Saudi journalist: The man behind the mask

By Lt. Col. James Zumwalt

Daniel Greenfield documents Jamal Khashoggi’s critical profile:

  • He became good friends in high school with Osama bin Laden.
  • He and bin Laden went on to join the Muslim Brotherhood – an organization committed to destroying the West, evidenced by its once-secret grand strategy declaring its: “work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers. …”; an organization which, in 2010, would openly declare war against the U.S., as bin Laden had done in 1998; an organization that promotes an ideology responsible for spawning most major Muslim terrorist groups.
  • He once reminisced about bin Laden, boastfully acknowledging, “We were hoping to establish an Islamic state anywhere. We believed that the first one would lead to another and that would have a domino effect which could reverse the history of mankind.”
  • The two men’s friendship continued after bin Laden relocated to Afghanistan in the 1980s.
  • His writings there supporting bin Laden qualified as jihadist propaganda.
  • He received details from bin Laden when the latter broke away from the Muslim Brotherhood, establishing an independent terrorist organization–al Qaeda.
  • He would go on to become a media adviser for former Saudi intel boss, Prince Turki bin Faisal, who, allegedly, had links to al Qaeda.
  • After 9/11, he wrote the Saudis would not “give in” to U.S. “demands” for “unconditional condemnation” and “total cooperation,” justified on the basis “Saudis tend to link the ugliness of what happened in New York and Washington with what has happened and continues to happen in Palestine. It is time that the United States comes to understand the effect of its foreign policy and the consequences of that policy.”

Because of his friendship with bin Laden and his support for bin Laden’s Islamic extremist ideology – perhaps even knowing about 9/11 beforehand – Khashoggi was killed on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, the apparent victim of a Saudi rendition attempt gone wrong. He was no moderate Muslim, nor was he a supporter of the U.S. and its values. For all intents and purposes, Khashoggi was a bin Laden ideological clone who preferred the pen to the sword in promoting a religion mandating Islam’s ultimate world domination.

While Khashoggi’s death may have been ordained by senior Saudi officials – an extrajudicial act which the U.S. cannot condone – it must also be recognized that the man was no innocent victim. The world he sought to create was one in which sharia ruled supreme and non-Muslims pay a price for rejecting conversion – either monetarily or with one’s life.

Reminiscent of an event in the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 in which the alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was gunned down by Jack Ruby, a similar fate may have befallen a key member of the Khashoggi rendition team. It has been reportedthat Saudi Royal Air Force Lt. Meshal Saad al-Bostani, 31, died in a “suspicious car accident” in the Saudi capital Riyadh. Had al-Bostani been fingered as a “rogue” actor in Khashoggi’s death? Official Saudi statements show that 18 people have been arrested in connection with the affair, and five others fired, including a senior intelligence officer and an advisor to the Crown Prince.

Just like the Kennedy assassination generated an extensive investigation, finalized in the “Warren Report” – named after Chief Justice Earl Warren, who chaired the investigation – we need to await Riyadh’s own Warren Report to see what the official Saudi position is before issuing any condemnations. There is a possibility of rogue agents being responsible and – now that we have discovered we have a list of our own “Deep State” rogue agents who may have acted independently – we must give Riyadh the opportunity to conclude its own investigation.

Regardless of the outcome of a Saudi investigation, we need to carefully consider the repercussions of sanctions against Riyadh or of other actions that may negatively impact the U.S./Saudi alliance and damage its essential role of maintaining stability in the Middle East by confronting threats from Iran. While the Khashoggi incident represents a human rights issue and a violation of international law, it cannot be allowed to outweigh U.S. interests in the region.

The U.S./Saudi alliance is appropriately described as “a linchpin of the Middle East’s strategic situation. Both countries are bearing down on Iran, and both are working together to ensure the safety and stability of the world’s oil markets. Occasionally, however, cracks have emerged in their relationship – including now, as Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman pursues his own objectives with a speed and brazenness that has unnerved key allies and investors.”

The champions of Islam’s two main sects – Iran for Shia Islam and Saudi Arabia for Sunni Islam – are currently competing for strategic dominance in the Middle East. While each sect seeks regional and global domination, and as Tehran aggressively pursues that end by establishing itself as the world’s principal state sponsor of terrorism, Riyadh has adopted a role of challenging Iran’s effort in places like Yemen, Syria and Iraq – either directly with military force, or with money. It is clear that Saudi Arabia’s “laissez-faire” approach to promoting Islam is much more aligned with U.S. interests in the region than Iran’s “slash and burn” strategy.

There have been several times in the course of world events when the U.S. allied itself with less-than-perfect partners to further U.S. interests. For example, in World War II, Stalinist Russia was an ally; during the Vietnam war, Philippines’ President Ferdinand Marcos was more dictator than elected president, but his country’s military bases were critical to our operations in the region; and, later, during the Cold War, we befriended China in a power play against the Soviet Union.

The role the Saudi government played in the death of Khashoggi awaits clarification, and we may not like the results. But, based on the grave threat that Iran poses not only in the Middle East but worldwide, it is critical we maintain a close U.S./Saudi alliance.

Looking behind the liberal dissident mask the media has affixed on Jamal Khashoggi will help us make wise decisions regarding that alliance.

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