While mainstream media across the Arab world gave the secret US Embassy cables released yesterday the cold shoulder, bloggers and Twitter users from the Middle East found much needed material to chew on.
The much anticipated release, by whistle-blower website Wikileaks, is expected to make more than 250,000 leaked US Embassy cables public – the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain. From joy to skepticism, and sarcasm to cynicism, netizens broke down the cables related to the Middle East and North Africa, sparking discussions, questioning motives and seeking answers.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, tensions are rising following revelations that Arab states have discussed strikes on Iran with the US, amid rising concerns of Iran's nuclear ambitions; Arab and Israeli politicians sleep in the same bed; and other anecdotes on friction between the brotherly neighbours, who make up the Arab world.
Egyptian Sandmonkey describes the leaks as “glorious”:
Just when the egyptian government thought it was done with the
elections headache, Wikileaks comes along and ******. It
was beautiful Karma in action. Thanks to Wikileaks I felt like a child
who was allowed to listen to grown-up conversations for the first time.
And if that wasn’t sweet enough, seeing every foreign policy assessment I
have ever made become validated this way? Gratification, defined. For
years I have been talking about the Sunni-Israeli alliance, and how the
arab world fears Iran ten times more than it ever feared Israel. For
years I have been waiting for that moment when the Arab street rhetoric
catches up with reality and for the political status quo to get
rearranged as it should’ve a long time ago. There is now evidence that Egypt is aiding Israel in isolating Hamas, that Mubarak has nothing but utter hatred for the Muslim Brotherhood and utter distrust towards Qataris and Syrians, that the entirety of the arab gulf region, including Qatar, are weary of Iran’s lies and would love to see Iran gone or disarmed, and that they all would secretly support a strike on Iran from either the US or Israel.
The dichotomy between their rhetoric and actions was finally exposed as
hypocritical and duplicitous to their people and to the world.
Told you it was Glorious!
He further adds:
there are two countries who are bound to enjoy them: Iran and Israel.
Israel must be relishing that its public knowledge now that everyone in
the region wants Iran dealt and is on their side, and that the
Sunni-Israeli alliance is now proven to be both real and inclusive of
all the Sunni players in the region. For the Israeli public that may be
relieving, but for the Netenyahu Government, it’s empowering. They are
no longer the war-mongering dog howling in the wilderness anymore; even
their longest feuding enemies agree with them. As for Iran, this only
reinforces their rhetoric that everyone conspires against them and that
they are isolated due to evil USA and their arab agent-states, and will
give their government reasons to solidify their power against those
mounting numbers of enemies all around it, both foreign or domestic. And
secretly, in their heart of hearts, they must be relishing it: they
always wanted to be recognized as a big regional player, and those
documents prove without a doubt that they truly are.
On the Egyptian Chronicles, Zeinobia received the leaks with surprise:
I expected to be indirectly as nobody said anything about Egypt In the last few days as we all thought the Wikileaks cables will include the GCC, Israel, Turkey and Iran. At least this is what we understood from the news reports about how the States are scared on its relations with these countries excluding Iran.
She also anticipates trouble and asks:
Up till now I do not know how Julian Assange got these 1/4 million cables or why he publishes them considering the fact he has created a huge diplomatic crisis not between the U.S and other countries but also between countries themselves like for instance Egypt and Qatar as you will see.
Moving on to the situation in nearby Gaza, Zeinobia blogs:
Of course those Egyptian newspapers who dared to publish reports about the Wikileaks like Al Masry Al Youm only highlighted the part concerning Egypt’s refusal to assume control of Gaza after the victory of Israel that did not take place as a sign of Mubarak’s patriotism but let’s remember something that the officials in Egypt denied any prior knowledge to the “Operation Cast lead” in the early days of that operation turning in to war. It is amazing how Israel was too confident from its victory on Hamas !!
In another post, Sandmonkey analyses the response of Arab media to the leak. He writes:
I joked today on Twitter
that I believe the world will probably deal with this the same way
regular people deal with post-one-night-stand-hook-up awkwardness: Everyone had their fun but seen each other naked and now they just wanna do their walk of shame and pretend it never happened.I
have been monitoring media websites the entire day waiting to see how
the different arab medias will cover the subject , betting that they
will either ignore it completely or focus on what was said in the name
of the leaders of the other arab countries instead of their own. It
seems that the media honchos decided that they couldn't ignore the news
completely, so they went with option #2.
On Twitter, users have been busy breaking down the cables and commenting on their content in 140 character messages.
The onslaught of reactions on Twitter made users suggest a new hashtag to discuss the documents related to the Arab world. Saudi Essam Al Zamel tweets:
اقترح احد الاخوة استخدام الهاش تاج التالي للكتابة عن تسريبات الويكي ليكس الأخيرة #wikiarab
From Bahrain, Foreign Affairs Minister Khalid Al Khalifa jokes:
Tweeters beware, cleanup your DM box or soon someone will break in and give your DMs to #Wikileaks #cablegate
In another tweet, he adds:
The American ambassador just sent me an email labeled “UNCLASSIFIED” .. #cablegate #Wikileaks
Egyptian Wael Ghonim quips:
When it leaks, it pours. #WikiLeaks #WikiArab
And then asks:
أنا أسال المواطن العربي الغيور على أمته .. هل معقولة يعني نصدق يعني مصدر أخبار اسمه ويكي؟ #Wikiarab #Wikileaks
Meanwhile, Abdulla Almannai, from Bahrain, notes:
Some secrets are best left unexposed! #cablegate
Ahmed Naguib, from Egypt, adds:
I am going to spend my winter break going through #wikileaks files. Finally something interesting to read.
And Palestinian Ali Abunimah places another piece in the jigsaw:
#Cablegate only another piece in a pattern of evidence of full Abbas-Fayyad PA complicity in the Gaza massacre and its cover up.
Suad Alkhawaja, from Bahrain, concludes:
تسريبات ويكيليس لم تأت بجديد للمواطن أو الحكومات العربية، جميعنا يعرف من على وفاق او خلاف مع من وماسيحدث هو تعميق للشرخ الموجود
And then adds:
لذلك أعتقد ان هذه التسريبات ستؤثر أكثر على علاقات الحكومات مع بعضها البعض وسياساتها الخارجية أكثر مما ستؤثر على المواطن. #Wikileaks
Finally, Egyptian Wael shares this link:
To follow the conversation on Twitter, check out #wikileaks and #cablegate, where users from around the world have been adding their two cents to the discussion.
I think since mainstream media can not bring wikilieaks content to citizen in the MENA, no impact is to expect…
Moreover, it is not diplomacy secrets (that just confirm the average Joe thoughts) which will change something…