I don’t really understand how these cables are being leaked, why some news outlets seem to have cables that others don’t and that aren’t up on the Wikileaks site. So while the initial stream, let’s say, of information had a fair amount of stuff on the Gulf and Iran, there wasn’t really much on the places I’m most interested in, the Levant and Central Africa.
I still haven’t come across much on Central Africa, but Al-Akhbar has apparently come across a bunch of cables pertaining to the Arab world that don’t seem to have been released elsewhere. For those of you who don’t read any Arabic, you can just click on the flag of the country you’re interested in. The cables are in English and haven’t been translated into Arabic. (For all you Lebanon junkies, you can click here and skip directly to the cables from Beirut.)
To give you a taste, the UN Special Observer for Lebanon, Michael Williams, predicted the flotilla incident in February 09:
Williams and his UNSCOL colleagues assessed that Israel handled carefully the release of crew and passengers aboard the MV Tali, the “Brotherhood” ship that attempted to break the Israeli blockade and deliver humanitarian goods to Gaza February 5. However, they worried that the Israeli government would not be as “lenient” in the future should similar incidents occur, based on the statements of their Israeli interlocutors.
Williams also revealed that Israel wants to continue negotiations with Syria, but without the Turks and seeing if they can get Lebanon on board:
Williams believed that even if Benjamin Netanyahu won the Israeli elections, Israel would be compelled to return to indirect talks with Syria “out of necessity,” if it hoped to attempt to address its issues with Iran. However, Williams said Israeli PM representative Terjemon was fairly definitive that the talks would not be carried out with Turkey as the intermediary. Israel, he reported, was “as annoyed with the Turks, as the Turks are with the Israelis.” General Gilad told Williams that Israel also preferred Lebanon take part in the talks as part of Israel’s strategy to secure the whole of its northern border. Williams noted that this view presented a slight change in Israel’s approach.