Monday Headlines

Leaked Saudi Documents Produce No Bombshell, But Are Important In partnership with Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, WikiLeaks started releasing hundreds of thousands of Saudi diplomatic cables on Friday, of which 60,000 documents have been made available online.

According to reports, the first tranche of documents contains no major revelations, but shows Saudi Arabia’s willingness to use its financial and religious resources in its diplomatic affairs, including clandestine discussions with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to pay for the release of ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

The documents also highlight increasing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which has been publicly apparent over the last year. Marc Lynch of the Center for American Progress notes there is no bombshell revelations, but that should not diminish their importance.

“The leaks are manifestly a form of political warfare, whether by Yemeni Houthis, Iran or Saudi dissidents,” he notes, adding, “but acknowledging the politics of the leaks is no reason” to dismiss their importance.

“Arabs across the region care about the Saudi documents (like they did the 2010 release of American documents) precisely because Riyadh’s highly interventionist regional policies have involved it deeply in their internal politics. Yemenis, Libyans, Syrians and Egyptians have a stake in Saudi foreign policy documents, because they so profoundly affect their own countries,” he says.

Hitler’s Secret Campaign To Invade The Soviet Union — Book Review Rolf-Dieter Müller revisits the events of 1939 in his new book, “Enemy in the East,” and challenges some longstanding beliefs about the origins of World War II. Muller believes that Hitler’s decision to invade Poland was not rooted in ideological principles, but as a strategic route to his real goal – the Soviet Union.

“It is clear, from Mr. Müller’s culling of military and diplomatic records, that Germany’s eastern campaigns were, for the most part, conceived of strategically rather than ideologically. Far from despising the Poles as Slavs and expressing his views in a drumbeat of invective—as the standard narrative too often suggests—Hitler made rather few remarks about the Poles before 1939, and those were positive. Even after Warsaw had closed the door on him, he clung to the hope that the Poles could be bribed with chunks of the Ukraine to allow an invasion of the U.S.S.R. through Polish lands,” writes Wall Street Journal reporter Brendan Simms in his review.

Is France Key To Resumption Of Israeli-Palestinian Talks
On Sunday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an effort to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks with a resolution creating an 18-month timetable for talks that could grant sovereignty to Palestine at the heart of his pitch.

Netanyahu, however, appeared to dismiss Fabius directly during a press conference on Sunday.

“Peace will only come from direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions. It will not come from U.N. resolutions that are sought to be imposed from the outside,” he asserted, according to The New York Times.

On his two-day trip to Cairo, Ramallah and Jerusalem, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius sought to sell the idea of a French-led initiative to reboot the peace process with backing from an “international support group” formed by the European Union, Arab nations and U.N. Security Council members, including the United States.

“It’s been 40 years,” Fabius said, referring to Israeli occupation of the West Bank, which began in 1967. “We need to adapt the method so that the Arabs, the Europeans, the Americans can accompany things,” he said, according to Reuters

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