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News & Politics

Al Jazeera World

Updated 11 days ago

News & Politics
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A weekly showcase of one-hour documentary films from across the Al Jazeera Network.

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A weekly showcase of one-hour documentary films from across the Al Jazeera Network.

iTunes Ratings

38 Ratings
Average Ratings
25
6
1
4
2

iTunes Ratings

38 Ratings
Average Ratings
25
6
1
4
2
Cover image of Al Jazeera World

Al Jazeera World

Updated 11 days ago

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A weekly showcase of one-hour documentary films from across the Al Jazeera Network.

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Rank #1: Jared Kushner on Israel-Palestine deal: Time to try something new | Talk to Al Jazeera

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US President Donald Trump's "deal of the century" - his administration's proposal for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - kicked into gear in Manama, Bahrain this week as officials from the region gathered for the so-called 'Peace to Prosperity' workshop.

Already, sceptics are voicing concern, saying the American side is using money to bribe the Palestinians.

The initial economic stage of the deal hopes to drum up $50bn in investment, money that primarily is expected to come from other Arab nations, principally in the Gulf.

Participants of the Manama meeting will discuss projects and conditions for investments in more detail. Then, based on the outcome of this meeting, the next step would be to fashion a political settlement that would translate financial commitments into reality on the ground in Palestine.

However, Palestinians have derided the plan as an "economy first" approach that is doomed to fail. The Palestinian Authority is arguing for a reverse order: a political settlement first, money later - an approach that would tackle the difficult questions of establishing a Palestinians state, end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, and allow refugees to return.

Palestinian leaders boycotted the June 25 and 26 meeting, saying the gathering circumvents a political settlement based on a two-state solution, and is an ill-fated attempt by the US administration to "liquidate" the Palestinian cause.

However, the senior adviser to the US president and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner - who has been tasked with leading the process - told Al Jazeera the reaction was "fairly predictable". He said believed the event would be a success despite the boycott, citing the presence of delegates from regional countries and a large number of international investors.

"What [the Palestinian leadership] have been saying is a lot of hot rhetoric about rejecting everything before they even see it, which is, in my opinion, not a very responsible position."

When questioned why the proposal did not want to settle some of the political questions that could stave off conflict before it pours money into infrastructure, Kushner said: "that's been the traditional thinking, and that has not worked".

"The president is not a traditional politician. He wants to do things in a different way. If we can get people through this process to look at this problem differently, to see what the future could be, then I think that could be a very very successful thing."

Outlining the Trump administration's "different" approach, he said: "What we have tried to do is help people identify what a future could look like. And hopefully we get people to all agree ... and then we get people to look at, maybe, let's commit to the future in the event that there is a peace agreement. Perhaps that will create a different condition through which people can then approach some of these political issues that have been unresolvable for a very long time."

Kushner called the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative "a great effort" but said it is not possible to solve the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a deal along those lines.

"I think we all have to recognise that if there ever is a deal, it's not going to be along the lines of the Arab peace initiative. It will be somewhere between the Arab peace initiative and somewhere between the Israeli position," he said.

He also defended Trump's 2017 decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying: "Israel is a sovereign nation; a sovereign nation has the right to determine where their capital is and America has the right to recognise the decision". He said the relocation of the embassy should not affect final-status negotiations with the Palestinians.

Kushner said that on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides, there are voices who accuse the other of having no interest in peace. But he added that peace needs to come from compromise and negotiation.

"If we want to find a pathway forward, it means that both sides need to find a place where they both feel that they can gain more than they give, and move forward and have the opportunities to live better lives," he said.

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Jun 25 2019
24 mins
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Rank #2: Ilir Meta: Decision to cancel Albania polls 'cannot be contested' | Talk to Al Jazeera

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Albania was hoping to be asked to start European Union membership talks this month but that now seems unlikely to happen.

EU leaders want to see a country with stable democratic institutions, but in the past week, President Ilir Meta has cancelled local elections that were scheduled for the end of the month because the opposition Democratic Party refuses to take part in them.

Making matters worse, the ruling Socialist Party has questioned Meta's constitutional authority to change the date. There is no constitutional court to rule on the matter, because its judges' finances are being investigated and they are suspended.

So Albania presents a picture of anything but a stable democratic state, which is a precondition of EU membership.

Meta says it will harm the chances of joining the EU if left unchanged.

"If the crisis is going to last, the chances will be undermined for years, not for months. This is clear," he told Al Jazeera, saying that the country's ability to demonstrate that it can hold free and fair elections will be the determining factor.

"If we do not show normality and progress now related to the future of general local elections, it will be a disaster."

He defends his decision to cancel elections scheduled for June 30, and says it can help bring all parties to the table.

"I am sure I have done the best to avoid this fuller escalation of the conflict between the government and the opposition and to give to both sides the possibility to calm down, to reflect, and to enter soon in the local [elections] for the best interests of all Albanians."
Jun 16 2019
25 mins
Play

Rank #3: PM Edi Rama on elections: 'Albania is not ready to join the EU' | Talk to Al Jazeera

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Albania's overarching national goal is to join the European Union.

But Prime Minister Edi Rama does not think the country is ready for membership, partly because its political institutions are seen as underdeveloped.

That has been on display in the past week as political parties have disagreed on when to hold nationwide local elections.

They were scheduled for June 30, but the opposition Democratic Party now wants that date pushed back and has not fielded mayoral candidates.

The ruling Socialists of Edi Rama want to proceed regardless with the candidates they have registered.

The deadlock is part of a growing political crisis; in February, the opposition Democratic Party withdrew from parliament and supporters took to organising in the streets.

Weeks of anti-government protests have called for Rama to step down, accusing him of corruption and election fraud, and early elections.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Rama said that changing the election date would, in fact, undermine Albania's democracy. President Ilir Meta had cancelled the elections, stating that current conditions do not allow for a fair and inclusive process and would undermine accession talks with the EU.

"It's not what Albania deserves and it's not what the future is about. Because if we set a precedent that a party, two parties, three parties, one side, decide to impose the disruption and election terms can be decided upon disruption then we will have it for many years to come," Rama said.

"In the end, elections are not made for the politicians to decide, it's made for the people to decide about the politicians ... Escaping this judgement or transforming this very basic element of our democratic life, it means going in a direction which is not our future, it's a past."

Still, the deadlock has added to scepticism in the EU about whether Albania is ready to join it.

A 2019 European Commission report states that Albania has made important reforms but still must work to address issues such as corruption and organised crime. It says corruption is still "prevalent in many areas and remains an issue of concern".

Rama acknowledges the problem.

"I think Albania has a problem with organised crime and corruption as every country that is not yet a modern, functioning state. That's why we are in this process, that's why we are not members of EU, or that's why I am not pretending that it's an injustice that we are not members today. We need to prepare, we need to modernise, and fighting corruption and fighting organised crime is about very strong will, but it's about very strong institutions and very strong mechanisms and functioning in every direction," he said.

He says there is a lot of work to be done.

"If I turn my head five years and a half ago and I see from where we come, we have done impressively. But if I see forward, where we want to go and where I am to bring the country, there is much more to do."

He maintains that if accession talks are successful, both Albania and the EU will benefit.

"Albania and the western Balkans are surrounded by EU borders so we are somehow an organ of a body that is dragging out of the body, but is not simply fading away but it is there. So the choice is very simple; let this organ bleed and create troubles to the whole body ... or help this organ to integrate and help the body to get the organ in," he said.

"So it's not about enlargement, it's about completion, it's about a very important piece of the puzzle .... [It is] an area ... within the European Union that should not be left as an open space for other actors that may not be very keen to see the European Union progress and prosper."
Jun 16 2019
24 mins
Play

Rank #4: Libyan MP: Haftar, the 'axis of evil' and the battle for Libya | Talk to Al Jazeera

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Libya has been mired in conflict and violence since the country's 2011 civil war that toppled and later killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The oil-rich nation is now divided, with a UN-recognised but weak administration in the capital Tripoli overseeing the country's west and a rival government in the east aligned with the self-declared Libyan National Army led by renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar.

Libyan MP and former foreign minister Aly Abuzaakouk and Haftar lived in exile in the US "for many years together as acquaintances, as friends ... in Fairfax", and also knew Gaddafi during his school days. They'd both "suffered from the ruthless regime" of Gaddafi.

But after Hafter went back to Libya and "started to build his own entourage", Abuzaakouk "realised this is not a person I would continue to have a relationship with ... He is a man who believes he is worthy of controlling Libya and he always would speak about the need for a strong force to control Libya."

In April, Haftar launched a military offensive against the government in Tripoli and vowed to fight until Tripoli 'militias' were defeated.

But according to Abuzaakouk, Haftar's "base of support in the east is not as it used to be". In an interview with Al Jazeera, he said that opposition to Haftar has grown after the assault on Tripoli, with tribes now openly opposing him and "calling for reconciliation with the rest of the country".

"Many forces have come together ... to support Tripoli, and the militia in Tripoli also defended their city ... They stopped the forces of Haftar and now they are hitting them back," he added.

But while support for Haftar might be waning inside Libya, he still has strong backers outside the country, says Abuzaakouk.

"The former president of Tunisia spoke about the axis of evil. Abu Dhabi, the Saudis and the Egyptians ... This axis of evil has a mandate to work against the success of the Arab Spring," he said.

"I think the international community have to realise they have supported Haftar with weapons against the United Nations Security Council resolutions. Everybody knows ... that there are arms coming from … at least Abu Dhabi and Egypt to Mr Haftar."

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently appealed to all countries to enforce the arms embargo against Libya saying the issue is "of immediate importance in de-escalating the current situation" and "of critical importance to the protection of civilians and the restoration of security and stability in Libya and the region".

As Libya's ongoing crisis is still being deliberated in the international community, Abuzaakouk believes that the world at large failed the once wealthy African nation. "Getting rid of Gaddafi was step number one. Building Libya to really restructure itself was step number two and the world community at large left Libya alone and that, I think, was a great mistake."

"Life in Benghazi and in Derna is unbearable, it's worse than the days of Gaddafi. There's no freedom of speech, there's no freedom of law, there are a lot of killings, extrajudicial killings ... I'm very clear that the war crimes committed by Haftar or others should be investigated," said Abuzaakouk.

"There are now forces in Washington, in The Hague to really follow up on the war crimes that have been committed in Libya … the Libyans deserve to have some of the criminals be brought to justice.”

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Jun 16 2019
24 mins
Play

Rank #5: UN investigator David Kaye: Break up Facebook, Google | Talk to Al Jazeera

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Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, among others, are platforms enabling free expression of information and ideas, but they are also increasingly used to spread fake news and hate speech - making serious public policy discussions more difficult and thereby undermining democracies.

What is the state of freedom of speech around the world? Is democracy under threat from all the misinformation and manipulation? And how do you police the internet without censorship and restricting freedom of expression?

David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur for freedom of expression, is an independent expert who is tasked by the UN Human Rights Council to report and monitor on the freedom of expression globally - including on the internet and social media.

"The problem that we see all around the world today is that governments are increasingly interfering with all sorts of human rights, but in terms of my mandate, they are interfering increasingly with everyone's right to freedom of expression and this is unfortunately a global phenomenon," he told Al Jazeera.

Since 2014, when Kaye started his role, he has seen the state of freedom of expression going backwards. "We have seen increasing efforts by political leaders, by governments to restrict the kind of robust debate that we expect in democratic societies. We see an increasing concentration of media controlled by the state, it's been deeply problematic over the last couple of years."

While the US has traditionally played a role in advocating for freedom of expression, US President Donald Trump may be sending a different message.

"When you have a president who attacks the media on a regular basis, where he calls the media 'the enemy of the people' which I think he does for strategic purposes to sow doubt in the people's opinion about media and in the truthfulness of traditional reporting, I think that's deeply problematic," Kaye said, adding, "the rhetoric gives some comfort to authoritarians."

While Kaye says some societies - like North Korea - are "closed", others may have journalists targeted for their words. The brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2, 2018, inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, has led to a demand for accountability and transparency.

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also referred to as MBS, ordered the murder of Khashoggi - a conclusion the Saudi kingdom denies.

Kaye says there is a broader issue of inaction in the face of Khashoggi's murder.

"There's been no effort in the UN system by states to seek to censure Saudi Arabia, except in one instance led by Iceland actually in the Human Rights Council. Except for that, in an informal way, there's been very little censure of Saudi Arabia for its role in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi and I think that is frankly a travesty," he said.

"All of the threads lead back to the crown prince. He is responsible, I think that seems pretty clear. Whether it amounts to criminal culpability, I think is a question I would really like to see handled by the structures of the UN system."

The UN determined that the ability to use Facebook was one of the motivators for people to incite violence against the Rohingya in 2016 and 2017.

"Facebook really did not do anything in the face of that incitement of violence even though that was inconsistent with its own rules for participating in the service," Kaye said.

Facebook acknowledged it wasn't doing enough to prevent the incitement of violence against the Rohingya community and created additional rules to address the issue, but Kaye noted in many instances it is a real question whether companies are consistently enforcing these rules.

"The major problem here is that we don't know because they are not transparent about their implementations of their rules."

Kaye said government regulation to ensure transparency may be a solution but the other issue is policing the internet without censorship.

According to Kaye, the internet itself has changed and it is no longer a place where you can discover a whole world of information without any restrictions.

"It was very difficult for governments to impose restrictions. But that internet is gone," he said. "The internet in the last 15 years has made censorship easier, rather than allow us to reach what we had expected at some level, which might have been a naive expectation of a nirvana of free speech online."

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Jun 09 2019
24 mins
Play

Rank #6: The Gaza Gas Deal | Al Jazeera World

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Natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean is a highly-prized commodity.

In 1999, geological surveys revealed that there were natural gas fields off the coast of Gaza. But through a series of poor decisions, questionable leadership and regional geopolitics, the so-called Gaza Marine gas field has lain dormant for 20 years.

So why has Gaza's gas not been exploited for decades? And why has such a major story received relatively little media attention? While making this film, Al Jazeera obtained exclusive documents revealing correspondence between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and other bodies involved in the negotiations.

When mineral engineers first told Yasser Arafat about the potential gas resources off Gaza, he proclaimed it "a gift from God to the Palestinian people". The geological surveys suggested that this gas was good quality, of real value, and within easy reach of Gaza's coastline. It was seen by many as a way for Palestinians to achieve energy independence and perhaps a little sovereignty.

"If our gas and oil are produced properly, Palestine in general and Gaza, in particular, won't need international aid anymore," says Yousef al-Mansi, a former Palestinian minister.

But the PA seemed strangely hesitant right from the start.

Added to that, a non-competitive contract with British Gas in 1999 gave Palestinians a minor share of potential gas revenues. Later, Israel - an obvious market - blocked a deal with British Gas in 2003, while Egypt began selling gas to Israel, commandeering what would have been Gaza Marine's share of the market.

What's more, a veil of secrecy surrounds the deal-making.

"For 20 years, the PA continued to hide facts and refused to answer questions asked by several parties around the world," says economic analyst Rami Abdo.

No one at the PA would talk to Al Jazeera about the deal, while political divisions within the governing authority have weakened its ability to exploit a potentially life-changing resource.

"Look at the rest of the region," says Dania Akkad, a senior editor at Middle East Eye. "They’ve all discovered gas and they’re all now thinking they’re going to be the next wealthy rich-in-gas countries. Meanwhile, people in Gaza just sit with the gas out in the ocean."

"It's exactly as if you were somebody who didn’t have any food to eat and you had a feast put in front of you and you were told you were not able to eat this feast," she says.

As the blockade of Gaza continues, its people spend half their lives in darkness in a perpetual energy crisis, while the answer to many of their economic problems lies below the seabed a few kilometres away.

"The Palestinians in Gaza right now are energy dependent," Akkad says. "Meanwhile, off their coast, they have gas that could make them energy rich."

There are now at least eight gas fields which experts say international maritime law gives the Palestinians the right to exploit - if only they were allowed.

All this time, Israel's first gas field right next to Gaza Marine, called Leviathan, is due to come on stream later in 2019. The PA once contemplated buying Israeli gas from Leviathan. Although the deal was stopped, the irony of it sums up the PA’s two decades of failure to tap into Gaza Marine - while Israel's continued efforts ensure they may never succeed.

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More from Al Jazeera World on:

YouTube - http://aje.io/aljazeeraworldYT
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AlJazeeraWorld
Twitter - https://twitter.com/AlJazeera_World
Visit our website - http://www.aljazeera.com/aljazeeraworld
Subscribe to AJE on YouTube - http://aje.io/YTsubscribe

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- Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe
- Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish
- Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera
- Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/
Jun 05 2019
47 mins
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Rank #7: Afghan United: Hope through Football for Refugees in Iran | Al Jazeera World

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For a group of alienated young Afghan refugees in Iran, football proves a powerful force that gives them a much-needed boost in pride, identity and self-worth.

They call their team 'Wahdat' meaning 'unity' and assemble a talented and determined squad. They overcome all the odds to form a team, obtain sponsorship and enter one of the Iranian futsal, five-a-side competitions played in evenings after iftar during Ramadan.

They not only make it through the early rounds but go on to win the final and lift the Ramadan Cup.

But this is about more than football. It's about young men trying to rise above their circumstances and their daily struggle to survive - and succeeding.

Afghans have been seeking refuge in Iran since the 1970s but they and their families are largely unregistered. Although they can go to school, they cannot attend university, or work as civil servants or in most white-collar jobs. So they're limited to manual work, often in construction.

"I want a better job but I'm still grateful for this one. There are many people without jobs," says Reza Ghaljayi, a Wahdat player working as a building labourer.

"Companies don't hire us ... We work for one day, then nothing for four days," says street trader and Wahdat team supervisor Dastagir Barik Zehi.

Many young Afghans do not feel welcome in shopping malls or places of entertainment and claim widespread discrimination.

"You get attached to the place where you're born. I was born, studied, married and grew up here. But, unfortunately, I don't have a residence permit or an ID," says another footballer, Mojtaba Haji Hosseini.

For many, football is their only social outlet and can be their salvation.

"Only football motivates us to live. If there was no football, I don't know what we'd do or where we'd go," says Reza.

The Wahdat team is strong. One of them once played for Afghanistan Under-20s. But the last time they took part in a Ramadan tournament two years ago, there was violence on and off the pitch, blacklisting them in their hometown.

It takes all captain Nasir Zouri's organisational powers to get them into a competition in another town - and find a sponsor prepared to back them. That would normally just involve funding, but here it also means having enough influence to ensure the players' welfare and safety during the tournament.

Afghan United is a touching and rarely-told story about a disadvantaged community, but with a positive, life-affirming outcome - in the footballing sense, at least.

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More from Al Jazeera World on:

YouTube - http://aje.io/aljazeeraworldYT
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AlJazeeraWorld
Twitter - https://twitter.com/AlJazeera_World
Visit our website - http://www.aljazeera.com/aljazeeraworld
Subscribe to AJE on YouTube - http://aje.io/YTsubscribe

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- Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe
- Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish
- Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera
- Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/
May 29 2019
47 mins
Play

Rank #8: Stateless in Lebanon | Al Jazeera World

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In Lebanon, there are thousands of stateless people like the Abu Eid tribe. They cannot access free public services like education and healthcare, have no freedom of movement, cannot own property, marry or work legally because of their lack of legal status. They can’t vote or run for public office.

One of Lebanon’s many political challenges is overdue reform of its citizenship laws, to address the problems faced by its many vulnerable communities. Not doing so might cause more problems than it solves.
May 22 2019
45 mins
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Rank #9: Iyad el-Baghdadi: In the 'crosshairs' of Saudi government | Talk to Al Jazeera

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Just a few months after journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, another Arab dissident says his life is also in danger.

Iyad el-Baghdadi is a pro-democracy activist and strong critic of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The UK's Guardian newspaper reported that Norwegian officials took him from his home in Oslo to a secure location.

There, he was told the CIA had warned Norway's government the Saudis had him "in their crosshairs".

El-Baghdadi gained popularity during the Arab Spring when he posted pro-human rights messages on social media.

The Palestinian activist was granted asylum in Norway four years ago after being expelled from the United Arab Emirates for criticising Middle Eastern regimes.

In an exclusive interview, Iyad el-Baghdadi discusses an unlikely friendship with the murdered Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi and how continuing Khashoggi's work has made him a target of the Saudi government.
May 15 2019
25 mins
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Rank #10: Yemen's Kidney Brokers

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In 2014, a group of Yemeni men sold their kidneys in Egypt for $5,000 each.

But that was a tiny cut of the profit. The big bucks went to two unlikely members of the international organ trafficking network.

Take 15 mins to watch and find out more:

#AlJazeeraEnglish #Yemen #AJInvestigations
May 07 2019
15 mins
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