In a new report by Security Studies Group as relayed by the Federalist, a damning revelation has come to light which suggests that slain Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi was actively acting in collusion with an executive from the Qatar Foundation — a group funded by Saudi Arabia’s “regional nemesis, Qatar” as the Washington Post puts it — to produce political propaganda.
In an article posted just before Christmas Day, on December 21, the Washington Post buried a bit of potentially damaging information in the midst of a lengthy article profiling Khashoggi.
“Perhaps most problematic for Khashoggi were 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, which promotes Arabic-language education in the United States.”
The article does go on to diminish Khashoggi’s contributions to the Washington Post, suggesting that he was a contributing writer of “modest influence while alive,” and one whose ties to Qatar and attempts to gain “Saudi funding for a think tank” went unnoticed by editors at the newspaper. Writers Souad Mekhennet and Greg Miller put some distance between the Washington Post and Khashoggi by adding the caveat that his contributions were part of the opinion division — delineating it from the news division — while simultaneously building sympathy for his tragic plight.
I tried to piece together the motivations for why US media and pols on the Left would enthusiastically take part in a Qatari info op against Saudis.— David Reaboi (@davereaboi) December 28, 2018
As is often the case, things that look like conspiracies are just people acting on common interests.https://t.co/gevPyoXeGX
As David Reaboi points out both for the Federalist and for Security Studies Group, Khashoggi was apparently subversively, and quietly, doing a great deal of political lobbying — and propaganda production — behind the scenes. With even the Washington Post admitting that Khashoggi was aware of the risks of acting in a provocative manner towards his home nation, in addition to cultivating relationships with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, there can be little doubt that Khashoggi had lived a life on a dangerous precipice.
It appears that, according to both the Washington Post and the Federalist, Jamal Khashoggi had spent many years trying to curry favor with all sides — and had tragically failed to convince at least one. David Reaboi elaborates on this line of thinking.
“The [Washington] Post says they were unaware of this [Khashoggi’s ties to Qatar and Turkey, and his political lobbying], although Khashoggi’s Qatar connections were well known. They will have to answer for what is either incompetence in connecting these dots or simply not caring as Khashoggi’s attacks on President Trump and the Saudis fit right in with their narrative. The Qatar Foundation denies they were paying him to produce the anti-Saudi material… But during Security Studies Group research for our report on the information operation after his death, we heard from reliable sources familiar with the investigation that documents showing wire transfers from Qatar were found in his apartment in Turkey… Khashoggi may have been operating in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act by doing this on behalf of Qatar.”
The revelation of Khashoggi’s interactions with the Qatar Foundation International make him look less like an independent journalist and more like an agent of another country that was, if not an enemy of Saudi Arabia, then certainly a rival.https://t.co/PUc0wSTNts— Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) December 27, 2018
While Jamal Khashoggi’s death will perhaps make a martyr of him, these recent revelations do add a note of caution to those who would valorize his work wholesale. As a Saudi Arabian national who held deeply controversial — and often conflicting — views in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood, Osama bin Laden’s mujahideen, and various other Middle Eastern state actors, his story is more complex than it appears on its face.
And, at least according to David Reaboi’s recent research, that story is a bit muddier than the simple good-versus-evil morality play put on offer when news first broke of the Washington Post writer’s torturous end.
Regardless of the reasons behind the death of Jamal Khashoggi, many across the world mourn his loss.