Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Post-WikiLeaks World - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

It is well-known and accepted that we are living in a post-9/11 world, however today it can be said that we are living in a post-WikiLeaks world. For just as international relations and the world order changed following the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York, the world is set to change today following the publication of the WikiLeaks documents.

Anybody reading these documents – which have been published in full without alteration – on the WikiLeaks website cannot help but understand that the world will inevitably be changed by this, whether diplomatically or politically. Even lies will have another mechanism, not just in the Arab world, but internationally. We are truly living in a post-WikiLeaks world today. This does not just mean that nobody will trust the Americans, but that nobody will trust any diplomat. WikiLeaks has resulted in everybody playing the game with their cards exposed.

The leaked diplomatic cables show how America views its allies across the world, both personally and politically, and whether Washington believes they are truly in control of their countries. These leaked cables also show how America is well-versed in the game of assigning posts at state institutions, as well as Washington’s true opinion of both its allies and opponents, without this being cloaked in niceties or diplomatic language, especially given that these diplomatic cables are not comprised of information so much as the majority of them are made up of a mix of opinions and analysis based upon public and private information, including even information published in the press. Such information is sent to US embassies around the world, and US officials planning to visit certain countries are sent a telegram saying “Mr. So-and-so, we welcome your visit, you will be meeting the following official” and following this will be information on the situation in the country, personal information about the official in question, and so on.

In addition to this, what is said during talks and meetings [between diplomats] is also recorded. As a result of these leaks, the Americans and their allies, and indeed their opponents, are today playing the game with their cards exposed, with everybody knowing each others opinions of one another. The Arabs have also discovered that the wall of secrecy has been pierced and all of their opinions and viewpoints about one another have been revealed, and so everybody today is playing the game with their cards exposed for all to see, with everybody knowing each others un-edited point of view and opinion. The same applies to the Arabs relationship with everybody from Iran to Pakistan to Afghanistan; therefore there is no room for excessive courtesy now.

Of course, while the world of politics today has been made perfectly clear and delineated [as a result of these leaks], these leaks have also complicated the situation and caused [political] isolation. This is because everybody is now developing a new mechanism for operation in a crazy world where confidentiality is no longer a guarantee and that is the real challenge in the post-WikiLeaks world.

The best comment that I heard on these leaked diplomatic cables came from an Arab diplomat. When I asked him about the result of the leaks involving the Arabs, this diplomat laughed and answered “everybody is affected…so they will be rational in their response, for there is no room for exaggeration, especially as nobody knows what will happen.” This is true, and evidence that we are truly living in a post-WikiLeaks world.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

More Posts