WASHINGTON — The United States is said to have disclosed that Saudi King Abdullah was dying.
Diplomatic sources said the administration of President Barack Obama relayed a photograph that showed Abdullah with a breathing tube, Middle East Newsline reported.
The sources said the photograph was taken by White House personnel during Obama’s meeting with the Saudi king outside Riyad on March 28.
“The Saudis specifically did not want any photograph that showed Abdullah with the tube,” a source said. “But there was a White House photographer that took the picture for what he said was history.”
The photograph was said to have been relayed to members of the White House press corps. Within a day, an image of the Saudi king with the breathing tube was sent to the Saudi opposition.
“The photograph was a message by the White House that Abdullah is going down and so is the rest of the family,” the source said.
On April 17, a Shi’ite-aligned opposition research group quoted U.S. sources as saying that Abdullah was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. The Washington-based Institute for Gulf Affairs posted an unattributed photograph of the king with a breathing tube next to his son, Prince Mitab. The institute said Abdullah was seen with the tube during his meeting with Obama as well as on April 4.
“I received from an official American source [information] that King Abdullah has cancer and two to six months to live,” institute director Ali Al Ahmed said on Twitter on March 31.
Full article: Sources: White House deliberately leaked photo of ill Saudi King with breathing tube (World Tribune)