Washington Post reveals how Qatar Foundation shaped their pieces by Khashoggi
A Washington Post article has revealed that Qatar had involved Jamal Khashoggi in supporting the country’s agenda, which explains why Doha’s media is working hard to politicize his death.
The details mentioned in the newspaper reveal the background to Qatar imposing its perspective while covering the incident. The report is based on 200 documents that reveal how Qatar directed ideas and contents contained in Khashoggi’s articles.
The newspaper admitted clearly that it was not aware of the suspicious relationship between its writer Jamal Khashoggi and Qatar, as the documents show how Jamal Khashoggi’s articles were influenced and even commissioned by Qatar Foundation International.
The American newspaper asserted that, Maggie Mitchell Salem, a senior executive official of Qatar Foundation, was drafting and proposing Khashoggi’s articles.
The newspaper also asserted that text messages were found, between Khashoggi and Maggie Mitchell Salem. These messages revealed that Salem sometimes used to dictate to Khashoggi the articles he presented to Washington post.
According to the Washington Post, Salem, a former US diplomat who tried to defend her relationship with Khashoggi, said her help was based on her feeling that this aid was for a friend seeking success in the United States.
The report quoted the Executive Director of Qatar Foundation International as saying that Khashoggi’s limited capabilities in English had led to comments on his articles.
According to the media reports, Salem had proposed topics for Khashoggi’s articles, drafted articles and pushed him to take a tougher line against the Saudi government. According to the newspaper, the Qatari organization also provided Khashoggi with a translator, who relied on him in his articles.
The controversial Washington Post report indicates that some of Khashoggi's friends in the United States belong to or sympathize with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Khashoggi had relations with two actors at the Center for American-Islamic Relations, who did not hide their support for the so-called "Arab spring" uprising. He also had relations with senior officials in the Turkish government, whose relations were frigid with Saudi Arabia.
The Washington-based Qatar Foundation International (QFI), a branch of the larger Qatar Foundation organization operating within Qatari territory, could not deny the relationship it had with Khashoggi.
The Washington Post reports that the organization has explicitly admitted that it has a relationship with Jamal Khashoggi in recognition of its exploitation of a suspicious national agenda against Saudi Arabia.
In one of the WhatsApp messages exchanged between Khashoggi and Maggie Salem, the latter asked him to distort the image of Saudi Arabia by mentioning its relations with Washington and the file of Jerusalem and the right-wing parties.
However Khashoggi was somewhat apprehensive about putting these ideas in his article, asking her to write the article. She only replied that she would try to do so, and asked him to write a preliminary draft, says the report.
The relationship between Khashoggi and Maggie Salem was consolidated during his tenure at the Saudi Embassy in Washington in 2005, and following the outbreak of the Qatari crisis with its neighbors.
According to the report, they held several meetings in and outside Doha and Maggie helped Khashoggi obtain permanent residence status within the United States after he decided to move there.
Maggie arranged for him to attend a conference organized by the Brookings Institution, which is funded by Qatar, and facilitated his appearance on the British BBC channel in the presence of Qataris.
Another surprising part of the report reveals that Khashoggi, even when he was writing articles in The Washington Post criticizing Saudi Arabia and Saudi’s reformist approach, asked for $2 million in funding from Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Information to set up a research center.
Washington Post, in the report entitled “The Last Months of Jamal Khashoggi,” also stated that the late journalist was looking for a source to fund an information institution whose primary objective was to monitor the performance of Arab governments in terms of rights and freedoms.
To achieve this; he was looking for a main sponsor for this project.
The revelations raised alarm among Washington Post editors, and triggered a tussle within the newspaper. As they tried to distance themselves from the scandal, opinion-page officials maintained that they were not aware of these links or else they would not have allowed these pieces to be published.
Though the newspaper insisted that its opinion section is separate from the newsroom, the page officials said that they were unaware of his efforts to secure Saudi funding or a think tank, or his arrangements that explain how his views seemed closer to Qatar than his country’s positions, especially on the Gulf crisis.
The disclosure would prompt analysts to review the reasons for the large media campaign led by Qatar and Turkey’s outlets on Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi's death and whose campaign against Riyadh was far from being a defense of press freedom.
It is noteworthy that the new leaks not only expose Qatar’s influence on the articles written by Khashoggi but also show that Qatar didn’t fulfill the pledge it made to its neighboring countries promising not to antagonize them and not intervene in their internal affairs.