Transparency advocate and whistleblower website “WikiLeaks” has begun publishing over 500,000 leaked confidential Saudi documents, including contacts with the Kingdom's embassies around the world.
Subsequently, the Saudi ministry of foreign affairs warned Saudi citizens worldwide against “disseminating ‘false documents’ that are intended at harming the Saudi homelands.”
Some leaks are classified, belonging to sensitive Saudi institutions including the Ministry of Interior and the General Intelligence Directorate.
The leaked documents include large numbers of emails exchanged between the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and foreign bodies. The WikiLeaks website said that the documents will be published successively in the coming weeks. Seventy thousand of the documents were posted online on Friday.
Julian Assange, the co-founder and head of WikiLeaks, said the Saudi cables reveal a "dictatorial regime" which not only celebrates the beheading of 100 people this year, but has also become a threat to itself and its neighbors.
Despite criticism of the kingdom regarding the human rights situation in the country, it remains one of the closest allies of the United States. It is also the world’s biggest producer of oil, which gives it huge clout in the international area.
Over the past forty years Prince Saud al Faisal has held the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is a world record for this position.
The authenticity of the leaked documents has not been confirmed yet, yet if proven genuine the document may offer a rare view of the inner workings of the notoriously opaque kingdom.
The documents also show evidence of Riyadh's long-standing regional rivalry with Tehran, its support for Syrian rebels and Egypt's military-backed government, and its opposition to an emerging international agreement on Tehran's nuclear program.
One of the documents, dated to 2012, appears to highlight Saudi’s concerns regarding the Iranian nuclear talks. A message from the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran to the Foreign Ministry in Riyadh describes "flirting American messages" being delivered to Iran by an unnamed Turkish mediator.
Another 2012 message, apparently sent from the Saudi Embassy in Abu Dhabi, says the United Arab Emirates was putting "heavy pressure" on the Egyptian government not to try deposed autocrat President Hosni Mubarak, who had been overthrown in a popular uprising on January 25 2011.
Another eye-catching item in the WikiLeaks release was a document addressed to the Kingdom’s interior and justice ministers notifying them that a son of Osama bin Laden had obtained a certificate from the American Embassy in Riyadh "showing [the] death of his father."
The Saudi documents leak coincides with the third anniversary of Julian Assange receiving political asylum in Ecuador's embassy in London.
Assange sought asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in order to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations that he committed sexual assaults which he has repeatedly denied.