What follows is a conversation between Professor As`ad AbuKhalil and Sharmini Peries of the Real News Network. Read a transcript of their conversation below or watch the video at the bottom of the post.
SHARMINI PERIES: It’s the Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore.
We are just learning that Saudi Arabia will admit that it had something to do with the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and that he was killed in a botched up interrogation. Apparently, the plan was to interrogate and then abduct him from Turkey. CNN is reporting that the Saudis claim that the operation took place without clearance and transparency, and that those involved will be held responsible. Well, who is responsible? This was a rather quick investigation on the part of the Saudi investigative team that arrived in Istanbul only on the weekend. How did they so quickly come to such a conclusion? It appears that Saudis want this dealt with quickly, perhaps a part of their damage control plan.
This is now an opportunity for us here at The Real News to look further into Jamal Khashoggi. Who is he, who does he represent, why was he murdered? Our next guest writes: “It’s been odd to read about Khashoggi in Western media. David Hirst in The Guardian claimed Khashoggi merely cared about absolutes such as ‘truth, democracy, and freedom.’ Human Rights Watch’s director described him as representing ‘outspoken and critical journalism.’ ” With me is As’ad AbuKhalil. He’s a professor of political science at California State University. He’s the author of Bin Laden, Islam & America’s New “War on Terrorism” and The Battle for Saudi Arabia. He also runs a popular blog, titled The Angry Arab News Service. As’ad, good to have you with us.
AS’AD ABUKHALIL: Thank you for inviting me.
SHARMINI PERIES: All right, As’ad. Let’s start off with you telling us about Jamal Khashoggi, and what he stood for as far as journalism and ethics of journalism is concerned.
AS’AD ABUKHALIL: Well, I mean, he’s close to my age, so his name has been familiar to me since my early youthful days back in Lebanon. And in our progressive left-wing Marxist circles, he was always a symbol of reactionary advocacy on behalf of the Saudi regime and militant Salafi Islam.