In an article in the London-based Emirati daily Al-Arab titled "The Dimensions Of Hamas And The Media Exaggeration," Palestinian journalist Hamid Karman came out against Qatar's use of its Al-Jazeera channel to promote its agenda. This channel, he said, brainwashes the Arab public with inflated claims about Hamas' capabilities and popularity, such as the claim that Hamas' strength is comparable to that of the Israeli army.
Karman argued that Al-Jazeera is a soft power tool of the Qatari regime, which seeks to create a power vacuum in the Middle East which it can fill by means of its economic and political influence over the various regional branches of the Muslim Brotherhood – as it did in Egypt during the Arab Spring, for example.
He added that, despite Al-Jazeera's inflated claims about Hamas' power, support for it in Gaza is reportedly waning, now that the Gazans have realized the true scope of its power and understand that they have fallen victim to a reckless adventure carried out by this movement.
Hamid Karman (Al-Arab, London)
The following are translated excerpts from Karman's article:
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"The Arab media has never stopped cultivating models of exaggeration and deception in times of crisis and war. An example of this is Ahmad Sa'id, the most prominent presenter of the Sawt Al-Arab [radio] station, who was famous during the 1967 war [with Israel], one of the greatest Arab defeats of the 20th century. Another example is Saddam Hussein's information minister, Muhammad Sa'id Al-Sahhaf. He excelled at promoting a media strategy based on self-aggrandizement and on deluding the Arab peoples regarding [Iraq's] military capabilities [by spreading claims] about soldiers armed with strategies and plans that would defeat the enemy, weaken it and expose its shame and failure. When Baghdad, Iraq's capital, fell, our logic collapsed into the swamp of political gullibility that Muhammad Sa'id Al-Sahhaf had created with his terminology and words.
"Today, as Israel's devastating war against Gaza continues, some of the Arab media have resumed cultivating media models of exaggeration and deception that serve the agendas of various regimes in the Middle East.
"This [media] industry is well-known to media experts and political analysts. It creates models that excel at presenting detailed descriptions and terminology that play with the head of the Arab people, who, charged with a sense of historical defeat, believe what they are told as part of [a campaign to] brainwash the collective Arab mind. [Every] entity becomes a colossus, and [every] movement becomes a vast army. [But] the colossus vanishes and the vast army does not survive.
"[This] article sheds light on the coverage of a certain satellite channel supported by a small country in the Gulf [i.e., Qatar's Al-Jazeera channel], coverage that is based on the inflation and exaggeration of Hamas' capabilities by the channel's reporters and political and military analysts. This channel has turned the [Hamas] movement into an entity equal in power to the occupation, [i.e., to Israel], with its vast military capabilities and American support.
"This coverage has continued as part of [the channel's] modus operandi and numerous political connections – and then we were surprised when Gaza fell overnight to the occupation army, and by the fact that Hamas' limited and simple military means could not stop the columns of Israeli infantry and armored vehicles that established themselves in several parts of the northern Gaza Strip. At the same time, the stream of Gazans moving from the north [of the Strip] to the south increased, not out of fear but out of disgust with the war that was forced upon the Palestinian people of Gaza. These people have realized the truth: that they alone are the victims of the reckless adventure carried out by Hamas. [This movement] lacks any means to stand fast except speeches on the media and television, given by often-masked idols [i.e., Hamas operatives], or else by those who live in luxury and travel between Arab capitals [i.e., Hamas' leaders abroad]. They decry the Israeli crime, which is abetted by the West, with slogans and statements that are hollow, especially given that the so-called resistance axis, its chief [Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah], and its supreme leader [Iran's leader Ali Khamenei] – may Allah grant him a long life – shook [with fear] at the sight of the American and British navies that rushed to make a show of force and of ongoing control in the region.
"Let us turn back to the issue of [Al-Jazeera's] coverage, which has nothing to do with media trends and theories and more to do with the policy of a country [i.e., Qatar]. [This country] cultivates this channel and its programs as a tool of soft power in the service of its agendas, which are based on thwarting the Arabs' awareness and understanding. This conforms to the interest of this country, which is to create a power vacuum that it can then fill by means of its political and economic influence over the branches of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East. This is done by over-popularizing [these branches] in the media.
"The popularity of these groups does not match their capabilities, as was evident in Egypt during the rule of Muhammad Morsi and his gang, after that country [Qatar] and its channel [Al-Jazeera] peddled the Arab Spring revolutions and created a political vacuum by toppling the existing [Egyptian] regime. That country helped pave the Muslim Brotherhood's path to power, only to have it collapse, because its true dimensions did not enable it to govern the country and meet all the challenges it faced. [The Muslim Brotherhood] blew away like ashes before the wind of the Egyptian army and deep state.
"Today, the exact same kind of coverage is being used with Hamas, by that same country [Qatar] and its channel [Al-Jazeera], who excel at political and media inflation of that movement's weight, dimensions and power. This is done by means of descriptions and explanations that are far removed from the reality of the war and what is happening on the ground.
"The tragedy is not confined to [this] war, its sights and its victims. There is also the repeated destruction [of Gaza] and the challenges it entails, which Hamas will face without any ability to support [the populace], rehabilitate the Strip or manage its affairs.
"The Palestinian people has begun to renounce this movement, which has left it exposed to the Israeli killing machine, [especially] now that [the movement's true] dimensions and limited power have been revealed. Many testimonies have begun to surface that indicate a waning of Hamas' influence in the Strip. The people—whose support [the Hamas] leadership falsely touted—have started to hold it to account, declaring that it was not ready for war and will not be able to handle its consequences."
 Al-Arab (London), November 11, 2023.