As we have seen with the “Arab Spring,” politics and claims of allegiance in the Middle East are not always as they seem. In most instances, when looking at power players in the region, one has to look behind the curtain to ascertain where real loyalties lie.
Former President Barack Obama famously said, “The sweetest sound I know is the Muslim call to prayer,” as he supported the Muslim Brotherhood in uprisings in Egypt and elsewhere, while claiming fidelity to the national security of the United States. One must look at the results of Mr. Obama’s actions as president, rather than his words, as the consequences of his policies were materially destructive to America, especially in the Muslim world.
The Koran states, “Allah will not call you to account for thoughtlessness in your oaths, but for the intention in your hearts.” Threats of destabilization through a fake democracy narrative, which opens doors for “Arab Springs” that turn into “Arab Winters,” and Muslim Brotherhood-inspired coups, must be guarded against, pardon the pun, religiously.
With agendas at play from Riyadh, Istanbul, Moscow, and Tehran, intentions, not declared oaths, matter. And outcomes matter most.
Speaking of Saudi Arabia, Mr. Obama purposefully alienated this key actor in favor of Shia Islamic Republic Iran, which exports terrorism and instability, arming itself with ballistic missiles.
As the Saudi kingdom attempts to wean itself off the hydrocarbons habit in favor of a long-term economic and social development, the Vision 2030, an ambitious reform program championed by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, becomes paramount. The kingdom needs to avoid social upheaval and implement reforms gradually and systematically.
The Trump Administration should support these efforts as a pathway to a more stable and reliable ally, and ignore the fake calls for change for change’s sake, cloaked in the ultra-liberal rhetoric.
One of these siren songs of change has been coming from the lips of Jamal Khashoggi, a well-known member of the Saudi media elite. Khashoggi is Exhibit One as a voice that calls for “reform” in English, using rhetoric pleasant to liberal ears, while in reality supporting the Turkish strongman president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Qatari terror-encouraging regime, and repeating Muslim Brotherhood’s tropes.
Mr. Khashoggi was a spokesman for Prince Turki al Faisal when he was Ambassador in London and Washington, and an employee of billionaire investor Prince al Waleed bin Talal. But what makes him suspicious is his unprecedented access to the Al Qaeda’s founder Osama bin Laden, with whom he published numerous interviews.
All one has to do is read the recent article he published in The Washington Post, criticizing the efforts of the Kingdom to move away from extremism and toward economic opportunity, to ascertain where his real allegiances lie.
“In recent months, Saudi Arabia has instituted several new and extreme policies, from full-throated opposition of Islamists to encouraging citizens to name others to a government blacklist,” Mr. Khashoggi wrote. He further complained, “The government banned me from Twitter when I cautioned against an overly enthusiastic embrace of then-President-elect Donald Trump.”
In other words, Mr. Khashoggi was happy with the Obama Administration support of the Muslim Brotherhood, and today he opposes the kingdom’s rapprochement with Washington. He is against the fight against Islamic extremism in the kingdom — and against Mr. Trump’s efforts to do the same around the world.
At the same way, Mr. Khashoggi seems to preach “democracy,” while enabling Hamas’ terror, including against U.S. ally Israel. Other opponents of Arab pro-U.S. regimes, such as the preacher of hate, Imam Yusuf el-Qaradawwi in Qatar, and the Muslim Brotherhood, have spoken the same way.
America needs a Saudi Arabia that is putting in place systemic reforms and enable moderate Saudis to make their voices known, not an activist who preaches one thing in the west and does another, praising Qatar and Turkey.
Mr. Khashoggi has had plenty of time to protest the kingdom’s policies before, but he never has, preferring to lead a charmed life as a favorite mouthpiece of billionaire princes. The change of heart today seems disingenuous indeed.
One of Mr. Trump’s strong points has been his ability to speak truth in simple terms, to say things that have long needed to be said. However, charlatans like Mr. Khashoggi need to be called out for what they are — false prophets.