Faisal al-Qassem-the Al Jazeera Arabic presenter who’s as iconic as he is controversial-has been catching a lot of flack on Twitter lately. Many Iraqi tweeters have been trolling and criticizing Qassem for what they view as his sectarian and biased coverage of the battle for Fallujah. And Qassem is fighting back.
On May 28th, Iraqi artist Ahmed Falah posted a caricature of Qassem presenting the news dressed in Daesh attire, in front of Daesh’s flag and supported by an all Daesh newsroom via his Tweeter account @AljaffalA. The tweet came with the hashtags “Fallujah is being liberated” and “Daesh media.” Falah’s tweet has been retweeted nearly 200 times to date.
#الفلوجة_تتحرر#اعلام_داعش pic.twitter.com/bVi0oKcYoo— Ahmed Falah (@AljaffalA) May 28, 2016
Falah’s caricature came after a poll posted by Qassem in which the vast majority of respondents claimed to support Daesh over the Popular Mobilization Units. The poll caused many a reaction on Twitter.
Qassem noticed Falah’s depiction of him, and an hour later tweeted it himself. “A picture of me as the leader of Daesh from the point of view of the Popular Mobilization Units,” he tweeted from his account @kasimf. It has been retweeted over 480 times to date, and tweeters replied in both defense of Qassem and the point-of-view espoused by cartoon.
Perhaps further fanning the flames, Qassem appeared to mock supporters of the Popular Mobilization Units later on. “Do you know that the Popular Mobilization Units have won 3758645362735462890764532 times in Fallujah up until now?” he tweeted on May 30th.
The Iraqi army and security forces-backed by largely Shia militias known as Popular Mobilization Units-began fighting Daesh (ISIS) in Fallujah proper yesterday, May 30th. Operations in the greater Fallujah area began over a week ago. Daesh captured the city in 2014.
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