BEIRUT: The Saudi contributor to the Washington Post who went missing more than a week ago and is feared dead had major plans, including a string of new projects to promote inclusiveness and accountability lacking around the Arab world, his friends say. Jamal Khashoggi, a prolific writer and commentator, was working quietly with intellectuals, reformists and Islamists to launch a group called Democracy for the Arab World Now. He wanted to set up a media watch organization to keep track of press freedom.
Part of Khashoggi’s approach was to include political Islamists in what he saw as democracy building. That – along with his sharp criticisms of the kingdom’s crackdowns on critics, its war in Yemen and its policy on Iran – put him at odds with the rulers of Saudi Arabia, which deeply opposes Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood, seeing them as a threat. The Saudi journalist, whose 60th birthday is this weekend, had also personal plans. —Agencies