Qatar-backed website slammed over cartoon showing Trump 'summoning devil'

Updated 30 May 2017

Qatar-backed website slammed over cartoon showing Trump 'summoning devil'

LONDON: An incendiary cartoon published by a Qatar-backed news website that shows US President Donald Trump and two Arab leaders apparently summoning the devil has been widely criticized online.
The cartoon, by US-based illustrator Katie Miranda, shows Trump, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi around a crystal ball, in a scene inspired by a real-life photocall during the inauguration of an anti-terror center in Riyadh earlier this month.
But the cartoon, published on Wednesday, shows the devil and an “underworld” below the leaders gathered around the crystal ball, with the line “we have been summoned!” and demons rejoicing at death and “more dead kids!”
It was published by the London-based website Middle East Eye, which despite claiming to be independent and having “no political master,” is widely believed to be backed by Qatar.
Many social media users slammed the publication of the cartoon. One pointed out the irony of the criticism leveled against the three leaders, who had met to inaugurate the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology — nicknamed “Etidal,” or “moderation” — which aims to promote moderation and counter the spread of extremism.
Saudi Twitter user @Alshega criticized the cartoon for making fun of the Etidal center, which was launched earlier this month during Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia.
Another user, from the UAE and who tweets @uae_12G, slammed the cartoon for mocking Saudi Arabia and the Arab and Muslim countries that participated in the Riyadh Summit. And another, tweeting @SBAlketbi, said that Qatar continues to show disrespect through the Middle East Eye website, which is edited by David Hearst, a former foreign correspondent for The Guardian.
Some of the Middle East Eye’s output is perceived by some as being in line with Doha’s stance on certain issues. The Trump “devil” cartoon carried a disclaimer saying the views expressed “do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.”
A former executive with Qatar’s Al-Jazeera TV network was reportedly closely involved with setting up the Middle East Eye, which had employed staff with links to organizations sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, according to a press report from 2014. Al-Jazeera said at the time it had no links to the Middle East Eye.
The website was one of the several Qatar-backed media outlets to be blocked in Saudi Arabia and the UAE earlier this month, in an ongoing political spat with Doha over inflammatory comments attributed to the nation’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
Qatar News Agency (QNA) ran comments by the country’s leader said to have been made at a National Service graduation ceremony.
The emir reportedly endorsed Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah and criticized the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt for waging a campaign against Doha. Qatar later said its news agency had been hacked, although failed to provide concrete evidence of this.


Publicis Groupe veteran Kamal Dimachkie leaves as new successor is named

Updated 20 October 2020

Publicis Groupe veteran Kamal Dimachkie leaves as new successor is named

  • Dimachkie’s career spans three decades of leadership and accomplishment in international and regional markets
  • Shoueiry founded the agency’s Social Content Lab and played a key role in cultivating digital design thinking across the region

RIYADH: Publicis Groupe MEA today announced the departure of Kamal Dimachkie, chief operating officer, Publicis Communications, UAE and Lower Gulf. Dimachkie is a senior executive who joined Leo Burnett in February 1985. The company has appointed Samer Shoueiry to assume the role in conjunction with his current responsibilities as chief digital officer, Publicis Communications, Middle East from Dec. 1. Dimachkie’s decision to leave comes after 33 years with the company. He will leave his current position on Dec. 31 and continue to act in a consultative capacity until June 2021 in order to ensure a smooth transition.

Dimachkie’s career spans three decades of leadership and accomplishment in international and regional markets including the US, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE.

Raja Trad, executive chairman at Publicis Groupe MEA said: “I respect Kamal’s decision. He has been a friend and a colleague for over three decades, and not just I but the entire Publicis Groupe family will miss him. His tenure at the Groupe has been characterized by a clear commitment to values that are central to our philosophy. Kamal’s adept leadership propelled the agency to new heights — we won more than 250 accolades and added numerous international and local clients to our roster. I want to thank him for his immeasurable contribution to the Groupe and wish him all the best for his professional future.”

Dimachkie added: “Leo Burnett and Publicis Groupe have been my life for the past 33 years, and I am proud to have been a part of a glorious journey during which I have had the opportunity to serve the company in different roles in six countries, to have contributed to numerous clients and raised the bar internally and within the industry. Part of this has been the joy of working with a wonderful team and leadership, whom I have partnered with, learnt from and shall forever call my friends and brothers in arms. I am grateful to have lived the glory days of advertising with one of the best agencies in the world and to have worked with some of the most inspiring and creative people. I look forward to working with Samer on the upcoming transition and wish him success in his new role.”

Shoueiry, who will take on Dimachkie’s role, has over 21 years of experience across business, design and innovation. He has consistently delivered a robust performance in Publicis’ Experience Design and Experience Strategy, founded the agency’s Social Content Lab and played a key role in cultivating digital design thinking across the region.

Commenting on his appointment, Trad said: “Samer has a record of leadership and value creation, deep experience in generating groundbreaking brand experiences, as well as a focus on strategic design, innovation excellence and a strong technological footing. I look forward to continuing to work closely with him to drive our digital transformation in the region and support the spread of innovation through investments in our people, technology, platforms and tools. Together, we will ensure that we continue to move our business forward in the Connected Age through a data-led, digital-first approach.”

Shoueiry further added: “Kamal has built a strong foundation for future growth, including strengthening our team and expanding our scope of work. The current climate has accelerated digital transformation globally, and we are looking at a future where online and offline coexist to augment consumer experience in an interconnected brand universe. E-commerce is a necessity, digital equities are your flagship stores, search and social your new outdoor. With this new beginning, I will focus on further strengthening our creative strategy-to-results development to offer the best consumer-centric experiences and build brand value.”