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"Alarabiya":How did Qatar lose its most important weapons?

Sunday 17/December/2017 - 11:44 AM
Sada El Balad
By Abdulrahman al-Rashed:
The current dispute with Qatar is aimed at demilitarizing of its main weapons، namely media and intelligence. The dispute accelerated the idea of seeking to control the information society that was taken by terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and ISIS، apart from “hostile” governments، such as Iran and Qatar، whose supreme goals were to overthrow political regimes.

This is what actually happened. A spate of digital sites، television stations، anti-Qatar cyber armies and extremist Islamist allies have unleashed major changes in the conflict zone itself، which we can now see more clearly.

Saudi Arabia was one of the easiest countries in the world to influence from abroad because of the spread of mobile phones and satellite TV. A person has an average of two phones، where today there are 50 million active phones on the media. The situation was appropriate for those who planned to form public opinion، with little resistance.

The dangers of forming public opinion from outside parties are not specific to the four countries that are in an information war with Qatar، but it is the problem of every government in the whole world. The case has grown after US accusations against Russia of electronic interference in influencing voters in the presidential elections aimed at destabilizing society. If any foreign country has the power to shape public opinion in another country، it automatically means that it is theoretically capable of overthrowing its government or influencing its decisions; which in the past was sufficient to wage military wars.

In the Gulf crisis، the goal today is to restore the public opinion kidnapped from the adversaries: Qatar and ISIS، and the rest of the hostile powers that dominated the arena.
There are other important international developments. After the leaders of the “Information Society” discovered that the freedoms provided by the technology to the people also benefited terrorist groups and hostile governments، who later retreated and agreed to hand over their keys، has enabled regulatory institutions in local governments to identify the sources of information published on Twitter، Facebook and others. It became possible to identify the nature of the campaigns، whether it was spontaneous or deliberate، and to spot the armies of electronic cyber activity، their interactions، and those who agree with them politically. As such، many activists who worked for foreign countries were arrested which was not possible in the past.

Content monitoring
As for the monitoring of content and control، which remains a major hurdle، the most important development is how major corp0rates such as Facebook، YouTube and Twitter finally agreed to the demands of the US Congress to cooperate، as a result of serious allegations which I have thoroughly discussed before in another article.

Television، news agencies، and e-newspapers still play an important role after gradually shifting to being part of the social media، and are still the most important providers of content. The latest developments have put television services under control، shifting them into telephones، satellites and fiber optics in “disciplined” countries such as the UAE، where they have been able to restore the management of their communities to a large extent. These countries don’t just prevent access to services but offers similar alternative services so as not to restore to using proxies to access banned media، which is what’s happening in Iran today.

Therefore، much of what is available on the internet and social media is the production of electronic armies. The question is: Are they our armies or theirs? Who are the ones most capable of persuasion? The space was run by a few groups whose monolithic dominance had disappeared، led by Qatar and its ally، the Muslim Brotherhood.

The highest levels of war have been in the past six months، when both sides have been bombarded with false information and fake news. The result is a great loss for Qatar، which used to say that it was the reason why Tunisians and the Egyptians took to the street to protest and topple their regimes in 2011. This time the result is the opposite. The government of Qatar is the one that is harmed by its opponents، even by the opposing Qatari tribes in addition to witnessing Qataris express their position against their country for the first time.

In my opinion، the stage of cyberspace and the phenomenon of external invasion through it is about to end.

Edited by Rasha Mohamed

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