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Exploiting the Khashoggi card

Mashari Althaydi

Published: Updated:

What’s certain is that the case of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi whose fate is unknown to this day has become more of a political and a media blackmail “card” rather than a criminal case with a political scent.

It’s a card that several parties are tossing and squeezing, a piece of wood who everyone is hitting anyone they want with and their rivals! It’s a piece of wood which those swimming in several currents are paddling on!

It’s no longer about Jamal’s fate, what happened to him, who did what to him and who are “they” or about specifying pure legal responsibility. This is apart from the mysterious players in the story. This is no longer what’s important because what’s important has in fact happened in the media and political courts erected in the global Brotherhood and leftist media as they’ve taken their decision, issued their verdict, set the sanctions and adjourned the session!

Jamal bin Ahmad bin Hamza Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist who wrote and preached for a strategic relationship between the Saudi state and the Brotherhood and who nominated himself as an extraordinary envoy for this great task, was he expecting in the last turn of his career to become a card that international actors and groups will fully exploit and use to serve their aims?

The point is, Saudi Arabia as a state, vision and command is greatly and persistently targeted by manifold international groups and blocs. It happened that this Jamal incident occurred during an American electoral season amid a deep rift and hostility between the Republicans, President Trump’s party, and the Democrats, who are his bitter adversaries. Hostility towards Saudi Arabia - Trump’s ally - thus became part of targeting Trump himself!

Mashari Althaydi



In brief – and unfortunately – Jamal is neither the first nor the last journalist or political or activist that disappears or gets killed or goes missing in the world. There are dozens or rather hundreds. Recently, the head of the Interpol himself went missing in China! Imagine that! His fate remained unknown for few days and then China said do not ask about him as we’ve detained him, so you can replace him with someone else. Everyone, international parties as well as civilians, responded to that in such a strange flexibility and an alternative was appointed. No global hysterical frenzy happened, like in the case of Jamal.

The point is, Saudi Arabia as a state, vision and command is greatly and persistently targeted by manifold international groups and blocs. It happened that this Jamal incident occurred during an American electoral season amid a deep rift and hostility between the Republicans, President Trump’s party, and the Democrats, who are his bitter adversaries. Hostility towards Saudi Arabia - Trump’s ally - thus became part of targeting Trump himself!

Whatever the result and fate of the investigation are, and which its formation was commended by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from Riyadh, many lessons must be learnt from this crisis on the media, diplomatic and cultural levels.

To those blaming Saudi media in particular or blaming those allied with Saudi Arabia, we say calm down – I do acknowledge there are real problems, not just on the media level – as what happened recently is much more worse, malicious and complicated.

This article is also available in Arabic.

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Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi 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. Althaydi 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. He tweets under @MAlthaydy.

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