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Jul 13

Written by: Diana West
Tuesday, July 13, 2010 4:07 AM 

Photo: Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and Jamal Khashoggi in Alwaleed's Riyadh office.

No, it's not a new pub serving non-alchololic beer, it's a new media venture between Rupert Murchoch and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, whose business relationship grows ever cosier (see here and here, for example, to catch up on the whole affair).

From Canada's CBC News, with thanks to Fjordman:

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has announced plans to launch a 24-hour Arabic-language news channel in partnership with Rupert Murdoch's Fox network.

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, former editor in chief of Alwatan newspaper and a media adviser to Prince Turki Al-Faisal at Saudi embassies in London and Washington D.C., will head the station.

Khashoggi is a controversial choice because he has clashed with Saudi authorities over religious police and women's rights and resigned from his newspaper position earlier this year over an editorial questioning Salafism, a form of Islam at the heart of the conservative state.

This (above) is true as far as it goes but the implication that Khashoggi is a proto-classical liberal in manjammies is false. That is, Khashoggi's initial "clash" with "Saudi authorities" in 2003 as editor of al-Watan seems to have resolved itself nicely in a choice appointment as media advisor to Saudi Prince Turki -- one of the more authoritative Saudi authorities -- when Turki was ambassador to the UK. When in 2005 Turki became Saudi ambassador to the US, media advisor Khashoggi accompanied him to DC. In 2007 Khashoggi returned to his newspaper job at al Watan until his resignation as editor in May (he remains on the editorial board) over an editorial "questioning Salafism" -- because he thought it shouldn't have appeared in the paper in the first place.

From the BBC:

The opinion piece by Saudi poet Ibrahim al-Almaee criticised Salafism, a conservative school of Sunni Islam that draws inspiration from the practices of the earliest Muslims.

Saudi Arabia is governed under an austere form of Salafi Islam, Wahabbism.


"We believe in al-Watan newspaper, and we believe in reform," Mr Khashoggi said after resigning. "The newspaper is more important than I am, and I hope it will continue. We may question social issues like women's rights, but we should not have allowed an article to question the essence of faith."

He said he was abroad when the decision was made to publish the article, and he did not agree with the points made by Mr Almaee.


Mr Khashoggi will keep his position on the editorial board of the paper, and said he would continue to write in support of reform.

Only not "reform," if you catch my drift.

Funny enough, the Saudi online news site Arab News announced the new venture -- without mentioning Old Man Murdoch.

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