By Faten Bushehri | (Global Voices) | – –
Saudi Arabia's meddling in Bahrain's internal affairs has been revealed in top secret documents released by whistle blowing site WikiLeaks from June 20.
It is no secret that the Saudi government has always shown full support for the Bahraini regime and sent the Peninsula Shield forces to crush the popular uprising in 2011.
Anti-government protests swept Bahrain's streets on February 14, 2011, with protesters calling for democratic reforms and more freedoms. This movement irked the Bahraini government and its neighbor Saudi Arabia, who acted quickly and forcefully having learnt Arab Spring lessons from elsewhere in the region.
Some of the cables reveal how the Saudi government kept close tabs on international media coverage on Bahrain, monitoring media outlets which covered the protests and documenting all that was reported.
From the many tweets circulating on social media with photographs of different documents, this user tweeted a document that shows the Saudi government's report on an article written by Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times on Shorouk News in 2012, in which he states the Bahraini government did not allow journalists and witnesses to observe the crackdown in Bahrain:
— ضياع البوصلة (@qa313) June 19, 2015
Some of the leaked documents from the Saudi Cables on WikiLeaks are the embassy's and Saudi intelligence's analysis of the revolution in Bahrain.
Another cable portrays the Shia community in Bahrain united against fragmented Sunni groups.
— Jerez de la Frontera (@bWU8onma2) June 20, 2015
Saudi intelligence monitors the weakness and fragmentation of the Sunni forces versus Shiite forces in the events of Bahrain
The above document also states that officers and top officials not related to the Bahraini ruling family are complaining about having debts, not being appreciated and feeling that the government is willing to cut them loose in return for political gain.
It also mentions the Bahraini government's attempt to slow down the internet was not successful because Shiite activists have other ways of communicating, while those that work with international organizations have phones provided for them.
The Saudi government document described visa procedures as very lenient, making it easy for Iranian, Iraqi and Lebanese nationals with foreign citizenships to obtain entry visas and offer help and guidance to the Shiite opposition. It called on the Bahraini government to tighten its grip on these procedures and close that loop hole.
Another document that also shows Saudi Arabia's role in fueling the sectarian divide focuses on Bahrain's leading Shia cleric Isa Qassim, also the spiritual leader of the Alwefaq National Islamic Society, the largest political bloc in Bahrain.
— iProtestor | Bahrain (@iProtestor) June 20, 2015
Saudi intelligence reports on the revolution of the Bahraini people and incites against Shaikh Isa Qassim.
The following telegram named “Assessing the situation in the host country” was issued by the Saudi Embassy in Manama. The analysis states there was a split within the Bahraini ruling family over how to deal with the escalation of Shiite-led protests on the first anniversary of the February 14 revolution.
The telegram described the security and political environment in the country as still very dangerous a year on from the outbreak of the February 14 events. The report says the Shiite opposition is dragging the situation out and buying time while dealing with government security measures.
The assessment also mentioned that there was pressure from Sunni government loyalists who complained about the soft approach taken in dealing with the Shiite street protests and not punishing those suspected of taking part in the “coup attempt”.
The Saudi government also sent a letter to the British Foreign Minister William Hague, and a duplicate letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, asking them to intervene in lifting the arms embargo on Bahrain, claiming the country is facing serious security challenges and violent acts supported by other regional forces.
The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned Saudis on Twitter not to consider accessing the WikiLeaks site:
عزيزي #المواطن_الواعي : تجنب الدخول إلى أي موقع بغرض الحصول على وثائق أو معلومات مسربة قد تكون غير صحيحة، بقصد الإضرار بأمن الوطن.
— وزارة الخارجية (@KSAMOFA) June 19, 2015
Dear informed citizen: Avoid access to any site in order to obtain documents or leaked information that may be incorrect for the purpose of harming homeland security.
Stay tuned as our Global Voices Online team digs up more documents from the leaked cache.
Also check out our coverage on Checkdesk Global Voices, where we are tracking citizen media reactions to the Saudi Cables.
Faten Bushehri is on Twitter @fatenhbu
Related video added by Juan Cole: