Al-Jazeera held its 6th annual Al-Jazeera Forum from March 12-14 featuring which included, among others, leaders of the Global Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas as well as the Turkish Foreign Minister and US academics, journalists, and think-tank representatives. The forum website describes itself as follows:
The Al Jazeera Annual Forum was launched in 2004 to provide an opportunity to discuss and debate the critical dynamics of the Middle East as part of a globalized world. The impetus for the Forum grew out of the need for a journalism that can better capture how events and realities interact and play out on the ground in an eventful region. The successive editions of the Forum aimed to take an in-depth look at alternative visions for the Arab and Muslim worlds from the perspective of socio-political, cultural, and geopolitical change, as seen through the eyes of emerging movements, non-state actors, governments and civil societies, all contributing to and altering the power matrix of the region.Since the Middle East is in a state of near-constant flux, the Forum aims to bring together people from varying backgrounds and worldviews to discuss some of the more pressing issues facing the Arab and Muslim worlds, and to determine their implications both regionally and globally. The Al Jazeera Annual Forum boasts an international mix of journalists, analysts, academics, intellectuals, traditional and new media experts, activists and bloggers, as well as leading thinkers and strategists, all convening to explore and understand the changing face of the region and its place in the world.
The forum program identifies the following speakers of particular interest:
-The keynote address was given by Turkish foreign affairs minister Ahmet Davuto?lu. A recent report from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) documents the extensive role played by the Global Muslim Brotherhood and its Turkish allies in the June 2010 Gaza Flotilla incident.
-Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood leader Rachid Ghannouchi spoke in a session titled “Changing Faces of the Region”. An earlier post discussed comments by Mr. Ghannouchi in which he compared his views to those of Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
-CAIR leader Ahmed Rehab spoke in a session titled “American Foreign Policy and the Reshaped Arab World.” Documents released in the Holy Land Trial have revealed that the founders and current leaders of CAIR were part of the Palestine Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as identifying the organization itself as being part of the US. Brotherhood.
-Dr. Mark Lynch, a professor of political science at George Washington University, spoke in a session titled “Media As A Catalyst For Revolution.” Previous posts have discussed Dr. Lynch’s sympathetic position towards the Brotherhood, his trip(s) to Egypt to meet with Brotherhood leaders, and his use of political science methodology in reaching his conclusions about the Brotherhood’s commitment to democracy.
-Hamas leader Osama Hamdan, current residing in Lebanon, spoke in a session titled “Palestinian Strategy In The New Middle East” along with Rob Mally, the director of the International Crisis Group in the United States.
Also listed as a speaker was Steve Clemons, Director of American Strategy Program at New America Foundation in the United States. An earlier post discussed comments made by Al-Jazeera General Manager Waddah Khanfar in a 2009 talk at the New America Foundation where he criticized “the failures of the U.S. media.”