Jamal Khashoggi, the missing Washington Post columnist who was allegedly murdered by a Saudi government-backed hit squad in a consulate in Turkey, warned of Arab governments’ efforts to quash free expression in what is apparently his final piece for the newspaper.
The president sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to speak with King Salman about Khashoggi’s case. In a statement that day, Pompeo said, “During each of today’s meetings the Saudi leadership strongly denied any knowledge of what took place in their consulate in Istanbul.”
Khashoggi’s column, published by the Post Wednesday night, said that “domestic forces vying for power” in Arab countries have created a version of the “Iron Curtain,” the metaphorical barrier isolating the former Soviet Union during the Cold War.
To counteract the authoritarian trends, Khashoggi said Arabs should be given ways to consume more international media in order to be informed about global events.
“Arabs living in these countries are either uninformed or misinformed,” he wrote. “They are unable to adequately address, much less publicly discuss, matters that affect the region and their day-to-day lives. A state-run narrative dominates the public psyche, and while many do not believe it, a large majority of the population falls victim to this false narrative. Sadly, this situation is unlikely to change.”