After Ban on Khashoggi, Will Abdulkhaleq Abdullah be Next?

2016-12-02 - 2:18 am

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Saudi authorities banned one of their citizens, writer Jamal Khashoggi from appearing or displaying his writings on any media outlet. So will Dr. Abdulkhaleq Abdullah, a political science professor at Emirates University, be next on the list.

Although there are obvious differences between both men- the former is close to the ruling Islamic party in Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood which is listed on Saudi Arabia's terrorist blacklist, while the latter agrees with his country's (United Arab Emirates) stance towards Islamist groups- they have many similarities as well.

They are both friends and managed to build  popular platforms for themselves on Twitter to share their views and instantly comment on local and international events. Khashoggi has garnered 1.3 million followers while Abdulkhaleq is followed by 107,000 users. Most importantly, they both have close relations to the decision-making scene and one of them- at least- is close to the ruling party in his country.

Khashoggi is known for his close relationship with the sons of King Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the ruling king's brother and currently Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz who's alienated by the ruling family, since he is working on launching a television channel that airs from Qatar. As for Abdulkhaleq, he is introduced as the advisor to Abu Dhabi Crown Prince  Mohammad bin Zayed.

Often did their points of views and comments make headlines on a daily basis, as they are seen as the bearers of news on what is simmering in both the Saudi and Emirati decision-making process.

Despite their loyalty to their governments and close relations with those in power, their "leaps" on social media were quite contradictory.

For instance, Khashoggi since the days of late King Abdullah rejected adding the Muslim Brotherhood movement to the Saudi blacklist of terrorist groups. He also always stressed on the importance of Saudi authorities taking a supportive stance sponsoring Sunni Islamic groups. He even voiced his objection of the return of military rule in Egypt, swimming against the tide of public view in his country backing the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Abdulkhaleq; however, recently announced his refusal of Israeli Ambassador and Permanent representative to the UN Danny Danon's visit to his country. "No Israeli is welcome on Emirati territory. O Government of Emirates, no for normalization," he stressed. He also repeatedly called on government authorities to release political prisoners.

These stances and other statements made regarding events taking place in the region prompted the frustration of a number of Gulf states. For its part, Bahrain closed down a television channel run by Khashoggi and accused him of siding with extremist groups. The gulf nation also banned Abdulkhaleq from entering the country over a tweet he posted on his account in which he referred to the number of political prisoners. He was recently banned from entering the Sultanate of Oman as well.

Thus. it was not surprising at all that the first Gulf commentator to criticize the Saudi decision banning Khashoggi from appearing or writing for any media outlet was Abdulkhaleq himself. Commenting on this decision, he said: "Despite my disagreement with Jamal Khashoggi's views, I find it prejudicial to prevent a prominent Gulf writer who has independent opinions and love for his country from writing and appearing on the media," adding that "it is indeed a sad day."

The academic Abdelkhaleq knows very well that as experienced during the practice of mountain climbing that he enjoys, there will always be unexpected disasters in the realm of politics, despite taking the necessary precautions.

It is not unlikely that an unexpected disaster will occur as a result of his criticism of the decision taken against Khashoggi. A wave of tweets warned Abdulkhaleq of interfering in internal Saudi affairs and speaking against the decision makers. Some Tweeters even criticized Emirati authorities. It seems that Abdulkhaleq clearly received the message as he called for keeping his country out of it since his words reflect his own views and not his country's.

Arabic Version    


comments powered by Disqus