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Saudi targets Qatar as the world demands answers

Saudi targets Qatar as the world demands answers


Tribune News Network
Doha
Feeling the heat after the disappearance and possible killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Riyadh has started an all-out media offensive against Qatar, presumably to divert the world's attention from its serial acts of oppression against citizens.
The disappearance of Khashoggi, who was critical of the Saudi government and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, is shrouded in mystery.
Turkey, the US and the UK as well as a host of world leaders -- have ratcheted up the pressure on Saudi to explain how the journalist vanished after entering its consulate last week, with President Donald Trump declaring he"had to find out what happened".
Turkey has accused Riyadh of targeted killing inside the consulate, dismembering of the body and hiding of the remains with the aim of suppressing a voice critical of the regime.
Britain's foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt warned that Saudi Arabia faces"serious consequences" if the suspicions that Khashoggi was murdered after entering the Saudi consulate turn out to be true.
With the international community demanding clarification on the incident, Saudi Arabia plays a perverse game of distracting the global attention by attacking Qatar. In this episode the Saudis have begun talking of Qatar's involvement. Qatar has become the scapegoat for Riyadh to avoid confrontation with Turkey -- a close ally and partner of Doha -- and the international community, especially the US, which insist on obtaining information from its ally Saudi.
After the disappearance of Khashoggi, major newspapers in the kingdom have limited themselves to telling the story without giving information on the perpetrators. But, the last two days have seen a clear reversal of the trend, with the newspapers publishing a series of articles accusing Qatar, against which Riyadh has been waging a war on diplomatic, economic and commercial fronts.
As part of the game, Al-Riyadh newspaper accused Qatar's Al Jazeera news channel of spreading false information on Khashoggi issue. Al-Arabya interviewed a so-called 'communications expert' at the University of Saud in Riyadh who accused Doha of wanting to undermine relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi satellite channel didn't even spare the Turkish girlfriend of Khashoggi, stating that she was"totally unknown" to the journalist's family and could have"played a central role" in his disappearance.
Saudi Arabia has been ranked 169th out of the 180 countries in terms of press freedom, according to Reporters Without Borders (RWB). More than 15 journalists and bloggers have been arrested in an opaque manner in Saudi Arabia since September, 2017, including respected economist and citizen-journalist Essam al Zamel, Saleh el Shihi, Turad al Amri and Fayez bin Damakh, according to RWB.
Khashoggi had gone to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get the necessary documents in order to get married to his partner Hatice Cengiz, a woman of Turkish nationality, who first reported his disappearance. Khashoggi had asked his partner to contact the Turkish authorities [a Recep Tayyip Erdogan adviser in particular] in case he did not return.
Colleagues and friends of Khashoogi launched the #JamalKhashoggiDisappeared campaign, in Arabic and English, which has received thousands of followers.

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