The world was greeted on the 2nd of October 2018 with the shocking news that Jamal Khashoggi, a fierce critic of the royal kingdom of Saudi Arabia is missing. Khashoggi, who was self-exiled from his land of birth, Saudi Arabia, and was living in the United States at the time, was said to had gone to the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey to pick up a document related to his wedding which was scheduled to hold in the coming days – with his Turkish fiancée waiting for him outside the main entrance – and never came out from the consulate.
Since then, the world has been asking the question Where is Jamal Khashoggi and what has happened to him? So many theories are now in play especially the one by the Turkish government who claim that Mr. Khashoggi was killed in the embassy with his body dismembered inside the consulate. This theory is backed by the claim that upon inspection of the consulate by a joint team of both Saudi and Turkish officials on the 15th of October, there was evidence of deliberate efforts to conceal a crime seen in the consulate.
The other theory insists that the journalist was kidnapped and flown back to Saudi Arabia. This arose because Turkish officials have said (with evidence to prove their case) that on the day of Khashoggi’s disappearance, agents from the Saudi Arabian government numbering about fifteen in total landed in Istanbul in two Gulfstream IV private jets which have been linked to the Saudi throne. The agents were said to have waited for Mr. Khashoggi inside the consulate and abducted (or killed) him on his arrival.
In all this, the Saudi government has consistently denied all allegations and theories which links them to his disappearance. According to Saudi officials, Jamal Khashoggi, indeed, came into the consulate through the main entrance, however, they insist he left through the rear entrance. However, they are yet to provide evidence to sustain their claim; and this suggestion also begs the question, why would he (Khashoggi) leave through the rear since his fiancée was waiting for him at the main entrance?
Who is Jamal Khashoggi? – Bio
Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi is a prominent journalist of Saudi origin. He also has ancestral ties to Turkey and has been living in the United States since June 2017 after he exiled himself from Saudi Arabia. His reason for the self-imposed exile is because he felt the atmosphere for freedom of speech has been stifled which had become the case since Mohammed bin Salman, was announced to be the crown prince to the royal throne of Saudi Arabia. Since the endorsement, the crown prince has aggressively sought to cut down criticisms against the royal kingdom as he equally sought to open up the kingdom to the world.
Khashoggi was initially suspected to be a Saudi spy when he arrived the US but he has since established himself as a prominent critic of the current Saudi leadership, frequently criticizing the rulership of the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman on the Washington Post. He lived in the US state of Virginia and had recently bought a house in Turkey with his coming marriage to a Turkish citizen in view as he and his fiancée had agreed to shuttle between the US and Turkey.
Although his exact birth date is not known, Khashoggi, who was born 1958 in Medina, Saudi Arabia was the grandson of Muhammad Khashoggi who married a Saudi woman. Muhammad, a doctor, served the throne as the personal physician to the founder of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz Al Saud. Raised in the Peninsula, Jamal Khashoggi attended his elementary and secondary education in Saudi Arabia before moving to the United Staes to study business administration. He graduated in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree from the Indiana State University, Indiana.
He began his journalism career working as a correspondent for the Saudi Gazette in 1983 and then started reporting for several Arab newspapers between 1987 and 1990. Khashoggi had some stints in Afghanistan which was how he became close to the late Osama bin Laden. As his career grew, he was a foreign correspondent in several Middle Eastern countries. During the terrorist attack on the US on Sept. 11, 2001, he was deputy editor-in-chief of Arab News and his insights on Osama bin Laden based on their relationship was invaluable.
He was seen as very controversial by his government and his critical views about Islamic extremists got him sacked as editor-in-chief of the Saudi Al-Watan daily newspaper in 2003. By 2007, he was re-appointed to the same position but was forced to resign in May 2010. Jamal Khashoggi worked as a political commentator for top international media outlets such as Al Jazeera, BBC, Dubai TV, and MBC before he started writing on The Washington Post in September 2018.
Fiancée and Family of The Missing Journalist
Jamal Khashoggi was said to be going to obtain a document that would validate his divorce from his first wife, Dr. Alaa Nassif, with whom he shares two sons; one named Salah and the other, Abdullah. The reason for their divorce was given as the strain caused by the distance between them as he was away from Saudi Arabia on self-exile. More so, he had become engaged to 36-year-old Hatice Cengiz also known as Khadijah, who is a Turkish citizen and a doctorate student.
His first family has, however, come out to deny Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiancée and the last person to see him on the last day he was seen. They have described her as an impostor, claiming she was not known to the family. Both Khashoggi’s first wife, Alaa Nassif and his eldest son, Salah, have given interviews to this regard.
Why Would Saudi Arabia Murder Jamal Khashoggi?
Reasons have been put forward which would explain why Saudi Arabia’s royal palace could have a hand in the disappearance and possibly, the death of Jamal Khashoggi. First, it is true that the Saudi Kingdom has taken a hard stance on freedom of speech especially those who criticize the crown; with some journalists already jailed in the country. And Jamal Khashoggi is known to be a very outspoken critic of the Saudi government led by the crown prince.
Moreover, it has been discovered that Jamal Khashoggi had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood who the Saudi government labeled a terrorist organization. The Muslim Brotherhood has always advocated for elections as a way to measure the citizens’ choice of who governs them and so it is possible this sounds threatening to the throne.
There’s no certainty where he is or even if he is dead, and despite all the many fingers pointing to the Saudi government, they have made it clear that the throne knows nothing about the journalist’s disappearance.