Jamal Khashoggi has been lionized by the left in recent days as a victim of President Donald Trump’s so-called ‘appeasement’ of authoritarian leaders. To the casual observer, unaware of his background, Khashoggi may well appear to be a moderate advocate of secularism and democracy. However, the truth is much darker than the liberal media is letting on.
Khashoggi was, first and foremost, not a moderate in any sense. He had been a member of the Muslim Brotherhood for decades, and remained active within the most questionable of Islamist circles.
“Democracy and political Islam go together,” Khashoggi proclaimed, linking the pro-democracy protests of the Arab Spring with a revival of the Brotherhood movement across the Arab states.
As well as Khashoggi’s own consistent sympathy for the rise of the Brotherhood in recent years, Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, is said to have actively promoted the Brotherhood on Twitter.
Khashoggi’s Islamist activism often led him to even more dubious acquaintances. In 2003, he mounted a spirit defense of his friend Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, one of the leading financial benefactors of the al-Qaeda network, claiming that Khalifa had nothing to do with al-Qaeda, despite the vast amount of proof suggesting otherwise. Though Donald Trump Jr. was derided by the mainstream media for drawing attention to Khashoggi’s al-Qaeda connections, the Washington Post columnist’s ties go to the very top of the notoriously brutal organization.
From the 1970s until 2001, the unscrupulous Khashoggi befriended yet another suspect individual – none other than infamous al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. During their association, bin Laden perpetrated the 1997 Luxor Massacre and the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and had plotted further attacks in Jordan and Yemen. Even in 2011, after the the horrors of 9/11 had been broadcast to the world, Khashoggi publicly expressed grief at the death of his old friend, bin Laden. Though he had ultimately cut ties with bin Laden after 9/11, his unusually close sympathies with the world’s most notorious terrorist should rightfully raise questions about his mindset.
Furthermore, for such a supposedly vocal champion of human rights, Khashoggi not once expressed any criticism of his host, Turkey. Since the turn of the decade, Turkey has increasingly veered towards a form of Islamist authoritarianism, imprisoning dozens of journalists and political opponents, undermining secular institutions, and backing jihadists in Libya and Egypt. Khashoggi appeared unconcerned, pursuing a close relationship with figures within Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice & Development Party. Khashoggi has similarly remained uncritical of the pro-Brotherhood Gulf state of Qatar, which has similar problems with corruption and autocratic rule as those Khashoggi vocally condemned in Saudi Arabia. Both the authoritarian governments of Qatar and Turkey have vocally promoted Khashoggi and his cause over the last few days, acknowledging his years of advocacy for their common goal.
And despite working for the Washington Post, Khashoggi was far from pro-American – advocating an end to the decades of cordial relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia in favor of forming an axis of Sunni Islamic countries to oppose Trump.
“The kingdom needs to create an alliance of Sunni countries to serve as a bulwark against a potentially anti-Sunni Trump,” Khashoggi claimed at a policy forum at the Washington Institute.
Indeed, in November 2016, the Saudi government chose to ban Khashoggi from newspapers, TV and political conferences in the Kingdom due to the extent of his anti-Trump and anti-American rhetoric, at odds with the country’s desire to improve its ties with the United States.
Khashoggi especially detested the prospect of reconciliation between the United States and Russia, despite Saudi Arabia’s strong support for getting the world’s two great powers on the same page, and success in containing Iranian influence in Syria as a consequence of the rapport between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“When [Trump’s] advisers show him the map, will he realize supporting Putin means supporting the Iranian agenda?” he told the Washington Post.
Trump supporters have long been critical of the Saudis, and in some cases, rightly so. But they should be wary of joining a witch hunt on a matter that is of little security concern to the United States, besides containing a dispute between two nominal U.S. allies. Though he worked for a newspaper with our nation’s capital in it’s name, Khashoggi consistently aligned himself with forces that seek nothing more than the destruction of our great country.
Thankfully, President Trump appears to realize that the ‘human rights’ of a man so brazenly hypocritical in his defense of them are not worth undermining the ‘America First’ foreign policy vision that has defined his historic presidency.
“This took place in Turkey, and to the best of our knowledge, Khashoggi is not a United States citizen,” Trump said.