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Pentagon Papers Series Part-II: US Allies Face the Music

  • Security
  • 9 Months ago
  • 4 min read
Pentagon,  US,  leaks

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Team NatStrat
Team NatStrat

However, the most shocking set of revelations pertained to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries, especially those who have been all-weather allies of the United States (US). One of the leaked documents accessed by The Washington Post contained conversations between Egyptian President  Abdel Fatah Al Sisi and top military officers of the country on supplying artillery rounds and other warfare supplies to Russia. Sisi cautioned his staffers to keep the production and supply of rockets confidential “to avoid problems with the West.”

In the document, Sisi is quoted as saying that he was considering selling “ordinary stuff” to China to make room for “more Sakr 45 production,” a reference to a type of 122mm  rocket manufactured by Egypt. It is pertinent to note that Russian Grad rocket launchers could easily fire Sakr 45 rockets.

An intelligence assessment from the leaked cache accessed by the Associated Press reflected how Russian intelligence operatives boasted about their success in convincing Abu Dhabi "to work together against US and UK intelligence agencies".

One of the leaked documents accessed by The Washington Post contained conversations between Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al Sisi and top military officers of the country on supplying artillery rounds and other warfare supplies to Russia. Sisi cautioned his staffers to keep the production and supply of rockets confidential “to avoid problems with the West.”

The assessment titled “Russia/UAE: Intelligence Relationship Deepening” read, “In mid January, FSB (Federal Security Service) officials claimed UAE security service officials and Russia had agreed to work together against US and UK Intelligence agencies, according to newly acquired signals (communication intercepts) intelligence.” The document further stated that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) views its engagement with Russian intelligence as an “opportunity” to “strengthen growing ties” and “diversify intelligence partnerships” between both countries. The plausible reason behind UAE’s optimism towards Russia was its apprehensions regarding the possible disengagement of the US from the region. As far as allies of the US are concerned, the documents did not exclusively pertain to US allies in the MENA region, rather, they also contained intelligence about allies like South Korea.

Three documents accessed by The New York Times disclosed the intelligence about South Korea. The first document disclosed that in March 2023, South Korea’s National  Security Council was unsure and somewhat hesitant about the US request to supply  artillery shells to Ukraine. The possible reason behind hesitancy was South Korea’s need to not disgruntle Russia, which it badly requires to check aggression from North Korea.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) views its engagement with Russian intelligence as an “opportunity” to “strengthen growing ties” and “diversify intelligence partnerships” between both countries.

The second document presented apprehensions of associates of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol that US President Biden might pressurise Yoon to supply ammunition to  Kyiv Ukraine or that the artillery shells South Korea. The associates also feared that the artillery shells they shipped to the US might end up in Ukraine. Similarly, the third document presented the schedule for airlifting 330,000 artillery shells from South Korea  to Ukraine or shipping from South Korea to Germany. Many believe that it could be a way through which the US was diverting the ammunition reservoir kept in South Korea to Ukraine.

However, the most astonishing set of revelations vis-a-vis the MENA region was on a major non-NATO ally of the US – Israel. A leaked document titled “Israel: Pathways to Providing Lethal Aid to Ukraine” reflected American apprehensions about Israel supplying weapons  to Ukraine in certain scenarios. It said that Israel could possibly supply weapons to Ukraine under the condition of a “perceived degradation” of its relations with Russia or  under “pressure” from the US.

In March 2023, South Korea’s National  Security Council was unsure and somewhat hesitant about the US request to supply  artillery shells to Ukraine.

A likely scenario argued in the document that Israel might follow was the “Turkish Model”, by which Israel may supply weapons and equipment through a third party. A second scenario discussed Israel possibly supplying weapons to Ukraine due to pressure from the US if the US strongly cooperated with Israel on its action against Iran.

Another cache of documents disclosed Israeli intelligence agency Mossad’s apprehensions on Israel’s proposed plans of judicial reforms – a pet project of Prime  Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A confidential document disclosed that Mossad had  “advocated for Mossad officials and Israeli citizens to protest the new Israeli government’s  proposed judicial reforms including several explicit calls to action that decried the Israeli  government”.

Another document related to Israel stated that Jordan had to take “a lot of heat” for mediating between Israel and Palestine. In the document, the Foreign Minister of Jordan told one of the diplomats that the country faced trouble on the domestic front as Jordan  tried to arrange a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian officials in the Red Sea port of  Aqaba after violence escalated in the West Bank.

Another document said Israel could possibly supply weapons to Ukraine under the condition of a “perceived degradation” of its relations with Russia or under “pressure” from the US.

A few of those documents also suggest that the US was keeping a close eye on the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General as it was going through a tussle on exporting grain from Ukraine amid the ongoing war. A leaked assessment talked about the ‘Black Sea grain deal’ which was brokered jointly by the UN and Turkey in the aftermath of a global foodgrain crisis and mentioned that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wanted to serve Russian interests. The document read, "Guterres emphasised his efforts to improve Russia's ability to export… even if that involves sanctioned Russian entities or individuals.” The assessment said that his such actions were “undermining broader efforts to hold Moscow accountable for its actions in Ukraine”.

Besides these, the barrage of documents contained different intelligence inputs about  other regions and countries including South America and Africa. One of the documents contained details about the plans of Brazil’s top officials to visit Russia in April to explore mediation with Ukraine. Similarly, another document stated that France could face difficulties and possibly fail to achieve its goals in Western and Central African countries.


     

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