As Jamal Khashoggi’s friend and one of the last people to see him before he disappeared, these are my thoughts

As we sat for dinner after the conference, Jamal pointed out to me some of the negative tweets that were posted by his Saudi critics. He, like many compatriots, had been criticial of some Saudi politics – though he loved the people of the region unreservedly

When we shook hands and bade farewell in front of the Ambassadors Hotel on Saturday 29 September, never in my wildest dreams did it occur to me that I would never see Jamal Khashoggi again. We had just finished dinner at a Turkish restaurant in Bloomsbury, London, with colleagues and guests who participated in our conference earlier that day.

It is now one week since Khashoggi went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Although everyone following this tragedy has been hoping for the best outcome, it is becoming increasingly clear that something ghastly may well have occurred.

Having hosted him at his last public appearance, I feel a special sense of duty to record my own thoughts and impressions of this remarkable individual.

Upon close contact, the first impression one gets about Khashoggi is his intellectual energy and drive. His participation in our conference was not considered in our initial planning so when I called him in Istanbul to extend our invitation it was to attend as a guest, not as a commentator.

With striking humility, he accepted the invitation. It was at that point I decided that we had to take full advantage of his presence by asking him to be a panellist.

With his many years of experience covering all the major upheavals in the Middle East, Khashoggi was eminently qualified to make an invaluable contribution to our conference, which he did with aplomb and distinction.

Speaking on his country’s involvement in Palestine, he was keen to emphasise the unwavering support of the Saudi people as distinct from that of its current political leadership. Indeed, he recalled nostalgically the early 1970s, when Saudi Arabia under King Faisal was in the vanguard of Arab and Islamic support for the Palestinian cause and defence of the holy sites threatened by Israel’s military occupation.

With striking humility, he accepted the invitation. It was at that point I decided that we had to take full advantage of his presence by asking him to be a panellist.

With his many years of experience covering all the major upheavals in the Middle East, Khashoggi was eminently qualified to make an invaluable contribution to our conference, which he did with aplomb and distinction.

Speaking on his country’s involvement in Palestine, he was keen to emphasise the unwavering support of the Saudi people as distinct from that of its current political leadership. Indeed, he recalled nostalgically the early 1970s, when Saudi Arabia under King Faisal was in the vanguard of Arab and Islamic support for the Palestinian cause and defence of the holy sites threatened by Israel’s military occupation.

more:

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/jamal-khashoggi-disappearance-saudi-arabia-consulate-turkey-erdogan-prince-mbs-last-person-to-see-a8577546.html

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