We wonder if the Saudis had never been caught in Jamal Khashoggi’s gruesome murder, would such essential stories and leaks now happening such as the below Guardian report ever see the light of day? On Tuesday The Guardian published select contents of a leaked internal United Nations document detailing a “pay to play” scheme orchestrated by Saudi Arabia.
According to the leaked document, the Saudis demanded that aid groups and humanitarian agencies operating in Yemen provide favorable publicity for Saudi Arabia in return for Riyadh providing close to a billion dollars to fund their efforts. The document identifies $930m given to the aid groups, even as the Saudi-led coalition bombed the very people the donations were supposed to help.
The Guardian report calls the extent of Saudi demands “highly unusual” as part of the requirement for groups to receive aid included floating favorable stories and coverage of “the Saudi humanitarian effort in Yemen” to newspapers like the New York Times and the Guardian — publications specifically named in the internal memo. Thus the nearly $1bn was essentially hush money for the sake of propaganda meant to shield the kingdom from scrutiny over its Yemen actions.