A former senior employee of the French Ministry of Defense, Yere Kunis, unveiled the conclusions of a confidential report he prepared on the Saudi lobby in France, in which he stated that Riyadh relies on three files to buy Western silence about its crimes and human rights violations.
In a confidential report written in favor of prominent French companies, Kunis said that Saudi policymakers consider politicians, businessmen, and Muslim elites in the West to be the most prominent influencers whose positions must be “bought” to ensure “not to talk” about violations of the Saudi ruling regime, according to Lebanese newspaper “Al-Akhbar.
The best way to buy this silence is to sign “letters of intent” for potential contracts during Western politicians and businessmen’s visit to Saudi Arabia. The report indicated that the former French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, visited Saudi Arabia in 2015 and received a promise to negotiate contracts worth 10 billion euros.
Moreover, Kunis said, “In fact, we are nothing but promises to negotiate. We cannot claim that there are actual contracts that have not been implemented since that date. However, this is sufficient for Western officials to announce their success in achieving their return home achievements.
In this way, their silence is bought, and they do not utter a word as long as negotiations over these hypothetical contracts did not take place.
The same thing is being repeated with Western businessmen, especially those invited by the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to the “Davos in the Desert” conference to see the vast “NEOM” project future city whose construction costs rise to $500 billion.
Based on that, many Western businessmen are traveling to Saudi Arabia after one year has passed since most of them boycotted it due to the killing of journalist “Jamal Khashoggi” inside the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
As for the Muslim elites in the West, the report indicates that Riyadh aims to buy its silence to ensure that it maintains its religious standing around the world, noting that the French Islamic Council, for example, did not issue any statement regarding the Yemen war.
Kunis believes that this silence cannot be isolated from the fact that the majority of the council’s members have travel agencies and organize annual pilgrimage campaigns, and if the Saudi embassy suddenly announces that it will reduce the number of entry visas it grants, then they will be directly affected.
Regarding the Saudi lobby in France, “Kunis” said that it is not central to a large degree, but the efforts of the various parties working in its framework are pouring in the same course, which are parties that deal with various political, economic, and media institutions.
Konis cited Mrs. Elizabeth Badinter, a well-known feminist thinker, as an example of the Saudi lobby’s influence in his country, as she defends women’s rights across the globe, except Saudi Arabia because it owns 35% of the shares of “Publicis”, which is one of 5 telecommunications companies that have signed contracts to carry out public relations tasks for Riyadh.
The former employee of the French Ministry of Defense considered the reactions to the assassination of “Khashoggi” another example of the extent of the influence of the Saudi lobby; even though the crime shook consciences, but Western reactions to it cannot be compared to those directed against Russia after the assassination attempt on the former intelligence officer, Sergey Skripal.
In the second case, he stated, bank accounts of members of the Russian elite abroad were frozen, and punitive measures were taken against this country, at a time when no official action was taken against Riyadh.