information and interpretations that serve the interests of the political party.

As for Hamas, Khaled Meshaal has secured a position for himself in the midst of the media furor to analyze, justify, distrust and demand, and he is followed by others who reiterate his words and ideas. The sum of words spoken by Khaled Meshaal and Hassan Nasrallah is the equivalent of the number of appearances and statements issued by most officials about Arab-related issues.

In the Palestinian case, what Khaled Meshaal is doing in relation to the media surpasses anything President Mahmoud Abbas does.

All this for the sake of victory in the battle of Arab public opinion in an attempt to win it over, which is why the irrational popular discourse is the most prevalent in our media. Whatever is said with regards to the impact of public opinion, there still remain some who grant it serious consideration. Therefore this means that there is confrontation, not silence and disregard, but rather disclosure and the analysis of information, which are the most important aspects.

Silence is wisdom, yes! But there are considerable consequences to silence, the most prominent among them is subverting the rational discourse and forcing the region to always remain in critical conflict so as to serve the agenda of Iran and Syria, and those who follow them.

There is no way we can accept the discourse of movements to prevail over that of nations, and the sentimental rhetoric to triumph over the rational one.

Therefore the question remains: Where are the moderate figures?

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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