Saudi Arabia and Qatar fell out because they supported conflicting interests primarily in Egypt. Elsewhere too - Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Gaza (Hamas). But their coming together in any case was for limited tactical reasons: to stall the Arab Spring. The big asset the Qataris brought to the union, hurriedly put together, was the incomparable credibility of their TV channel, Al Jazeera.
Qatar launched Al Jazeera, initially only in Arabic. Later, superior retirees from the BBC like Sir David Frost were enlisted to launch its English service.
In February 1991, a year after the collapse of the Soviet Union, CNN inaugurated the era of global TV by covering Operation Desert Storm, bringing to the world's drawing rooms, on live TV, the defeat of an Arab country. The BBC World Service TV was launched in April of that year.
If a nation is at war, its media will automatically become part of the war effort. Since, the US and its allies have been in a state of conflict almost continuously since Operation Desert Storm, BBC and CNN have had to pay a price for their unbroken spell of patriotism. Their credibility has plummeted, particularly in Muslim countries.
Image: The logo for the cable news network Al Jazeera America appears outside the network's studio space at the Newseum in Washington, DC, August 16, 2013. (AFP)