UAE daily slams Qatar fighter jet intercept of Emirates passenger flights

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Doha denies that its military aircraft intercepted two Emirates passenger jets (AFP)
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Bahrain flight tracker that appears to show the moment Qatari fighter jets intercepted an Emirates airline on Monday
Updated 17 January 2018
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UAE daily slams Qatar fighter jet intercept of Emirates passenger flights

DUBAI: The interception of two Emirates airliners not only endangered the lives of hundreds of people, but also represented a “very serious escalation” by the Qatari government – UAE daily Gulf News has said in a hard-hitting editorial that accuses Doha of "crossing a red line."
The newspaper was responding to two incidents on Monday where Emirates airline passenger jets traveling to Bahrain were intercepted by Qatar fighter planes.
The article said Qatar’s “wilful and deliberate” use of its fighter jets on civilian aircraft in international airspace showed the country to be an “active participant in terrorizing those on board the two civilian flights,” adding: “Clearly, Qatar has no interest in resolving this dispute, has no regard for the safety of air passengers, and has upped the ante in the most dangerous and deliberate fashion. That has been duly noted by all.”
Doha has denied that the incidents happened, but on Tuesday Bahrain’s Civil Aviation Authority released video footage of the tracking of one of the incidents.
Questioning Doha’s denial, the editorial said the incidents were witnessed both by passengers and crew onboard the flights – as well as air traffic controllers at Manama airport who saw the interceptions “unfold on their radar screens.”
“This incident represents a very serious escalation by the Qatari government, and that it is now willing to endanger the lives of some 400 persons on two civilian aircraft speaks to its recklessness,” the editorial stated.
The article went on to explain that the flights were using a popular “air corridor into Bahrain” that was used regularly each day.
“It is an incident that jeopardized the safety of the planes and passengers, and it is a blatant and unacceptable action that has been reported to authorities at the highest level responsible for civilian aircraft movement and safety,” the comment piece added.
The incidents were just the latest in the ongoing standoff that started in June 2017 when the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Egypt broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar amid claims that the small gas-rich nation supported extremists – it is an allegation Doha denies. The four nations later agreed to ban Qatar from using their airspace.


What We Are Reading Today: Debating War and Peace by Jonathan Mermin

Updated 15 October 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Debating War and Peace by Jonathan Mermin

  • Mermin shows that if there is no debate over US policy in Washington, there is no debate in the news
  • The author constructs a new framework for thinking about press-government relations

The First Amendment ideal of an independent press allows American journalists to present critical perspectives on government policies and actions; but are the media independent of government in practice? Here Jonathan Mermin demonstrates that when it comes to military intervention, journalists over the past two decades have let the government itself set the terms and boundaries of foreign policy debate in the news.

Analyzing newspaper and television reporting of US intervention in Grenada and Panama, the bombing of Libya, the Gulf War, and US actions in Somalia and Haiti, he shows that if there is no debate over US policy in Washington, there is no debate in the news. 

Journalists often criticize the execution of US policy, but fail to offer critical analysis of the policy itself if actors inside the government have not challenged it. Mermin ultimately offers concrete evidence of outside-Washington perspectives that could have been reported in specific cases, and explains how the press could increase its independence of Washington in reporting foreign policy news. 

The author constructs a new framework for thinking about press-government relations, based on the observation that bipartisan support for US intervention is often best interpreted as a political phenomenon, not as evidence of the wisdom of US policy. Journalists should remember that domestic political factors often influence foreign policy debate. The media, Mermin argues, should not see a Washington consensus as justification for downplaying critical perspectives.