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‘Our beloved’ Fareed Zakaria

Not to attack the man, but many of his articles and interviews in recent years have been based on his anger at Saudi Arabia

Mashari Althaydi

Published: Updated:

American populist journalist Fareed Zakaria vents his anger at Saudi Arabia whenever there’s a chance. It’s baffling when it comes to interpreting this, especially as Zakaria is of Indian Muslim origin.

Not to attack the man, but many of his articles and interviews in recent years have been based on his anger at Saudi Arabia.

But in contrast, Zakaria is lenient and understanding when writing about Khomeini’s Iran or the Muslim Brotherhood. Is he expressing an implied political stance against Saudi Arabia and Operation Decisive Storm, particularly as he is presented as one of the liberal media figures in support of Barack Obama?

Zakaria’s recent op-ed in the Washington Post has prompted me to write this column. In his piece, which comments on the analytical view that Saudi Arabia may seek to attain nuclear weapons if Iran does, there is no official Saudi stance on the matter – Zakaria insulted Saudi Arabia. He believes the kingdom ignorant and incapable, stating: “Saudi Arabia can dig holes in the ground and pump out oil but little else.”

Commenting on the Saudi-led “Operation Decisive Storm” campaign against the Iranian offensive in Yemen, Zakaria wrote: “This assertiveness has been portrayed as strategic. In fact, it is a panicked and emotional response to Iran.”

Yes, Zakaria is right, that's what worries Saudi Arabia – so why is he angry?

Not to attack the man, but many of his articles and interviews in recent years have been based on his anger at Saudi Arabia

Mshari al-Thaydi

Last March, the White House’s official Twitter account retweeted an article written by Zakaria that was against the Saudi point of view on Iran’s nuclear program. The article was in support of Iran and it addressed Obama’s generous policy towards the Islamic Republic.

During the Muslim Brotherhood’s reign in Egypt, U.S.-based journalist Hussain Abdulhussain commented on Zakaria’s stances and wrote in the magazine al-Majalla that “Zakaria pretends to know more than he actually does, particularly in Middle Eastern affairs.”

Abdulhussain noted Zakaria’s boldness as he commented on Middle Eastern affairs recalling that during an interview with Jon Stewart, Zakaria confidently said that then-Egyptian president Mohammad Mursi will not assign a premier from among the Brotherhood and that he will probably assign American-Egyptian economist Mohammad al-Erian. Zakaria was so confident, he even said that those stating otherwise are in fact the Brotherhood’s enemies. The next day, however, Mursi assigned leading Brotherhood figure Hisham Qandil as prime minister.

It was expected that Zakaria would disappear from the media scene for a while after Western media outlets obliged him in August 2012 to issue a public apology for plagiarizing an article. Or it was least it was expected that he’d cut down a little on his bright confidence as he speaks about the Arab and Muslim world’s affairs, but God has his way!

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on June 14, 2015.

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Saudi journalist Mshari Al Thaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Al Thaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.