October 29, 2018 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1422

Qatari, Saudi Press Wage Cartoon War Over Khashoggi Affair

October 29, 2018 | By C. Meital*
Qatar, Saudi Arabia | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1422

The tension between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which has been ongoing for 18 months, intensified even further following the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.[1] Known for his criticism of the Saudi authorities and support for the Muslim Brotherhood (which Saudi Arabia has designated a terrorist organization), Khashoggi was anathema to the Saudi regime but enjoyed the support and backing of Qatar. After his disappearance, the Qatari media, headed by Al-Jazeera, accused Saudi Arabia of murdering him, while the Saudi media rejected these accusations out of hand and claimed that Qatar was conspiring against it with Turkey and Iran and using Al-Jazeera to spread fake news about it.

The sparring between the two countries was also reflected in cartoons about the Khashoggi affair in the Qatari and Saudi press. The former published cartoons presenting Saudi Arabia as the cold-blooded murderer of Khashoggi, depicting the affair as a serious entanglement for Saudi Arabia, or stressing the power of Khashoggi's pen and Saudi Arabia's unsuccessful attempts to silence its critics. Conversely, cartoons in the Saudi press presented the Qatari Al-Jazeera as spreading lies and fabrications against Saudi Arabia which influence other media outlets all over the world. Other Saudi cartoons stressed the kingdom's steadfastness despite the pressures against it and the attempts of "the enemies of the homeland" and of "the biased media" to harm it. Yet others emphasized that the Saudi people stand united around their leadership and their homeland.

The following are some of the cartoons recently published in the Saudi and Qatari press in the context of the Khashoggi affair.   

Cartoons In The Qatari Press

Saudi Arabia Is Responsible For Khashoggi's Death

Saudi Arabia holds up the bloody axe with which it murdered the journalist (Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, October 13, 2018)

A "Saudi consulate staffer" (Al-Watan, Qatar, October 10, 2018)

The Saudi "consulate" (Al-Sharq, Qatar, October 10, 2018)

Saudi Arabia tries to clean up Khashoggi's blood (Al-Watan, Qatar, October 15, 2018)

Despite the missing pieces in the puzzle, it's clear who is responsible for Khashoggi's death (Al-Watan, Qatar, October 11, 2018)

Saudi Arabia tells America and Europe "I'm innocent" while blades stained with the blood of "Khashoggi" are tucked behind its back (Al-Arab, Qatar, October 14, 2018)

"The Saudi team investigates Khashoggi's killing!" (Al-Arabi Al-Jadid, London, October 16, 2018)

Saudi Arabia Is In Serious Trouble Over The Khashoggi Affair

The "Khashoggi affair" – a ticking bomb that Saudi Arabia lighted and will eventually explode in its face (Al-Sharq, Qatar, October 11, 2018)

The "exit" signs point in many directions, but Saudi Arabia has no way out of the "affair of Khashoggi's killing" (Al-Sharq, Qatar, October 16, 2018)

The media demands of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, whose robe is stained with blood: "Where's Khashoggi?" (Al-Arab, Qatar, October 12, 2018)

Trump to Saudi Arabia: "You will pay the price" (Al-Watan, Qatar, October 13, 2018)

Saudi Arabia trapped between "investigations" and "accusations" in the affair of "Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance" (Al-Watan, Qatar, October 12, 2018)

Saudi Arabia Tries To Silence Its Critics, Will Not Be Successful

"We Saudis deserve better – Jamal Khashoggi" (a line from Khashoggi's September 18, 2017 column in The Washington Post) (Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, October 6, 2018)

"The power of the pen" (Al-Arab, Qatar, October 10, 2018)

Saudi Arabia's murder of Khashoggi will not keep his voice from being heard (Al-Arab, Qatar, October 16, 2018)

The attempt to cover up Khashoggi's murder and silence his criticism (Al-Arabi Al-Jadid, London, October 17, 2018)

Saudi Arabia mows down critics' pens (Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, October 17, 2018)

Saudi Arabia cuts down "freedom of publication" (Al-Arabi Al-Jadid, London, October 23, 2018)

"Closing in on the killer!!" (Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, October 25, 2018)

The Saudi knife stabs "Jamal Al-Khashoggi's" pencil (Al-Watan, Qatar, October 8, 2018)

Cartoons In The Saudi Press

Al-Jazeera Is The Source Of All The Lies In The Khashoggi Affair

Al-Jazeera wins the "most lying channel" award (Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 16, 2018)

Al-Jazeera ignites terror (Al-Iqtisadiyya, Qatar, October 11, 2018)

Al-Jazeera feeds the Western media with fairytales (Al-Iqtisadiyya, Qatar, October 16, 2018)

Al-Jazeera leads the world media astray (, October 18, 2018)

Al-Jazeera – "The channel of lies" (Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 8, 2018)

Qatar, with its "Lies," "fabrication" and "nastiness," is the snake-charmer controlling the Al-Jazeera serpent ('Okaz, Saudi Arabia, October 15, 2018)


Al-Jazeera's "political analysis" is upside-down (Al-Jazirah, Saudi Arabia, October 24, 2018)

Saudi Arabia kicks "Al-Jazeera, the most lying" channel, into the "dustbin of history"

Saudi Arabia Is Strong Despite The Attacks On It

Saudi Arabia "keeps getting stronger" even though "the insolence against it continues" ('Okaz, Saudi Arabia, October 15, 2018)

"The Kingdom opposes all pressures and political threats" (Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 15, 2018)

"The campaigns of the biased media" will not harm Saudi Arabia ('Okaz, Saudi Arabia, October 9, 2018)

The light of the "Saudi statement" scares off "the enemies of the homeland," who are "bats afraid of the light" (Al-Madina, Saudi Arabia, October 16, 2018)

Saudi Arabia exposes the "lies and fabrications" in the "affair of Khashoggi's disappearance" ('Okaz, Saudi Arabia, October 13, 2018)

The Saudi People Are United Behind Their Leaders, Against The Enemies

"#Together against the enemies of the homeland. Signed: The people" (Al-Madina, Saudi Arabia, October 17, 2018)

"#The Saudis stand as one alongside their leadership" (Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 16, 2018)

The pens form a wall for "the defense of the homeland" ('Okaz, Saudi Arabia, October 17, 2018)

*C. Meital is a research fellow at MEMRI.

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