Sunday, June 21, 2015

Ben Hubbard on Saudi cables: My take versus the NYTimes

There is so much wrong about the article by Ben Hubbard on Saudi cables.  1) There is clearly an attempt by Western media to downplay those documents, and not to cover them extensively.  Just compare the coverage to the coverage of silly emails by Syrian officials.  They have inflamed Arab social media and this is even after the release of 60,000.  2) It is not true that there are is no explosive information.  There is much there about the close work of Saudi foreign ministry with the Saudi intelligence service and Ministries and interior and information.  3) Saudi bureaucracy is weird as revealed: Saudi princes can spend millions and billions and not account for them, but civilians in the bureaucracy have to account for every penny and the purchase of new furniture for the Saudi embassy has to reach the King himself. 4) The level of political corruption is staggering: Ben Hubbard does not tell the story of how the entire class of March 14 is revealed in the documents as nothing but paid puppets for Saudi Arabia. Lebanese MP Butrus Harb begs for money to form a new political party and then requests that the money not go through Sa`d Hariri, whom he criticizes.  5) One document talks about how the Saudi government should issue a statement on behalf of its own Mufti (without the Mufti knowing about) after he made a statement about the ban on churches in the peninsula.  6) Al-Azhar is also revealed to be a mere tool for the Saudi government. 6) Mr. Hubbard missed the most important point about the document: that they reveal clearly that anti-Shi`ite hatred is an official policy and obsession by the Saudi regime.  7) he cited the opinion of a UAE professor (Abdul-Khaliq `Abdullah, one of my closest friends at Georgetown and a former political comrade of mine) but he does not mention that `Abdul-Khaliq tweets praise for GCC royal family around the clock. He is hardly an objective observer in this.  8) Why did he not mention the case of the brave former Reuters correspondent, Andrew Hammond? Andrew is mentioned and singled out because unlike most Western correspondents in the region has has been critical of the Saudi royal family, which pressured the management of Reuters to expel him from the kingdom, and he was.  That is worth mentioning, Mr. Hubbard.  9) There was the curious case of Egyptian journalist Mustafa Bakri and a proposal that he sought funding for, and which was studied by the government and his plan including an anti-Shi`ite TV channel.  This was also not of interest to Mr. Hubbard.  10) Hubbard does not mention that the documents reveal two systems of payment to journalists, politicians and clerics: one price for silence and another price for praise.  10) He does not mention how monitoring of individuals is requested by embassy dispatches. That was not of interest either.  11) He does not mention that Saudi and Qatari regime media are ignoring those documents.  12) He does not explain the Saudi official position: that they claim that "many documents" are forged and yet also say that they don't contradict the policies of the kingdom.