In a striking display of just how much tyrants hate the truth, (as if the US government's vendetta against Wikileaks were not sufficient proof of that point), the Egyptian government has shut down the Cairo office of Al Jazeera, arrested 6 of their reporters, and blocked transmission of the Al Jazeera signal through NileSat, a satellite communications network controlled by the government.
Obviously, AJE is doing a good job. But I wish I understood a little more of the background. For instance, if one accepts the theory that all Arab rulers are tyrants, and one has eyes to see that the unrest in Tunisia has now spread to Egypt, with evidence of serious unrest in Jordan and Algeria, then obviously all Arab tyrants are in danger. So why is the Emir of Qatar doing nothing to call off Al Jazeera, which has been arguably fueling the flames simply by reporting events so openly and comprehensively? Is the Al Jazeera network really as independent of political control as they claim to be? Given all that I know, (admittedly not a great deal), of Gulf politics, this would seem highly unlikely. And yet, there are only two other rational explanations.
First, it could be the case that events have simply moved forward too quickly for the Qatari political leadership to react. But this would be totally out of character. Qataris are known for being bold and decisive; perhaps not always prudent, but never given to dithering or hesitation. And this has been going on for a week now.
The other possible explanation is that the events in Egypt, Jordan, and elsewhere are moving in a direction that political leadership in Qatar finds to be agreeable. As odd as it may seem at first glance, this explanation actually makes sense under closer examination. While much of the rest of the Arab world has moved progressively toward ever greater pandering to Israel, Qatar has remained steadfastly devoted to the cause of Palestinian liberation. Given the extent to which the Mubarak government has been a tool of Israel, a change in leadership along the Nile could very well work to the long-term benefit of the Palestinians.
Oh, and if you doubt that the Mubarak regime has been Israel's creature, take note that the Israeli government has called on the US and EU to stop criticizing Mubarak. Don't like that story at AJE? Try this one at Haaretz.
The fundamental fact of Middle East politics that is never mentioned in the main-stream media is that opinion on the Arab street is very strongly against Israel, and very strongly in favor of the liberation of Palestine. The reason why the USA and Israel support repressive puppet dictatorships in so much of the Arab world is precisely in order to contain this popular opinion. If the Arab people were allowed to govern themselves democratically, Israel would very quickly be under siege, at least in the politico-economic sense.