3AM. Still awake. As cosmopolitan as this city and hotel is, there isn't much open this time of the morning.
The conference opens at 10AM with H.E. Sheikh Hamas Bin Jassim Al Thani, Primer Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs giving the welcoming speech. The Heir Apparent, H.E. Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani follows with the opening speech.
The first session is titled Insights on the World Political Scene, Transformations in the Middle East, moderated by David Foster of Al Jazeera. Panelists include H.E. Dr. Salih, the P.M. Iraqi-Kurdistan, H.E. Carl Bildt,the Foreign Minister of Sweeden, H.E. Luis Amado, the Foreign Minister of Portugal, H.E. Maurice Leroy, Minister of the City, France, and our own Rev. Jesse Jackson, civil rights activist from the United States.
Al Jazeera, means "The Penninsula" in Arabic and is based on the Qatari peninsula. Al jazeera (in English and Arabic) professes to be a staunchly independent news source for the Middle East, even if that means being critical of the local government. So, far the news I've watched bears this out. According to them, the dominant views on the death of Osama bin Laden is very supportive. Even Yemen, bin Laden's 'home country' stated that they hope that this is the "beginning to the end of the era of terrorism." Some interesting videos and perspectives on bin Laden's death can be found on their web site here.