Jamal Khashoggi: The columns he wrote anonymously for Middle East Eye
Khashoggi’s death has finally been confirmed by Riyadh. In his memory — and as a tribute to his work — MEE is removing his anonymous byline
The Saudi journalist wrote for Middle East Eye but often could not use his name amid fear for his safety (AFP)
Monday 22 October 2018 11:08 UTC
Over the past two years, Saudi journalist and intellectual Jamal Khashoggi wrote several opinion pieces for Middle East Eye that were critical of the leadership in Riyadh.
Like many critics of Saudi Arabia he feared for his life and so, in keeping with MEE policy, we used the byline “MEE correspondent” on these articles. This is something we have had to do for many other writers and it is something we will sadly be forced to do in the future.
On 2 October, Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and vanished. For two weeks, Saudi officials maintained that he had left the building soon after his appointment. Meanwhile, Turkish officials — anonymously and without evidence — leaked what they said were details of Khashoggi’s killing inside the building.
Late on Friday, 17 days after Khashoggi disappeared, the authorities in Saudi Arabia finally said that its officials killed him. First, they alleged that this happened accidentally during a fight; then they admitted on Sunday that he had been murdered. Khashoggi’s body has yet to be found.
They join several earlier pieces he wrote for us in 2016 that were written in his name, before Saudi authorities banned him from writing and tweeting, an action which eventually pushed Khashoggi to live in self-imposed exile in Washington, DC.
‘How Saudi Arabia trapped itself in Yemen’
Published: 16 August 2017
A Yemeni fighter loyal to the Saudi-backed president stands in a region north of Taiz (AFP)
“Just as Riyadh changes its position now in Syria, and moves closer and closer to the Cairo and Moscow camp, which is ironically also Tehran’s camp, so Saudi Arabia’s position in Yemen can change.
“Only then might the inscrutable Saudi equation become solvable with the following modifications: allow the Houthis to win, eliminate Al-Islah and let Yemen’s stability and Saudi Arabia’s long-term security go to hell.”
‘Will the heavens smile on Saudi when it defeats Qatar?’
Published: 1 August 2017
Libyans protest in Tripoli’s Martyrs’ Square against French intervention in Libya in August 2016 (AFP)
“The Muslim Brotherhood does not need billions in order to survive. They are not an army but an idea, and ideas do not die out even if the people carrying them die or are imprisoned or exiled. I have said this sentence a thousand times before but some people do not listen.”
‘Saudi Arabia’s armed forces: This time it’s reform, not a power grab’
Published: 28 July 2017
Saudi interior ministry special forces parade in October 2012 in Mecca ahead of the hajj pilgrimage (AFP)
“[Mohammed] bin Salman’s restructuring is necessary and beneficial for the kingdom. The Yemen war revealed the three arms’ lack of a single control and command room. The national guard, for instance, has become an army in its own right and has the technical capabilities to carry out operations even outside the borders, and not only internal defensive operations.
“In addition, there is an even greater need to re-examine the justification for the existence of every armed unit and the role allotted to it. A lot of these units carry out repetitive actions that often overlap with the others.”
‘What does Saudi Arabia want from Lebanon?’
Published: 24 March, 2016
A ceremony marks the shipment of Saudi-funded French weapons to the Lebanese Army at Beirut International Airport in April 2015 (AFP)
“At the cafe of politics in the Arab street, two friends — one from Saudi Arabia and the other from Lebanon — decided to have a frank conversation about the tensions between their two countries, following Riyadh’s suspension of military aid to Beirut. Below is an example of how it could have gone:
“- Lebanese: ‘Do not abandon us to fall completely into the hands of Iran.’
“- Saudi: ‘Do not allow Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy in the Arab region, to carry out its aggression against Lebanon and the Arab world’.”
‘For the sake of peace, get out of Syria’
Published: 19 February 2016
Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at EU HQ in Brussels in February 2016 (AFP)
“Riyadh backs pluralism in Syria in accordance to what Syrians want. It doesn’t have a political project to export to Syria; whatever Syrians agree on is accepted by Riyadh. What matters is having a free and stable Syria.”
‘East Syria vs west Syria’
Published: 9 February 2016
A French base in the Gulf monitors operations against Islamic State in November (AFP)
“Saudi Arabia’s motive is to prevent Iranian hegemony in Syria — an objective which it will not back down on. It wishes to break the stalemate that has gripped Syria after five years of bloodshed.
“By sending troops, Riyadh would be countering the American allegations that it’s not doing enough to fight Daesh. It may also push the Americans to join the Saudis there, which might also encourage several reluctant countries such as Jordan and Egypt to take part.”