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
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...
Khalil: Why isn't he here with us?
TV host: This
was our decision. The State Department doesn't decide...
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.
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...
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...
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
Khalil: Are you telling me what to say?
TV host: No,
I'm not, but empty accusations...
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...
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
TV host: You
have freedom of speech, but not at the expense of your colleagues.
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.
Khalil: You didn't call him names, so don't call me names.