May 27, 2003


RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, May 27 — An editor whose newspaper was in the forefront of a campaign against Muslim extremism was removed from his post Tuesday, managers at the paper said.

No reason was given for the dismissal of Jamal Khashoggi, who joined the Al-Watan newspaper in March, one manager said on condition of anonymity. . . .

Many Saudis who had hoped that their country was on a path toward change following the terror attacks against three compounds housing foreign workers were disappointed by the news of Khashoggi’s dismissal.

”This is a bad sign,” said Turki al-Hamad, a prominent writer. ”This will be considered a victory by the extremists. It’s like an invitation for more attacks.”

Based in the southern city of Abha, Al-Watan has won a wide readership since its launch in 2000 owing to its liberal editorials and a policy of promoting a higher profile for women in conservative Saudi society.

The firing was at the behest of the Saudi Information Ministry, which means the Saudi royals’ fingerprints are on it. They’re not our friends, they’re major supporters and exporters of Islamic terrorism, they’re almost certainly incapable of reform, and sooner or later they’re going to have to go.

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