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    WikiLeaks’ Saudi Cables Reveal Riyadh Wanted to Pressure Russia on Syria

    © AFP 2019 / HASSAN AMMAR
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    The so-called Saudi Cables published by WikiLeaks suggest that Riyadh apparently planned to pressure Russia to change its policy in Syria through the international Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), however without addressing and offending any Russian political leaders in person.

    In summer of 2015 WikiLeaks released more than half a million cables and other documents from the Saudi Foreign Ministry that contain secret communications from various Saudi Embassies around the world, according to the statement on its website.

    The revelation apparently includes "Top Secret" reports from other Saudi state institutions, including the Ministry of Interior and the Kingdom's General Intelligence Services.

    The Saudi Cables
    The Saudi Cables

    The massive cache of data also contains a large number of email communications between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and foreign entities.

    One of such document, recently translated into English and dating back to 2012, suggests even then Saudi Arabia was concerned by Russia's stance on the developments in Syria and urged to start pressuring Russia through the international Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), however without addressing and offending any Russian political leaders in person.

    It apparently directed its media “not to oppose Russian figures and to avoid insulting them” at the time.

    “If it pleases Your Highness, I support the idea of entering into a profound dialogue with Russia regarding its position towards Syria, holding the Second Strategic Conference in Moscow, working to focus the discussion during it on the issue of Syria, and exerting whatever pressure is possible to dissuade it from its current position,” reads a translation of the WikiLeaks cable on US-based website Levant Report.

    ​“I likewise see an opportunity to invite the head of the Committee for International Relations in the Duma to visit the Kingdom. Since it is better to remain in communication with Russia and to direct the media not to oppose Russian figures and to avoid insulting them, so that no harm may come to the interests of the Kingdom, it is possible that the new Russian president will change Russian policy toward Arab countries for the better.”

    “However, our position currently in practice, which is to criticize Russian policy toward Syria and its positions that are contrary to our declared principles, remains. It is also advantageous to increase pressure on the Russians by encouraging the Organization of Islamic States to exert some form of pressure by strongly brandishing Islamic public opinion, since Russia fears the Islamic dimension more than the Arab dimension,” the memo further suggests.

    The document also suggested that in the “case where the Syrian regime is able to pass through its current crisis in any shape or form, the primary goal that it will pursue is taking revenge on the countries that stood against it, with the Kingdom and some of the countries of the Gulf coming at the top of the list.”

    The memo urged Riyadh to do its utmost to bring down the regime itself because the US and the international community, it suggested, did not have any desire to “act decisively”.

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    Tags:
    pressure, leaked documents, WikiLeaks, Bashar al-Assad, Syria, Russia, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
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