French academic says Qatari newspaper misrepresented his views on GCC

Dr. Stephane La Croix said his views on the GCC nations were "altered and misrepresented" in Qatari newspaper Al Sharq. (Supplied)
Updated 14 February 2018
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French academic says Qatari newspaper misrepresented his views on GCC

LONDON: A leading French academic said that a widely circulated Qatari newspaper article in which he appeared to be taking sides against Saudi Arabia and the UAE was inaccurate.
Speaking exclusively with Arab News, Dr Stephane La Croix, a specialist on Islam and the Gulf countries, confirmed the alteration and misrepresentation of his views.
“There were many mistakes. They (Al Sharq) acknowledged them and published a more accurate version, and I don’t want to make further comment,” he said.
Dr. La Croix said that the newspaper has agreed to correct the story and rectify what it has previously published.
The widely circulated article first appeared on Feb. 13 and originally contained some inaccurate comments about Saudi-UAE relations and the role both countries played in the region. The interview reappeared on Tuesday with a new headline and an apology.
The newspaper claimed that the mistakes were of a technical nature, and related to the misuse of terminology with the newspaper’s translation of Dr. La Croix’s interview.
In a published statement, Orient XXI criticized the unprofessionalism displayed by Al Sharq and decided to publish its own translation of the interview it conducted with Dr. La Croix, this can be read in full here https://orientxxi.info/magazine/article2280
Dr. La Croix teaches political science at Sciences Po, a leading university in Paris, and is the author of several books on the Middle East.
Qatar is in dispute with several Arab countries. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties last April and imposed a boycott because of Doha’s links with terrorism and its media’s incitement of extremism.
One such example happened last month when Qatar signed a security agreement with the NATO alliance.
Qatari media and its allies in the Middle East region exaggerated the deal but stopped short from claiming that Doha took a full role in the transatlantic alliance.


Syrian Kurdish-led council visits Damascus for new talks

Updated 45 min 30 sec ago
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Syrian Kurdish-led council visits Damascus for new talks

  • A delegation including members of the US-backed SDF held talks with Damascus earlier this month
  • The visits highlight efforts by the Kurdish-led authorities to open new channels to President Bashar Assad’s government

BEIRUT: The political wing of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has been to Damascus for a second round of talks with the state, the pro-government Al-Watan newspaper said on Tuesday.
A delegation including members of the US-backed SDF, which controls roughly a quarter of Syria, held talks with Damascus earlier this month, their first declared visit to the capital.
The visits highlight efforts by the Kurdish-led authorities to open new channels to President Bashar Assad’s government, as they seek to negotiate a political deal that keeps their autonomy within Syria.
The SDF is spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG militia, which has mostly avoided conflict with Assad and says its aim has been to secure Kurdish rights rather than topple the government.
This has set them apart from rebel factions fighting to topple Assad since 2011, which have now been defeated in much of the territory they once held.
The Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) went for new talks on local administation and decentralization, Al-Watan cited its co-chair Riad Darar as saying on Tuesday.
“All the discussions happening now are ... to find out the other side’s point of view,” he said. The talks “need a lot of reflection to make decisions, and so the matter was left to other meetings.”
Such negotiations could raise new questions for US policy in Syria, where the US military has deployed into SDF territory during the battle against Islamic State.
The SDF seized swathes of land with US help, though Washington opposes their aim of regional autonomy. The region they control spreads across much of northern and eastern Syria, rich in farmland, oil, and water.
Damascus says the US forces are occupiers. For the first time, Assad said in May that he was “opening doors” for talks with the SDF, but also threatened force and said the Americans would leave one way or another.