Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The reports leaked recently, stating that the Republic of Cyprus suspended the Al-Arab News Channel, owned by Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal and directed by journalist Jamal Khashoggi, were not confirmed. The majority of the leaks were published by supporters of the Bahraini government who was the first to shut down the channel. They worked on circulating the leaked reports on social media outlets. However, on another note: What was Khashoggi, the pro-Turkish journalist who openly defends Jihadist views, really doing in Cyprus, the island with a predominantly Orthodox Christian nation and an open-minded population?
In 1974, Turkey invaded and occupied the northern part of the island which lies in in the Eastern Basin of the Mediterranean Sea on the pretext of defending citizens of Turkish descent, the majority of which were Sunni Muslims.
In 1983, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) declared independence, although Turkey is the only country that recognizes it. The international community considers the TRNC's territory as Turkish-occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus, which is still under Turkish occupation to date. Turkey manages its foreign relations and obliges it to use the Turkish Lira as its currency which links its economy to that of Turkey's. The mainland Republic of Cyprus has repeatedly denounced TRNC as an occupation and called on the Turkish forces to withdraw.
In this divided country, comprising of sensitive, troubling and contradictory demographics due to the Turkish occupation, an agent for Turkey known for his extremist Islamist tendencies, the Saudi journalist Khashoggi, will launch his news TV channel.
Khashoggi seizes every opportunity to confirm his complete support for the Turkish role in the region. He is one of the public opinion makers having close ties with the ruling family in Saudi Arabia, who vigorously worked, through the media, on narrowing the Saudi-Turkish difference following the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt, as well as promoting a partnership between the two countries based on leading the Sunni Muslims and supporting "Islamist Jihadists" in Syria. He is almost a frequent visitor of Turkey and his personal Twitter account is full of news about his meetings with Turkish Justice and Development Party officials and statements praising them and their policies in the region.
Turkey, which still occupies a third of Cyprus's territory, is considered to be a pathway for foreign extremist militants into Syria. It is still the main market for smuggled oil sold by the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) group. All this pleases Khashoggi who has fallen in love with Turkey and its president Erdogan who likes to portray himself as an ottoman sultan.
Last Year, Bahrain suspended the broadcast of Al-Arab News Channel. The Bahraini authorities said that one of the reasons behind this decision is Khashoggi's announcement in a TV interview of his readiness to conduct an interview with the "ISIS prince", terrorist Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. Khashoggi doesn't openly declare his support for ISIS, but he has boldly said that he backs another terrorist, the commander of Jaysh al-Islam Zahran Alloush, who had called for the establishment of an Islamic state in Syria before he was killed in a Russian airstrike in Syria on December 25, 2015.
Khashoggi describes Alloush as "moderate", and has repeatedly opposed adding him on terrorist blacklists, although he is shown in many YouTube videos threatening to kill the Shia whom he calls "Rafidis" and cleanse Syria of them, as well as Christians and Alawites. This is just one example of the type of moderation that Al-Arab News Channel Director believes in.
In fact, he doesn't hesitate to declare his continued support for what he describes as "Islamist Jihadists" in Syria such as Alloush and others. He has a different vision regarding the bloody conflict there, as he believes that the Jihadists have the necessary fanaticism to settle the battle in Syria, and they should be backed until the end no matter how much it costs.
He even goes as far as to adopt all the jihadist ideology views. He had stated that "jihad is a Sunnah (tradition) that shall go on until the Day of Resurrection and the time has come for it to be given recognition." The war in Afghanistan in the 1980s allowed Khashoggi to have contact with influential figures whom he describes as "islamist Jihadists," including the founder of the terrorist Al-Qaeda organization, Osama bin Laden whom he met with on many occasions before the 9/11 attacks. He took from them many statements and also adopted a thought drenched with radical and extremist concepts. In 2015, he even posted his links to that "Afghani" period such as books and souvenirs on his Twitter account, in an attempt to highlight "his bright past". On this experience he wrote: "The Afghanistan experience in the 1980s was successful despite all the muddling caused by some regarding this matter."
Therefore, the officials in the Republic of Cyprus, who granted Khashoggi a license to supervise the re-launching of Al-Arab News Channel, could expect the following Scenario. An extremist pro-jihadi rhetoric supporting terrorists like Alloush will not only be promoted on Khashoggi's social media outlets but will also appear on a media platform situated on their territory. They will witness more statements defending Turkey, which occupies a third of their island country, as well as its adopted policies in the region. They will also involve their country in the bloody sectarian armed conflicts tearing apart the Middle East. The worst of all is giving a person charged with extremist jihadist views the freedom to work, which will lead to many dangers considering that it will take place in a predominantly Christian environment.
Khashoggi has failed to launch Al-Arab channel in the Bahraini, British and Lebanese capitals; Manama, London and Beirut, and even in Turkey's Istanbul whose ruling party suggested resorting to Cyprus. If the officials in Cyprus didn't comprehend the essence of this message until now, then they should have a look at their northern territory and start evaluating their positions in the rest of the country!