Maybe its because my tv is is broken. Last week’s episode of Al-Jazeera’s Al-Itijah Al-Muakis featured a debate about the Afghan attempt to reconcile with the Taliban. Making another appearance on the show was John Wilkes, an Arabic speaking British diplomat. See a MediaShack report on his last extremely impressive appearance. Anyone studying Arabic should have a listen to see how good this guy is. …. Expect more later on the contents.
UPDATE: I just listened to the beginning. Not the best show. Part of the reason is because the Egyptian opponent doesn’t seem to have any special knowledge about Afghanistan, although he talks arrogantly as if he knows everything. According to the Egyptian, NATO is losing in Afghanistan, can’t control its land, so now is resorting to inciting fitna, and trickery… and this is supposedly what is behind the recent British announcements about the Taliban. He also claims there is a new Western conspiracy to occupy the gates/entrance to the Red Sea. That’s the kind of analysis I would expect from a Cairo cab-driver, not someone who is supposedly a serious political analyst. Maybe Faisal couldn’t find someone who knows Afghanistan beyond superficial sentiment to come on the show. This is one of the weakness of Al-Itijah Al-Muakis. The show needs ratings first and foremost so they need to find people who will say stuff that generates ratings. So occasionally it produces shows like this one.
One interesting note: Wilkes was repeatedly pressed to answer the question “do you recognize the Taliban?” He would only say “The Taliban is present.”
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