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Arab analysts unimpressed with WikiLeaks

Arab analysts unanimously agree that the latest batch of WikiLeaks files didn't reveal anything new

Ahram Online, Tuesday 30 Nov 2010
WikiLeaks website
The WikiLeaks homepage. The whistleblower's website has revealed little that could change Arab regimes' stances. (Reuters)
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On Sunday, WikiLeaks began publishing more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables. The whistleblower's website previously released 90,000 documents detailing incidents in the Afghanistan war and, earlier this year, 400,000 significant actions reports on the Iraq war.

With the bulk of current cables dealing with Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Israel, it is surprising that none of the communiqués reveal or expose anything novel or unexpected.   

"These leaks didn’t bring anything new to the table and so won't affect the Arab regimes" was the general response by Arab political analysts.

Cables obtained by the whistleblowers made known that several Arab regimes were pressuring Washington to launch military strikes against Iran's nuclear programme. Furthermore, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was quoted as saying that the US should "cut off the head of the snake".

However, the thought that these revelations might make an impact on Arab regimes is "unrealistic" since regional regimes are "undemocratic and fortified by suppression", argues Hassan Nafaa, a professor of political science at Cairo University.

He asserted that "the leaks proved the growing credibility of political analysis which has become more widespread."

"What is new is that emergent trends which consider these regimes agents of and collaborators with the West – in opposition to their own people's interests – will intensify more and more."

Awad Al-Karim Al-Karsny, a Sudanese political expert agreed, saying, "Iran will not increase the peoples' hatred of their leaders; moreover, I do not expect any positive steps by regime officials."

"In order to see the real impact of these leaks, Arab societies would need to enjoy true democracy, which does not actually exist except in the context of elites. This isn't the case in the West, where democracy involves active participation by its people."

"What will most likely happen is that Arab politicians will be more careful when dealing and talking with their American counterparts", declares Khalid Al- Dakhil, professor of sociology in Saudi Arabia.

He continued, "The question we have to ask is why now?"

"The documents don’t affect (Barak) Obama's administration, but the leaks have put him in the midst of 'chaos'."

Al-Dakhil concludes that the purpose of this diversion is to "staple" the Obama administration onto the problem and recreate the stereotype that "Republicans are more keen on security issues" than Democrats.

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