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WikiLeaks’ release of 250,000 diplomatic cables is a shameful act that will discourage countries from sharing information with the U.S. and officials from having frank discussions. In the shadow of this disgrace, however, one kernel information may rise above the subversions and deliver an unexpected benefit: the world, including the Iranian regime, now knows that many Arab states are secretly entreating the U.S. to strike Iran.
In March, a member of Israel’s parliament claimed that a “wall to wall coalition” of Muslim states had secretly informed the Jewish State that they’d be behind whatever action was necessary to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The files released by WikiLeaks show that the MP was not bluffing. The Sunni Arab states are petrified of the prospect of a nuclear Iran, and an unofficial alliance of necessity between Israel and the Arab states has been forged.
Saudi Arabia, despite its promotion of anti-Semitism and Wahhabism, was reported, on several occasions, to have offered Israel its air space to carry out an attack. Exercises to simulate such an event have taken place. The Saudis deny that any agreement exists, but the private communications revealed by WikiLeaks show that King Abdullah “frequently exhorted the U.S. to attack Iran.” He has told the U.S. that if Iran gets nukes, the rest of the countries in the Middle East, his own in particular, will follow suit. King Abdullah went so far as to tell the Iranians in March of 2009 that they had one year to change their approach. It is not clear from the documents what Abdullah planned to do after that deadline.
In a meeting in April 2008 between General Petraeus and the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., the ambassador said, “He [Abdullah] told you [Petraeus] to cut off the head of the snake,” a remark that could be interpreted as meaning the Saudis support regime change in Iran. If so, then they are on the same page as the Israelis. The director of Mossad, Meir Dagan, was recorded imploring the U.S. in August 2007 to support regime change in Iran by supporting the democracy movement and restive minorities like the Kurds, Baluch, and Azeris. The cable says that Dagan was “sure” the regime could be toppled.
The cables show that Bahrain is also part of the coalition. “The danger of letting it [Iran’s nuke program] go on is greater than the danger of stopping it,” King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa was recorded communicating to the U.S. In November 2009, the U.S. ambassador to Bahrain reported that King al-Khalifa had “argued forcefully for taking action to terminate [Iran’s] nuclear program, by whatever means necessary.”
Bahrain has good reason to want to stop Iran. It is a Shiite majority country, and the ruling Sunni government must worry about an uprising from its people. The country is very susceptible to Iranian manipulation, and should the regime aim to create a Hezbollah-type force there, the government could very likely be overthrown. The country has been targeted by terrorists trained in Syria, and so, King al-Khalifa is right to feel that he is seen by the Iranians as prey.
The leadership of the United Arab Emirates is also very vocal in their support for attacking Iran. Like the Saudis, the Foreign Minister explicitly told the U.S. in February 2009 that the rest of the region would be forced to build nukes if Iran is not stopped. The Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed told the U.S. that “I believe this guy is going to take us to war…It’s a matter of time. Personally, I cannot risk it with a guy like Ahmadinejad.” He even asked the U.S. if “all locations of concern” could be hit with air strikes and suggested that ground forces be used if they could not be. The UAE position isn’t news — the country’s ambassador to the U.S. said in July that Iran should be attacked if sanctions don’t work and that it would be worth the cost to his country.
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