Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi prominent journalist and Washington Post columnist, author and the former general manager and editor-in-chief of Al-Arab News Channel, who was disappeared on Tuesday 2, October, 2018 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The Reuters news agency reported that he is suspiciously dead when Istanbul police investigated that a group of 15 Saudis have assassinated the journalist. Other news agencies including Al-Jazeera and Russia Today also reported that he has been killed, his body cut into pieces and carried out of Saudi consulate.
The Saudi officials considered the incident as a rumour and denied any allegations in association with Khashoggi’s disappearance, while President Erdogan’s senior counselor stated that his country received evidence and reliable documents that the murder has been carried out by a group of Saudis.
Now, the question is why Saudis have to murder this prominent writer?
To answer the question, it’s better to refer back to Khashoggi’s professional background;
A 59 years old man, a Saudi national, a journalist and analyst of Arab world news agency, the former editor of the al-Watan newspaper. His critical writings of Saudi government were consistently published by Al-Hayat newspaper. In the time of King Abdullah, Khashoggi was close to the Saudi royal family and advised senior Saudi officials. When the power handed over to King Salman and his Son, and they started to shut down dozens of human rights activists and a Sunni scholar for their criticisms of bin Salman’s measures and reforms, Khashoggi made plan to leave Saudi Arabia to Washington to freely express his words. He tweeted in September 2017:
“I have left my home, my family and my job, and I am raising my voice. To do otherwise would betray those who languish in prison. I can speak when so many cannot.”
His true words and critical remarks to Al-Saud family were published by Der Spiegel and Washington Post. The dissident journalist once interviewed Osama bin Laden and likened Mohammed bin Salman to Vladimir Putin. When he was abroad, his harsh remarks about King Salman and his Son continued through TV interviews, writings and twitter posts in which he lambasted human rights situation and the austerity suffered by Saudi citizens. He unveiled reforms praised by the West while carrying out an apparent crackdown on dissent, which has seen human and women's rights activists, intellectuals and clerics arrested, and waging a war in Yemen that has triggered a humanitarian crisis.
Perhaps it was for this and other reasons — and working according to the dictum of keeping your enemies closer — that a few weeks ago, according to a friend of Khashoggi, bin Salman had made a traditional tribal offer of reconciliation — offering him a place as an adviser if he returned to the kingdom. Khashoggi had declined because of ‘moral and religious’ principles. And that may have been the fatal snub, not least because Khashoggi had earlier this year established a new political party in the US called Democracy for the Arab World Now, which would support Islamist gains in democratic elections throughout the region. Bin Salman’s nightmare of a Khashoggi-led Islamist political opposition was about to become a reality.
The Saudis, too, may have worried that Khashoggi had become a US asset. In Washington in 2005, a senior Pentagon official told me of a ridiculous plan they had to take ‘the Saudi out of Arabia’ (as was the rage post-9/11). It involved establishing a council of selected Saudi figures in Mecca to govern the country under US auspices after the US took control of the oil. He named three Saudis the Pentagon team were in regular contact with regarding the project. One of them was Khashoggi. A fantasy, certainly, but it shows how highly he was regarded by those imagining a different Saudi Arabia.
Khashoggi’s disappearance swept the world media and his murder went viral in most of world newspapers, the Turkish President in a speech said that Khashoggi’s fate matters for Turkey and promised to disclose evidence of what really happened to the journalist.
Jamal Khashoggi’s dissidence with Saudi Arabia was not solely limited to the above issues. He was also the rigorous defender of Palestinians and Quds people rights and also he had repeatedly criticized the hidden relation between Saudi officials and Israelis and his murder cannot be irrelevant to spy services.
At the moment the world media keeps eye to Turkish government to unveil the promised evidence and uncurtain the truth of how really Jamal Khashoggi was murdered.
Ms. Shannon Dorrit
ICPFJ is a strong advocate for the freedom of expression and works actively against biased journalism. The center is also committed to its mission against extremism and is part of the fight against oppressive or tyrannical regimes running the affairs of countries.
Please help further our cause by spreading the word about our work, mission and objectives.(ICPFJ)
INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR THE PROTECTION AND FREEDOM OF JOURNALISTS