US instructions Al Jazeera affiliate AJ+ to register as international agent

The US Justice Division ordered the Qatar-based Al Jazeera affiliate AJ+, a digital information community, to register as a international agent on Tuesday, based on a report by The New York Occasions. The report got here as high-level officers from Doha visited the US with a view to strengthen Qatar-US diplomatic and financial relations.“Our partnership has grown past simply protection and economics into one in every of true friendship and group between our individuals and our two nations,” stated Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the onset of the bilateral discussions. “The Trump administration is raring to see this dispute resolved and to reopen Qatar’s air and land borders at the moment blocked by different Gulf States. I stay up for progress on this situation,” Pompeo stated in reference to ongoing Saudi Arabia-Qatar tensions. Al Jazeera information community, which has backing from the Qatari Royal Household, famous within the assertion to the the Occasions that the transfer was tied to the UAE-Israel normalization deal signed on Tuesday.“The UAE has confirmed it offered the US with preconditions previous to asserting the Abraham Accords, and we acquired DOJ’s letter the day earlier than the UAE signed the Accords,” stated Al Jazeera’s assertion.“Hobbling Al Jazeera was one of many prime circumstances of the UAE’s blockade towards Qatar and the Justice Division simply gave the UAE what it wished.”Nonetheless, Al Jazeera’s claims had been denied by the UAE’s ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba, who advised the the Occasions that “at no level in our discussions was Al Jazeera and even Qatar raised.”“They’re actually not as necessary as they suppose they’re,” he added. The UAE and Qatar have had a contentious relationship for the final three years, as the previous is a powerful ally of Saudi Arabia. In June 2017, Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-dominated Gulf allies, together with the UAE and Bahrain, along with Egypt, Jordan and quite a few Sunni states in North Africa, reduce off relations with Qatar and banned flights originating from the nation from coming into their airspace because of the nation’s alleged help for terrorism and Islamist militant organizations within the Center East, such because the Muslim Brotherhood and even ISIS. The Muslim Brotherhood, of which the Gaza-based Hamas terrorist group is an offshoot, has broadly challenged authorities authorities in Sunni Arab states all through the area, and has been banned as a terrorist group in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain and dissolved in Jordan. Turkey and Qatar are broadly thought-about to be their principal supporters within the Center East. Along with this issue, Saudi Arabia has additionally criticized Al Jazeera media protection of their nation, which occurs to be a competitor of Al Arabiya, the Saudi-owned information station based mostly within the UAE, together with Qatar’s continued relations with Iran. In keeping with a letter acquired by the the Occasions, the Justice Division stated that AJ+, which largely produces quick movies for social media web sites comparable to YouTube in a number of language, has been partaking in “political actions” for Qatar, prompting its order that the information community register as a international agent. Likewise, the letter claimed that Qatar offers funding for the community and appoints its board of administrators. “Journalism designed to affect American perceptions of a home coverage situation or a international nation’s actions or its management qualifies as ‘political actions’ below the statutory definition,” the letter famous, which included the signature of the chief of the Justice Division’s counterintelligence division Jay I. Bratt. Refuting the claims of politicization,  Al Jazeera Media Community, AJ+’s dad or mum group, stated that AJ+ is an unbiased group and mustn’t should register as a international agent. The assertion added that Al Jazeera was “contemplating” its “choices.”