The Story of Jamal Khashoggi and Osama bin Laden

As the political and diplomatic fallout of the murder of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi continues to play out, attention within some conservative circles has shifted from Khashoggi’s murder to the views and ties he may have held during his life. Rush Limbaugh, for example, has started to accuse Khashoggi of being “a practicing, active member” of the Muslim Brotherhood and “buddies” with Osama bin-Laden. One right-wing figure on Twitter lambasted the late journalist as “a Muslim Brotherhood operative, a pro-jihad, pro-Iranian, pro–[Turkish Presiden Tayyip] Erdoğan Jew-hater. A supporter of Iran…. a warrior on the wrong side of the war on terror.”

GOP members of Congress, Fox News correspondents, and surrogates of Donald Trump such as his son, Don Jr., have all gotten in on the act, repeating and circulating these accusations under the guise of simply “reporting the facts” or “asking questions,” suggesting that the mainstream press is glossing over Khashoggi’s views. As a Middle East analyst states, “None of this is to say that killing Khashoggi can be remotely justified. But there are far too many important questions still not being asked, let alone answered.”

If we separate fact from innuendo, however, the important questions have been answered; all we need to do is pay attention to those answers, starting today with the reality of Khashoggi’s history with bin Laden.

Questions: Was Khashoggi a “buddy” of Osama bin Laden?

Answer: Once upon a time, yes, Khashoggi was a friend of bin Laden. And so was the United States.

Jamal Khashoggi definitely knew many Islamists during his life, including those who were undoubtedly terrorists, such as Osama bin Laden. Khashoggi described initially meeting bin Laden in the city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s commercial center, in he 1980s. Both young men were inspired by Islamic revolutions in the Middle East, such as the popular 1979 Iranian Revolution. This was also around the time that the Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan in order to prop up a communist government in that country, leading to he formation of a religiously-inspired insurgency against the Soviets called the mujahideen. Bin Laden, already developing a strict and radical view of Islam that justified employing violence on behalf of the religion, would leave his comfortable life in a wealthy Saudi family to join the mujahideen, and these veterans of the 1980s Afghan war would go on to form the core of al-Qaeda. At the time, however, the United States considered the mujahideen allies, based on a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” stance against the Soviet Union. In many American eyes, the mujahideen were brave, heroic freedom fighters battling a much stronger, godless communist army. President Reagan hosted some of the fighters in a White House meeting in 1986, Democratic Congressman Charlie Wilson helped channel weapons to the fighters, an operation that was later portrayed in a 2007 Hollywood film starring Tom Hanks. Britain sent weapons as well. The popular 1988 action movie Rambo III explicitly portrays the mujahideen as “holy warriors” fighting a “holy war” (that is, a jihad).

As a young journalist, Khashoggi was offered exclusive access to his old friend bin Laden in Afghanistan, traveling there in 1988 to do an exclusive story on bin Laden and his group of jihadist fighters. That’s where Khashoggi posed for a now criticized cover photo of the reporter holding a rocket launcher while standing in the midst of Arab mujahideen fighters. As implied by the photo, Khashoggi was admittedly a supporter of the war against the USSR, but he has said that he broke with bin Laden when the latter chose to continue fight his jihad after the Soviets had been defeated; bin Laden had decided to extend his jihad to other targets, including the Saudi royal family, and formed al-Qaeda from the Afghan veterans. The group would eventually leave Afghanistan and take up residence in Sudan.

Khashoggi later crossed paths with bin Laden in the mid-1990s, as recounted by Lawrence Wright, who interviewed Khashoggi for his book The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. Khashoggi had been urged by bin Laden’s family, with the support of the Saudi royal family, to meet with Osama under the guise of an interview and to use their friendship to convince the al-Qaeda leader to renounce his jihad, which might smooth the way for bin Laden to return to Saudi Arabia. Although bin Laden was apparently weary of his failing jihad, he nevertheless played hardball and rejected the offer delivered by Khashoggi absent official guarantees from the Saudi government (which Khashoggi, as a private citizen, did no have to give). This would be the last time the two men would meet.

Two years later, bin Laden declared war on the United States, something he had hinted at during his last meeting with Khashoggi and an idea that the journalist tried to dissuade him from following. Bin Laden, now back in Afghanistan, explained this decision to Western audiences via a 1997 interview from with CNN’s Peter Arnett, (who, was himself later fired from NBC for a 2003 interview he granted with Iraqi state TV during the early days of the Iraq War, but that’s another story). Jamal Khashoggi would later state that the bin Laden who targeted civilians and authorized suicide attacks was not the man he knew from the 1980s.

In a later post, I’ll address the issues surrounding Khashoggi and the Muslim Brotherhood, which are admittedly a bit more complicated (largely because the Brotherhood itself is a complicated organization, to say the least).

136 thoughts on “The Story of Jamal Khashoggi and Osama bin Laden”

  1. Because Michael Owen at the side of huang zhan, so his nickname called small report.The earliest Owen left the impression of the world, is probably the flashy passing movements and dazzling breakthroughs, remember in the rookie challenge, he drew down two slipped past knight
    kyire 3

  2. An impressive share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast because I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If possible, as you become expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It is highly helpful for me. Big thumb up for this blog post!
    艾多美

  3. An impressive share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast because I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If possible, as you become expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It is highly helpful for me. Big thumb up for this blog post!
    atomy

  4. The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy looking for attention.
    艾多美

  5. Nice post. I learn something more challenging on different blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to read content from other writers and practice a little something from their store. I?d prefer to use some with the content on my blog whether you don?t mind. Natually I?ll give you a link on your web blog. Thanks for sharing.
    艾多美

  6. There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment?s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.
    艾多美

  7. When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!
    atomy

  8. Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.
    艾多美

  9. The NBA playoffs now for today, have determined the warriors in the western conference and will compete for a spot in the finals quota, knight still don’t know who his opponent was.However, even in the face of the celtics or the wizards, presumably knight will be
    curry 2

  10. When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!
    atomy

  11. An impressive share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast because I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If possible, as you become expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It is highly helpful for me. Big thumb up for this blog post!
    atomy

  12. There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment?s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.
    艾多美

  13. There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment?s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.
    艾多美

  14. When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!
    atomy

  15. Nice post. I learn something more challenging on different blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to read content from other writers and practice a little something from their store. I?d prefer to use some with the content on my blog whether you don?t mind. Natually I?ll give you a link on your web blog. Thanks for sharing.
    艾多美

  16. Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you However I am experiencing issue with ur rss . Don?t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting identical rss problem? Anyone who knows kindly respond. Thnkx
    atomy

  17. There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don?t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well
    atomy

  18. This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want?HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!
    艾多美

  19. There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment?s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.
    艾多美

  20. There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment?s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.
    艾多美

  21. There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment?s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.
    atomy

  22. When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!
    atomy

  23. Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.
    艾多美

  24. There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment?s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.
    艾多美

  25. Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you However I am experiencing issue with ur rss . Don?t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting identical rss problem? Anyone who knows kindly respond. Thnkx
    atomy

  26. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So nice to find somebody with some original thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this website is something that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality. useful job for bringing something new to the internet!
    艾多美

  27. Nice post. I learn something more challenging on different blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to read content from other writers and practice a little something from their store. I?d prefer to use some with the content on my blog whether you don?t mind. Natually I?ll give you a link on your web blog. Thanks for sharing.
    atomy

  28. When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!
    atomy

  29. Knight finally written pledge to fulfill a military order!Owen Jefferson suspected the contradiction, huang zhan anger: don’t win playoff team and the team retired showdown between the more and more intense, will the rockets in just eliminated the spurs tomorrow will come and warriors in the first fight
    NMD R1 Primeknit

  30. Knight finally written pledge to fulfill a military order!Owen Jefferson suspected the contradiction, huang zhan anger: don’t win playoff team and the team retired showdown between the more and more intense, will the rockets in just eliminated the spurs tomorrow will come and warriors in the first fight
    lebron soldier 11

  31. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So nice to find somebody with some original thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this website is something that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality. useful job for bringing something new to the internet!
    atomy

  32. Because Michael Owen at the side of huang zhan, so his nickname called small report.The earliest Owen left the impression of the world, is probably the flashy passing movements and dazzling breakthroughs, remember in the rookie challenge, he drew down two slipped past knight
    yeezy boost

  33. Nice post. I learn something more challenging on different blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to read content from other writers and practice a little something from their store. I?d prefer to use some with the content on my blog whether you don?t mind. Natually I?ll give you a link on your web blog. Thanks for sharing.
    atomy

  34. Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.
    艾多美

  35. I?m impressed, I must say. Really rarely do I encounter a blog that?s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the issue is something that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.
    atomy

  36. Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.
    艾多美

  37. Because Michael Owen at the side of huang zhan, so his nickname called small report.The earliest Owen left the impression of the world, is probably the flashy passing movements and dazzling breakthroughs, remember in the rookie challenge, he drew down two slipped past knight
    nike pg 2

  38. Aw, this was a really nice post. In idea I would like to put in writing like this additionally ? taking time and actual effort to make a very good article? but what can I say? I procrastinate alot and by no means seem to get something done.
    atomy

  39. According to The Fear of The Sword, The knight’s point guard deron Williams is a fan of MMA (mixed), compared to The basketball game, deron prefer to watch The ultimate fighting championship.Deron Williams recently said in an interview, he retired from the NBA
    curry 3

  40. Because Michael Owen at the side of huang zhan, so his nickname called small report.The earliest Owen left the impression of the world, is probably the flashy passing movements and dazzling breakthroughs, remember in the rookie challenge, he drew down two slipped past knight
    kyrie 2

  41. Aw, this was a really nice post. In idea I would like to put in writing like this additionally ? taking time and actual effort to make a very good article? but what can I say? I procrastinate alot and by no means seem to get something done.
    atomy

  42. Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.
    艾多美

  43. Knight finally written pledge to fulfill a military order!Owen Jefferson suspected the contradiction, huang zhan anger: don’t win playoff team and the team retired showdown between the more and more intense, will the rockets in just eliminated the spurs tomorrow will come and warriors in the first fight
    curry 5

  44. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So nice to find somebody with some original thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this website is something that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality. useful job for bringing something new to the internet!
    atomy

  45. This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want?HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!
    atomy

  46. Nice post. I learn something more challenging on different blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to read content from other writers and practice a little something from their store. I?d prefer to use some with the content on my blog whether you don?t mind. Natually I?ll give you a link on your web blog. Thanks for sharing.
    艾多美

  47. There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment?s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.
    atomy

  48. After study a few of the blog posts on your website now, and I truly like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Pls check out my web site as well and let me know what you think.
    atomy

  49. The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy looking for attention.
    atomy

  50. Knight finally written pledge to fulfill a military order!Owen Jefferson suspected the contradiction, huang zhan anger: don’t win playoff team and the team retired showdown between the more and more intense, will the rockets in just eliminated the spurs tomorrow will come and warriors in the first fight
    Adidas Casual

Leave a Reply