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October 25, 2011 Clip No. 3180

California State University Political Scientist As'ad Abu Khalil Accuses Al-Jazeera TV of Bias and Conspiracies in Preferential Treatment of "American Propaganda Officials"

Following are excerpts from an interview with As'ad Abu Khalil, professor of political science at California State University, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on October 25, 2011.

TV host: Do you think that the beginning of the actual American withdrawal from Iraq might mean, in the eyes of some people, the beginning of the end of US influence in the Middle East, which has, in fact, already begun to diminish?

As'ad Abu Khalil: That is a good question, but before I answer it, it is my professional duty to respond to something mentioned in a one-on-one interview with a spokesperson of the American US earlier on this show. The Arab public should know that when American propaganda officials appear in the Saudi and Qatari media, they demand to be interviewed alone, so that there will be no room for questions and answers, because they are used to free propaganda in the Arab media. I must say...

TV host: Dr. As'ad, let me just respond, so that we don't get into conspiracy theories. There were no conditions. We only asked the State Department spokesman...

As'ad Abu Khalil: Why isn't he here with us?

TV host: This was our decision. The State Department doesn't decide...

As'ad Abu Khalil: That is even worse. You decided to give preference to the American guest, by letting him appear on the show by himself. That is Al-Jazeera's decision, and I'm not getting into it.

But I must respond to some of the comments he made in that interview. Your American guest made some insolent remarks. There is not a single Arab viewer who listens to American officials talking about the merits of the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia without remembering that it was the US administration itself that financed, supported and armed the dictatorial regimes in those countries. This is self-evident for the Tunisian and Egyptian peoples, and for the Arabs in general.

Secondly, he admitted that today, the Obama administration does not make a single foreign policy move which is not in keeping with those of the Bush administration. Obama said that he was fulfilling the promise made by George Bush with regard to the withdrawal from Iraq.

Third, it is imperative to make it clear that the statement – which appeared in the headlines of The New York Times and Washington Post – that the US forces would make a complete withdrawal from Iraq is not true. , As stated in the article in The New York Times, the US will keep 200 training experts in Iraq, as well as – pay attention to this number – 16,000 diplomats and contractors. Note how the US administration lumped together diplomats and thousands of contractors, or in other words, mercenaries of security companies, under the guise of contractors. This should be made clear.

Fourth, brother Muhammad, I noticed that you asked him about the massacre of the Syrian people which is a heinous matter, but you did not ask him about the massacre of the Bahraini people. It appears that the Qatari government agrees with the US government about quelling the unrest there.

Fifth...

TV host: Mr. As'ad, we'll make do with that. The fact that we brought you here and let you speak freely proves that there is no conspiracy...

As'ad Abu Khalil: The conspiracies are out in the open...

TV host: Let's move on. This show is not about conspiracies. We are discussing the winter of dictatorships in the Arab world...

As'ad Abu Khalil: So it's forbidden to talk about conspiracies all of a sudden? Is that the new policy of Al-Jazeera TV?

TV host: Let's not even go there. Let be clear with our viewers, please. Take your time, and talk to us as a university professor, and not as an expert on conspiracies...

As'ad Abu Khalil: Are you telling me what to say?

TV host: No, I'm not, but empty accusations...

As'ad Abu Khalil: Brother Muhammad, either I appear on Al-Jazeera and speak freely... If you want guests who abide by the rules of the Qatari government, look for someone else. You don't get to decide what I say.

TV host: I have given you enough time to...

As'ad Abu Khalil: If you want me to abide by the policies of the Qatari government, I will leave the studio. If I have complete freedom of speech, I will stay.

TV host: You have freedom of speech, but not at the expense of your colleagues.

As'ad Abu Khalil: You set no conditions for the American guest, and I refuse to have any conditions imposed on me.

TV host: We allowed him a limited amount of time.

As'ad Abu Khalil: You didn't call him names, so don't call me names.

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