Saudi Arabia has banned Jamal Khashoggi from writing for newspapers, appearing on TV and attending conferences after he criticized United States President-elect Donald Trump in November.
The news came as a shock to the prominent Saudi journalist, sources in Jeddah have said, according to Middle East Eye.
Khashoggi is said to have close ties to the government and served previously as the editor-in-chief of Arab Times and Al-Watan.
Saudi Arabia muzzles journalist Jamal Khashoggi after he criticises Trump https://t.co/EeMenNZ1kQ pic.twitter.com/fTtbOzM29a
— Nasheman (@Nasheman_in) 5 декабря 2016 г.
His critical remarks, which were made during a presentation to a Washington D.C. think-tank, come at a time when the future of the kingdom’s relationship with the United States hangs in the balance. As a presidential candidate, Trump promised to block Saudi oil imports.
At the same time, the President-elect also said that he loves Saudis for purchasing multi-million dollar apartments from him. He also started eight new companies in the kingdom at the beginning of his campaign.
Signalling the country’s trepidation, the kingdom hired a powerful DC lobbyist after Trump’s election to “undertake specific advocacy requests” on behalf of the country.
Khashoggi pointed out that’s Trump’s positions on the Middle East are often contradictory, as he has expressed support for Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad, who is staunchly supported by Iran. At the same time, Trump has criticized Iran repeatedly, saying he would “tear up” President Obama’s landmark nuclear deal with the country.
The journalist suggested that Saudi Arabia should form an alliance of Sunni countries to rally together against any unfavorable decisions made under Trump’s administration.
Saudi ministry: Views by Jamal Khashoggi do not represent kingdom – Al Arabiya English https://t.co/2UQ3iymZPt
— Rasheed Abou-Alsamh (@RasheedsWorld) 19 ноября 2016 г.
“When his advisers show him the map, will he realise supporting Putin means supporting the Iranian agenda? And this is what Saudi Arabia is concerned about, to stop Iranian hegemony,” Khashoggi also told The Washington Post.
The kingdom had previously distanced itself from Khashoggi’s comments in mid-November. A government source said that his viewpoint “does not represent the government of Saudi Arabia or its positions at any level,” according to the Saudi Press Agency.
Trump registered eight companies in Saudi Arabia during campaign: reporthttps://t.co/a2iASmZKtL pic.twitter.com/KWoaIjrIbw
— The Hill (@thehill) 22 ноября 2016 г.
“We are not expecting Mr. Trump to be worse than Mr. Obama was,” Abdullah al-Shamri,a former Saudi diplomat said.
He also said that most members of the royal family “are happy with the result,” saying that Saudis “are closer to Republicans [Trump’s political party] psychologically.”
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