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Khashoggi: resistance to Arab Spring caused chaos and I wish Saudi Arabia would have embraced it

August 31, 2017 at 3:32 am

Saudi writer and media personality Jamal Khashoggi []

On Tuesday, Saudi writer and media personality Jamal Khashoggi stated that he wished that Saudi Arabia would have embraced the Arab Spring and dealt with it as a real phenomenon rather than claim it was a conspiracy. He stressed that the Saudi regime’s decision to confront the protestors, and deny their legitimacy, is the real reason behind the current state of chaos in the region.

In an interview with French radio station Monte Carlo, Khashoggi, who lives in the United States, called for and end to the Gulf crisis soon as possible. He argued that Iran – Saudi Arabia’s strategic rival 0 is the only beneficiary and that the Gulf Arab States are currently preoccupied with fighting a “fake international organization” – the Muslim Brotherhood – “while the real international threat, Iran, is spreading and expanding unnoticed.”

He said “I believed in the Arab Spring since its beginning and it was the focus of all my articles. I believed that the Arab Spring was real.”

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“I hoped that Saudi Arabia would embrace and support the Arab Spring and treat it as a real phenomenon, not as a conspiracy,” he further explained.

Khashoggi considered that “confronting – rather than acceding to – the demands for change (embodied in the Arab Spring) is what led to the current chaos in the region.”

Excluding the Gulf from the Spring

However, Khashoggi does not think that there is a need for a new Arab Spring in the Gulf. He stated that “the settled, secure countries do not need to be pushed into transformation. Saudi Arabia, for example, is undergoing its own reforms led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which should be appreciated and supported.”

“I am talking about the miserable Arab republics which are collapsing. These republics have failed completely for decades and the Arab Spring came to announce its failure,” he clarified.

Khashoggi went on to explaine that “some of these republics collapsed like Libya and Syria. Some of these are collapsing and disintegrating (now) such as Yemen while others are still in great disarray and are potential subjects for chaos and worries, like Egypt.”

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He stressed that republics, “need the principle of power alternation because their constitutional legitimacy has completely collapsed since the first coup (in 1952 in Egypt) who led the republics to consecutive failures and the end of constitutional legitimacy. Today dozens of small local partisan and regional pockets of power have been generate and these will fight each other for so long until they are provided with a system that will enable them to share power.”

When asked about whether this means that the Gulf States do not need pluralism, democracy or constitutional monarchy, Khashoggi said: “currently, no, because amid the state of chaos in the region, we do not need to open any new files.”

He went on to ask “where are the movements towards pluralism in the Gulf countries? … Kuwait has a movement, because it is democratically advanced and so is Bahrain but, unfortunately it is turned into a sectarian movement.”

However, for the rest, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Oman, “their populations are already satisfied with their conditions and therefore there is no urgent push for change”.

He considered that “the main issue of these Gulf countries is the ongoing economic transformation and the need to ensure a better future for their peoples. There is no call for political transformation outside the small elites. Yet this does not find an audience in the street and therefore there is no issue of political transformation in these countries, so my talk does not apply to them.”

The Gulf Crisis

Concerning the ongoing isolation of Qatar, Khashoggi explained, “I hoped that this crisis would be resolved through traditional means, such as submitting a complaint to the Security Council or the Gulf Cooperation Council and not resolving it through conflicts on social media. ”

He added that “major battles are resolved on the ground or resolved in international organizations through official complaints. So I do not participate in these accelerating campaigns on social media.”

Khashoggi also criticized the way in which Gulf media institutions tackled the crisis, describing it as “unhealthy and unhelpful” and having two major disadvantages.

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These are “spreading falsified news, and this undermines the credibility of the media,” and “damaging to the society at large”. He explained that referes to conditions of widespread distrust and is comparable with “totalitarian regimes of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Hafez al-Assad and his son Bashar in Syria. This is the worst thing that can be done to our righteous and homogeneous homeland Saudi Arabia.  This is the beginning of the spread of the culture of fascism.”

Regional Developments

When discussing the region at large, Khashoggi focused on, Syria and Yemen, saying that things are “going from bad to worse.”

He stated that the countries should have been united in order to confront the expansionist Iranian project. However, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates disagreed with each other.

He pointed out that “these countries have not been able to agree, and the result is that Bashar al-Assad, Iran and the Houthis are in a state of victory. I have been troubled by recent news that Iran is establishing missiles factory in Syria and that it has exported missiles technology in Syria. We are in Saudi Arabia we have an ideology that intellectually and militarily contradict Syria and Yemen.”

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He considered that Iran is currently a winning on all fronts, adding that any Saudi expectation of changing Iranian ideology, is delusional.

He stressed that “Iranian supporters should never be expected to change as they are ideologically manipulated.”

He concluded by warning, “we are busy fighting the fake international organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood, while the real international threat is Iran, which is spreading and expanding while being unnoticed.”