WikiLeaks' Saudi cables reveal regional machinations

In response to the leaks, the Saudi foreign ministry requested that Saudi citizens refrain from reading the documents and called

WikiLeaks chose the the third anniversary of its founder’s stay in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on June 19 to release thousands of cables about Saudi Arabia.

Among the revelations contained in the files, believed to have been leaked by a group calling itself the Yemen Cyber Army, are details about the country’s focus on its strategic rival, Iran, and the revolution in Egypt.

The leaked files also contain details about Saudi Arabia’s allies and clients in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and other countries in the Middle East. The Saudi cables of more than 60,000 documents released Friday by the WikiLeaks website are being quickly translated by various news outlets and groups.

One document shows that Saudi Arabia has been donating significant amounts of money to regional media outlets in countries like Lebanon. One official document, labelled “Top Secret”, said that that the head of the Lebanese MTV channel had requested US$20 million from the Saudi foreign ministry.

The document said that a committee, including officials from the foreign ministry, media and finance ministries and from the Saudi intelligence agency, concluded in May 2012 that supporting the channel would fall within the Saudi strategy of supporting media that would only “serve the kingdom's interests and support its agendas”.

The document added that after consideration, an amount of $5 million was approved for the channel.

Another document revealed that the Saudi government had offered the Egyptian government, under ousted President Mohamed Morsi, $10 billion in exchange for the release of Egypt's dictator and longtime Saudi ally Hosni Mubarak. However, the Saudi government then decided against making such a move.

A note on the document said that the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi's political party, “would not be able to secure the release of Mubarak” and that he would have remained in jail even if the payment had been made.

WikiLeaks said that it had more than half a million documents, email communications and reports from different Saudi government institutions. It said it intends to release them in the coming weeks.

In response to the leaks, the Saudi foreign ministry requested that Saudi citizens refrain from reading the documents and called them fake fabrications by “enemies of the state”.

In two tweets on June 20, the ministry said that citizens were advised not to enter websites that would have the leaked documents or share such documents.

[Reprinted from TeleSUR English.]

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