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Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi (/kəˈʃoʊɡʒi, kəˈʃɒɡʒi/; Arabic: جمال أحمد خاشقجي jamāl ʾaḥmad ḵāšuqjī, Hejazi pronunciation: ; 13 October 1958 – 2 October 2018) was a Saudi Arabian dissident, author, columnist for The Washington Post, and a general manager and editor-in-chief of Al-Arab News Channel who was assassinated at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 by agents of the Saudi government. He also served as editor for the Saudi Arabian newspaper Al Watan, turning it into a platform for Saudi Arabian progressives.
Khashoggi in 2018
(1958-10-13)13 October 1958
Medina, Saudi Arabia
|Died||2 October 2018(2018-10-02) (aged 59)|
|Cause of death||Assassination|
|Alma mater||Indiana State University|
|Occupation||Journalist, columnist, author|
|Spouse(s)||Rawia al-Tunisi (div.)|
|Partner(s)||Hatice Cengiz (fiancee, 2018)|
|Relatives||Muhammad Khashoggi (grandfather)|
Adnan Khashoggi (uncle)
Samira Khashoggi (aunt)
Soheir Khashoggi (aunt)
Nabila Khashoggi (cousin)
Emad Khashoggi (cousin)
Dodi Fayed (cousin)
Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi (/
Khashoggi fled Saudi Arabia in September 2017 and went into self-imposed exile. He said that the Saudi Arabian government had "banned him from Twitter", and he later wrote newspaper articles critical of the Saudi government. Khashoggi had been sharply critical of Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, and the country's king, Salman of Saudi Arabia. He also opposed the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen.
On 2 October 2018, Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents related to his planned marriage, but was never seen leaving. Amid news reports claiming that he had been killed and dismembered inside, an inspection of the consulate, by Saudi Arabian and Turkish officials, took place on 15 October. Initially the Saudi Arabian government denied the death, claiming Khashoggi had left the consulate alive, but on 20 October admitted that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate, claiming he had been strangled to death after a fight had broken out. This was later contradicted when, on 25 October, Saudi Arabia's attorney general stated that the murder was premeditated.
On 16 November 2018, The Washington Post and other news media reported that the CIA had concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered Khashoggi's assassination. On 20 November, this conclusion was disputed by U.S. President Donald Trump, who stated that the investigation had to continue. Two days later Trump again said that the investigation did not conclude that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing. On 4 December, senior senators from both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party publicly contradicted Trump's equivocation.
On 11 December 2018, Jamal Khashoggi was named Time Magazine's person of the year for his work in journalism along with other journalists who faced political persecution for their work. Time Magazine referred to Khashoggi as a "Guardian of the Truth".
Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi was born in Medina on 13 October 1958. His grandfather, Muhammad Khashoggi, who was of Turkish origin (né Muhammed Halit Kaşıkçı), married a Saudi Arabian woman and was personal physician to King Abdulaziz Al Saud, the founder of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Jamal Khashoggi was the nephew of the high-profile Saudi Arabian arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, known for his part in the Iran–Contra scandal, who was estimated to have had a net worth of US$4 billion in the early 1980s. Adnan Khashoggi had claimed that his own grandfather was of Jewish descent. Khashoggi was the first cousin of Dodi Fayed, who was dating Diana, Princess of Wales, when the two were killed in a car crash in Paris.
Khashoggi's four children were all educated in the U.S. and two of them are U.S. citizens. After his assassination all four were banned from leaving Saudi Arabia.
Jamal Khashoggi began his career as a regional manager for Tihama Bookstores from 1983 to 1984. Later he worked as a correspondent for the Saudi Gazette and as an assistant manager for Okaz from 1985 to 1987. He continued his career as a reporter for various daily and weekly Arab newspapers from 1987 to 1990, including Asharq Al-Awsat, Al Majalla and Al Muslimoon. Khashoggi became managing editor and acting editor-in-chief of Al Madina in 1991 and his tenure in that position lasted until 1999.
From 1991 to 1999, he was a foreign correspondent in such countries as Afghanistan, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan, and in the Middle East. It is also claimed that he served with both Saudi Arabian Intelligence Agency and possibly the United States in Afghanistan during this period. He then was appointed a deputy editor-in-chief of Arab News, and served in the post from 1999 to 2003.
Khashoggi wrote in a Post column on 3 April 2018 that Saudi Arabia "should return to its pre-1979 climate, when the government restricted hard-line Wahhabi traditions. Women today should have the same rights as men. And all citizens should have the right to speak their minds without fear of imprisonment." He also said that Saudis "must find a way where we can accommodate secularism and Islam, something like what they have in Turkey." In a posthumous (17 October 2018) article, "What the Arab world needs most is free expression", Khashoggi described the hopes of Arab world press freedom during the Arab Spring and his hope that an Arab world free press independent from national governments would develop so that "ordinary people in the Arab world would be able to address the structural problems their societies face."
In the Post, he criticized the Saudi Arabian-led blockade against Qatar, Saudi Arabia's dispute with Lebanon, Saudi Arabia's diplomatic dispute with Canada, and the Kingdom's crackdown on dissent and media. Khashoggi supported some of Crown Prince's reforms, like allowing women to drive, but he condemned Saudi Arabia's arrest of Loujain al-Hathloul, who was ranked third in the list of "Top 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2015", Eman al-Nafjan, Aziza al-Yousef, and several other women's rights advocates involved in the women to drive movement and the anti male-guardianship campaign.
Speaking to the BBC's Newshour, Khashoggi criticized Israel's settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territories, saying: "There was no international pressure on the Israelis and therefore the Israelis got away with building settlements, demolishing homes."
Appearing on Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV's programme Without Borders, Khashoggi stated that Saudi Arabia to confront Iran must re-embrace its proper religious identity as a Wahhabi Islamic revivalist state and build alliances with organisations rooted in political Islam such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and that it would be a "big mistake" if Saudi Arabia and Muslim Brotherhood cannot be friendly.
Khashoggi criticized the Saudi war on Yemen, writing "The longer this cruel war lasts in Yemen, the more permanent the damage will be. The people of Yemen will be busy fighting poverty, cholera and water scarcity and rebuilding their country. The crown prince [Mohammed bin Salman] must bring an end to the violence," and "Saudi Arabia's crown prince must restore dignity to his country – by ending Yemen's cruel war."
According to Khashoggi, Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri's forced resignation in a live television broadcast from Saudi Arabia on 4 November 2017 "could in part be due to the "Trump effect," particularly the U.S. president's strong bond with MBS. The two despise Iran and its proxy Hezbollah, a sentiment the Israelis share."
Khashoggi wrote in August 2018 that "Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known by his initials, MBS, is signaling that any open opposition to Saudi domestic policies, even ones as egregious as the punitive arrests of reform-seeking Saudi women, is intolerable." According to Khashoggi, "while MBS is right to free Saudi Arabia from ultra-conservative religious forces, he is wrong to advance a new radicalism that, while seemingly more liberal and appealing to the West, is just as intolerant of dissent." Khashoggi also wrote that "MBS's rash actions are deepening tensions and undermining the security of the Gulf states and the region as a whole."
Khashoggi criticized El–Sisi's regime in Egypt. According to Khashoggi, "Egypt has jailed 60,000 opposition members and is deserving of criticism as well." Khashoggi wrote that despite Barack Obama's "declared support for democracy and change in the Arab world in the wake of the Arab Spring, then-President Barack Obama did not take a strong position and reject the coup against President-elect Mohamed Morsi. The coup, as we know, led to the military's return to power in the largest Arab country — along with tyranny, repression, corruption and mismanagement." The military regime was installed in Egypt following the overthrow of Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi in a military coup on 3 July 2013.
Khashoggi was critical of Iran’s Shi'a sectarianism. He wrote in February 2016: "Iran looks at the region, particularly Syria, from a sectarian angle. The militias Tehran is relying on, some of which come from as far as Afghanistan, are sectarian. They raid Syrian villages with sectarian slogans, bringing to life conflicts from over a thousand years ago. With blood and sectarianism, Iran is redrawing the map of the region."
CNN described Khashoggi as a "journalist simply doing his job who evolved from an Islamist in his twenties to a more liberal position by the time he was in his forties," and that "by 2005, Khashoggi said he had also rejected the Islamist idea of creating an Islamic state and had turned against the religious establishment in Saudi Arabia. According to CNN he also had embraced the Enlightenment and American idea of the separation of church and state." According to Egypt Today, Khashoggi revealed "yes, I joined the Muslim Brotherhood organization when I was at university; and I was not alone. Some of the current ministers and deputies did but later every one of us developed their own political tendencies and views."[unreliable source?] Politically, Khashoggi was supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood as an exercise in democracy in the Muslim world. In one of his own blogs he argued for the Muslim Brotherhood, and wrote that: "there can be no political reform and democracy in any Arab country without accepting that political Islam is a part of it." The Irish Times journalist Lara Marlowe wrote that "If Christian democracy was possible in Europe, why could Arabs not be ruled by Muslim democracy, Jamal asked. That may explain his friendship with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan...Erdogan constituted the greatest hope of Muslim democracy, until he too turned into a despot."
According to The Washington Post, while "Khashoggi was once sympathetic to Islamist movements, he moved toward a more liberal, secular point of view, according to experts on the Middle East who have tracked his career."
Donald Trump Jr. promoted the idea that Khashoggi was a "jihadist". According to David Ignatius, Khashoggi was in his early 20s "a passionate member of the Muslim Brotherhood. The brotherhood was a secret underground fraternity that wanted to purge the Arab world of the corruption and autocratic rule it saw as a legacy of Western colonialism." According to The New York Times, Khashoggi "balanced what appears to have been a private affinity for democracy and political Islam with his long service to the royal [Saudi] family", and that "His attraction to political Islam helped him forge a personal bond with President Erdogan of Turkey". It also states that "Several of his friends say that early on Mr. Khashoggi also joined the Muslim Brotherhood", and that "Although he later stopped attending meetings of the Brotherhood, he remained conversant in its conservative, Islamist and often anti-Western rhetoric, which he could deploy or hide depending on whom he was seeking to befriend". The newspaper also writes that "By the time he reached his 50s, Mr. Khashoggi's relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood was ambiguous. Several Muslim Brothers said this week that they always felt he was with them. Many of his secular friends would not have believed it".
According to Anthony Cordesman, the national security analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Khashoggi's "ties to the Muslim Brotherhood do not seem to have involved any links to extremism." According to The Spectator, "Khashoggi and his fellow travellers believe in imposing Islamic rule by engaging in the democratic process", and that "In truth, Khashoggi never had much time for western-style pluralistic democracy", and that he "was a political Islamist until the end, recently praising the Muslim Brotherhood in the Washington Post", and that he "frequently sugarcoated his Islamist beliefs with constant references to freedom and democracy." According to others, Khashoggi was critical of Salafism, the ultra-conservative Sunni movement, though "not as a French liberal, but as a moderate Muslim reformist".
Khashoggi was acquainted with Osama bin Laden in the 1980s and 1990s in Afghanistan while bin Laden was championing his jihad against the Soviets. Khashoggi interviewed bin Laden several times, usually meeting bin Laden in Tora Bora, and once more in Sudan in 1995. According to The Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, "Khashoggi couldn't have traveled with the mujahideen that way without tacit support from Saudi intelligence, which was coordinating aid to the fighters as part of its cooperation with the CIA against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. ... Khashoggi criticized Prince Salman, then governor of Riyadh and head of the Saudi committee for support to the Afghan mujahideen, for unwisely funding Salafist extremist groups that were undermining the war."
Al Arabiya reported that Khashoggi once tried to persuade bin Laden to quit violence. Khashoggi said: "I was very much surprised [in 1997] to see Osama turning into radicalism the way he did." Khashoggi was the only non-royal Saudi Arabian who knew of the royals' intimate dealing with al-Qaeda in the lead-up to the 11 September terrorist attacks. He dissociated himself from bin Laden following the attacks.
Khashoggi wrote in response to the 11 September attacks: "The most pressing issue now is to ensure that our children can never be influenced by extremist ideas like those 15 Saudis who were misled into hijacking four planes that fine September day, piloting them, and us, straight into the jaws of hell."
The New York Times describes that after American commandos killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, Khashoggi mourned his old acquaintance and what he had become. He wrote on Twitter: "I collapsed crying a while ago, heartbroken for you Abu Abdullah", using bin Laden's nickname, and continued: "You were beautiful and brave in those beautiful days in Afghanistan, before you surrendered to hatred and passion."
Khashoggi briefly became the editor-in-chief of the Saudi Arabian daily Al Watan in 2003. After less than two months, he was dismissed in May 2003 by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Information because he had allowed a columnist to criticize the Islamic scholar Ibn Taymiyyah (1263–1328), who is considered the founding father of Wahhabism. This incident led to Khashoggi's reputation in the West as a liberal progressive.
After he was dismissed, Khashoggi went to London in voluntary exile. There he became an adviser to Prince Turki Al Faisal. He then served as a media aide to Al Faisal while the latter was Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States. In April 2007, Khashoggi began to work as editor-in-chief of Al Watan for a second time.
A column by poet Ibrahim al-Almaee challenging the basic Salafi premises was published in Al Watan in May 2010 and led to Khashoggi's second departure, on 17 May 2010. Al Watan announced that Khashoggi resigned as editor-in-chief "to focus on his personal projects". However, it is thought that he was forced out due to official displeasure with articles critical of the Kingdom's harsh Islamic rules. After his second resignation, Khashoggi maintained ties with Saudi Arabian elites, including those in its intelligence apparatus. In 2015, he launched the satellite news channel Al-Arab, based in Bahrain outside Saudi Arabia, which does not allow independent news channels to operate within its borders. The news channel was backed by Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and partnered with U.S. financial news channel Bloomberg Television. However, it was on air for less than 11 hours before it was shut down by Bahrain. He was also a political commentator for Saudi Arabian and international channels, including MBC, BBC, Al Jazeera, and Dubai TV. Between June 2012 and September 2016, his opinion columns were regularly published by Al Arabiya.
Citing a report from Middle East Eye, The Independent said in December 2016 that Khashoggi had been banned by Saudi Arabian authorities from publishing or appearing on television "for criticising U.S. President-elect Donald Trump".
Khashoggi relocated to the United States in June 2017 and began writing for The Washington Post in September 2017.
The New York Times reported that Khashoggi was a victim of a cyberbullying campaign before he was killed. Saudi Arabia used an online army of Twitter trolls to harass Khashoggi and other critics of the Saudi regime.
According to The Spectator, "With almost two million Twitter followers, he was the most famous political pundit in the Arab world and a regular guest on the major TV news networks in Britain and the United States." In 2018, Khashoggi established a new political party called Democracy for the Arab World Now, posing a political threat to Crown Prince Mohammed.
In December 2018, The Washington Post revealed that Kashoggi's columns "at times" were "shaped" by an organization funded by Saudi Arabia’s regional nemesis, Qatar, including by proposing his topics, giving him drafts, goading him, and giving him research.
Khashoggi entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 in order to obtain documents related to his planned marriage. As no CCTV recorded him exiting the consulate, he was declared a missing person amid news reports claiming that he had been dismembered inside the consulate. An inspection of the consulate, by both Saudi Arabian and Turkish officials, took place on 15 October. Turkish officials found evidence of "tampering" during the inspection and evidence that supported the belief that Khashoggi had been killed. Initially, the Saudi Arabian government denied the death and claimed that Khashoggi had left the consulate alive but 18 days later said that he had died inside during a fistfight. This was contradicted on 25 October when Saudi Arabia's attorney general stated that the murder was premeditated. Eighteen Saudis were arrested, including the team of fifteen who had been sent to "confront him". There is concern that many Saudi critics have gone missing in suspicious ways. The U.S. president and several U.S. senators remain divided as to which, if any economic or other sanctions should be applied to Saudi Arabia.
The Middle East correspondent of The Independent, Patrick Cockburn, wrote that the killing of Jamal Khashoggi "is by no means the worst act carried out by Saudi Arabia since 2015, though it is much the best publicised. ... Saudi leaders imagined that, having got away with worse atrocities in Yemen, that any outcry over the death of a single man in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was something they could handle". Investigations, including communication intercepted by the U.S., has since suggested that Crown Prince Salman, had given direct orders to lure the journalist into the embassy, for what was intended to be an illegal extraordinary rendition of Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia.
Vanity Fair reported that "several House Republicans have mounted a whisper campaign to discredit Khashoggi—or at least, to knock his reputation down a few notches—based on his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and his role as an embedded journalist who covered Osama bin Laden. ... The campaign to discredit Khashoggi, which might have once been executed surreptitiously, is now front and center on Twitter and echoing on Fox News". According to American political analyst Bill Kristol, "Trump wants to take a soft line [on punishing Saudi Arabia], so Trump supporters are finding excuses for him to take it. One of those excuses is attacking the person who was murdered".
On 31 October, a statement released by Istanbul's chief prosecutor said that Khashoggi had been strangled as soon as he entered the consulate building, and that his body was dismembered and disposed of. This was the first such accusation by a Turkish figure of government. His body may have been dissolved in acid, according to Turkish officials and his last words were reported as “I can’t breathe” taken from an audio recording of Khashoggi's killing, which was subsequently released by the Turkish government. Officials believed this recording contained evidence that Khashoggi was assassinated on the orders of the Saudi Royal Family.
On 16 November, The Washington Post and other news media reported that the CIA had concluded Mohammed bin Salman had ordered Khashoggi's assassination. On 20 November, this conclusion was disputed by U.S. President Donald Trump, who issued a exclamation point-filled statement saying "it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn't!" and that "In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia." On 22 November, Trump again said that the CIA did not conclude that Bin Salman ordered the killing. Trump's statements were criticized by Congressional representatives from both parties, who promised to investigate the matter. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, who was briefed by the CIA on the agency assessment, accused President Trump of lying about the CIA findings. On 13 December, in opposition to the White House's position, the United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution that held Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally responsible for the death of Khashoggi. On the same day, the Senate voted 56-41 to pass legislation to end U.S. military aid for the Saudi Arabian–led intervention in Yemen, a vote attributable to senators' desires to punish Saudi Arabia for the Khashoggi murder and for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, including a famine and human rights violations. This was the first-ever invocation of the War Powers Act by the Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly blocked consideration of any War Powers Resolution restricting U.S. actions relating to Yemen for the duration of the year.
At the time of his death, Khashoggi was planning to marry Hatice Cengiz, a 36-year-old Ph.D. candidate at a university in Istanbul. The two had met in May 2018, during a conference in the city. Khashoggi, a Saudi national, visited the Saudi consulate on 2 October to get paperwork that would allow him to marry Cengiz. Khashoggi was married and divorced three times. His first marriage was to Rawia al-Tunisi, by whom he had two sons and two daughters.
There have been calls to rename the streets with the Saudi embassy to "Khashoggi Street" or equivalent. In London, Amnesty International put up a sign with that name outside the Saudi embassy, one month after Khashoggi disappeared into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
In Washington, D.C. a petition was started to rename the street outside the Saudi embassy as "Jamal Khashoggi Way". In late November 2018, local officials voted to rename the street in honor of Jamal Khashoggi, it will next have to be approved by the city council.
In December 2018, Khashoggi was named as a Time Person of the Year for 2018.
Mr. Khashoggi, who wrote columns for The Washington Post, lived in the United States, and his 60th birthday was on Saturday [13 October].
his connections to an organization funded by Saudi Arabia’s regional nemesis, Qatar. Text messages between Khashoggi and an executive at Qatar Foundation International show that the executive, Maggie Mitchell Salem, at times shaped the columns he submitted to The Washington Post, proposing topics, drafting material and prodding him to take a harder line against the Saudi government. Khashoggi also appears to have relied on a researcher and translator affiliated with the organization
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