Who or what drives this media feeding frenzy?

Published: 15 October 2018
Who or what drives this media feeding frenzy?
@ GettyImages

The disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal #Khashoggi is still under investigation but the international media acted as prosecutor, judge and jury from day one pointing fingers at the Kingdom of #Saudi_Arabia. So-called analysts and opinion writers clamour to voice libellous allegations under the guise of incontrovertible ‘facts’ disseminated by pro-government Turkish newspapers.

Some of their stories are so bizarre they could have been lifted straight out of a Hollywood spy thriller. In 2016, the editor of a major Turkish daily Yeni Safak accused the #United_States of being behind the coup attempt and wrote that the US planned to kill President Recep Tayyip #Erdogan. Few took that seriously, so it is odd that lurid newspaper reports on the disappeared man’s fate are being taken as gospel.

The truth has yet to be determined so I am left wondering why news outlets, government officials, US lawmakers and major international companies have been competing in their rush to judgment. I am shocked that the US #Congress is leaning on President Donald #Trump to punish #America’s closest #Middle_East ally with sanctions.

The President is reluctant purely on financial grounds fearing the Kingdom will switch its multibillion-dollar investments and weapons purchases to #Russia or #China. Even so, I am not impressed by his negative insinuations and threats.

Why is the US so invested in the disappearance of a single Saudi citizen on non-American soil when the Turkish media has been purged of dissident journalists and editors with no such ballyhoo? Hundreds have been imprisoned and at least two Turkish former commandos who fled to #Greece, dubbed by the Turkish government as Public Enemies, went missing in August presumed kidnapped by #Turkey.

There was little global outcry when #Abdul_Ghani_Bedawi, the second secretary at the Saudi Embassy in #Ankara was assassinated in 1988 or when the US Embassy in the capital was attacked by a Turkish suicide bomber in 2013. Does anyone even remember the assassination of #Russia’s Ambassador to #Turkey Andrey Karlov by a lone Turkish gunman in 2016? And unless we forget, former #Interpol Chief #Meng_Hongwei was believed dead until #China finally admitted he was under arrest on corruption charges.

Over the decades, there have been numerous accounts of people faking their deaths or turning up years later after being pronounced missing feared dead. Earlier this year, #Ukraine’s authorities confessed they had staged the killing of #Arkady_Babchenko a Russian journalist who was a known critic of the Kremlin. His reappearance left media commentators who had concluded beyond doubt that he was murdered on orders from #Putin with egg on their faces. #Ukraine’s orchestration of fake news was forgiven.

It is shameful that the name of the Saudi Crown Prince #Mohammed_bin_Salman has been unfairly sullied when he is making courageous economic and social changes to better the lives of Saudi youth and women. More power to him. Sadly, his hopes for a successful investment summit scheduled for 23 October have been dashed. The President of the #World_Bank #Jim_Yong_Kim says he is no longer attending. #CNN, #CNBC, the #Financial_Times and #Bloomberg have withdrawn as media sponsors.

I am equally disturbed at the backlash from respected business leaders, among them #Virgin’s #Richard_Branson and the CEO of #Uber Dara Khosrowshahi, who have spurned a lucrative business environment by suspending ties with #Riyadh on a mishmash of calculated leaks designed to paint the Saudi government in a poor light.

Saudis #GCC allies as well as #Egypt and #Jordan must stand shoulder to shoulder with #Riyadh to show those companies they are not welcome to operate within our borders. They must be boycotted. Together we must prove we will not be bullied else mark my words once they have finished kicking the Kingdom, we will be next in line. Now is the time to prove our loyalty and transparency towards each other.

Where is Jamal #Khashoggi? That is the question of the hour on every news channel? It is my sincere hope that he is found alive and well but until the joint Turkish-Saudi investigation provides solid answers, no one should jump to conclusions.

Overnight #Khashoggi’s face has become the most recognizable on the planet. He has been portrayed as a heroic human rights activist, a champion of democracy and truth seeker by the mainstream media; he is an all-round good-hearted fellow say his colleagues in the profession.

Conveniently forgotten is his membership of the #Muslim_Brotherhood which he joined in the 1970s for which even the Washington Post admits was once his passion. Overlooked is his championship of terrorist groups in #Syria, the movements to consolidate political Islam and his friendship with #Osama_bin_Laden.

A Jordanian former colleague of Mr Kashogghi and close friend Salameh Nattar revealed that various authorities suspected he had links to extremist groups including #Al-Qaeda. In his book The Looming Tower, Lawrence Wright quotes #Khashoggi discussing the Brotherhood thus: “We were hoping to establish an Islamic state anywhere. We believed that the first would lead to another, and that would have a domino effect which could reverse the history of mankind.” One of his recent columns published in the Washington Post is headed “The US is wrong about the Brotherhood…”

Furthermore, Kashogghi’s self-proclaimed Turkish fiancée #Hatice_Cengiz is not only a vehement critic of #Saudi_Arabia her social media accounts indicate her support for #Qatar, the #Muslim_Brotherhood and the group’s Turkish godfather Recip Tayyip #Erdogan. On her twitter feed is a photograph of Kashogghi smiling as he shakes hands with the Turkish President. Kashogghi’s family has denied all knowledge of her.

I would strongly urge President #Trump and others in his administration to wait before feting her in the #White_House. Her credibility stands at zero until her claims can be authenticated. However, she has been afforded column inches in the Washington Post in which she implores #Trump to “shed light” on the disappearance.

This peculiar incident, and particularly the backlash we have witnessed from the US and several of its Western allies, is laced with political intrigue. The door has been opened for the Kingdom’s known detractors to spread damaging half-truths and lies while ingratiating themselves with Washington.

What is the back story here? I am no conspiracy theorist but this sure has the appearance of a conspiracy to weaken #Saudi_Arabia and its Gulf allies in an attempt to force their arm. I suspect there is a long-held plan in place now being executed to ruin our economies in hopes we will bend to become vassal states. Who is influencing #Qatar against resuming its rightful role as a brotherly Gulf state for instance? Someone is using dirty tricks to push us down the ladder and the sooner we wake up to defend ourselves the better.

Yesterday Saudi basked in #America’s friendship. A single individual goes off the radar and #Riyadh is targeted with warnings and threats from #America’s political, financial and business sectors. If this is not gross overkill, then what is?

There is only one solution. We can no longer depend on Western handshakes that soon become slaps. We need to be responsible for our own defence entailing the creation of a strong and united front. The first step is for #Saudi_Arabia, the #United_Arab_Emirates, and the other #GCC countries, to establish an Executive Committee for Political and Economic Affairs tasked with furthering our interests abroad and monitoring not only our enemies but also some of our tricky friends.

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