Wikileaks Casualty: Saudi-Pakistani Relations Strained After Documents Released
Forget the bow, Obama may want to kiss King Abdullah’s shoes next time he sees him.
Thanks to the Wikileaks’ document dump, Pakistan’s ties with Saudi Arabia appeared to be under fresh strain.
Pakistan’s ties with Saudi Arabia appeared to be under fresh strain on Monday in the wake of revelations from classified documents released by WikiLeaks, which quoted Saudi Arabian King Abdullah calling Pakistan’s president Asif Ali Zardari “the greatest obstacle” to the country’s progress.
“When the head is rotten, it affects the whole body,” Abdullah said of Zardari in one of the documents.
While Pakistani officials publicly condemned the claim as an attempt to undermine the traditionally close ties between the two countries, western and Arab diplomats warned that the revelations may have finally exposed genuine underlying tensions.
Both are prominent Islamic states: Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil producer and the birthplace of Islam while Pakistan has the distinction of being the world’s only Muslim country armed with nuclear weapons.
Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia predate its birth in 1947, when the country was carved out as an independent state from British colonial India. And many Pakistanis – like Muslims in all countries – feel tied to Saudi Arabia because of the traditional Islamic pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.