(photo credit: courtesy)
The New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Speigel published a number of documents from a planned Wikileaks release on Sunday evening, including many regarding Israel's position Iran's nuclear ambitions.
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One document, dated June 2, 2009 and sent from the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, details Defense Minister Ehud Barak's visit with a two Congressional delegations. It quotes Barak as saying that "'no option should be removed from the table' when confronting Iran and North Korea."
"Barak asked rhetorically how a lack of firm response to North Korea would be interpreted by Iran's leadership, speculating the US government would be viewed as a 'paper tiger'," the diplomatic cable reads.
The embassy official also writes that "Barak said he was personally skeptical that engagement would lead to an acceptable resolution, and argued in favor of a paradigm shift to confront the triple threat posed by nuclear proliferation, Islamic extremist terrorism, and rogue/failing states." Barak also encouraged a "strategic partnership with China, Russia, India, and the EU...in facing these threats."
Barak said that the US and Israel "share the same intelligence" on Iran, but analyze the information differently. He said that the US views Iran as "innocent until proven guilty," but that "the fate of the region and the world rests on our ability to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons. As such, the standards for determining guilt should be lower as the costs are higher."
Another document, released by The Guardian,
shows American and Israeli officials, including Brig.-Gen. Pinchas Buchris and Defense Ministry Director-General Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, discussing how the US can deliver GBU-28 bunker busting bombs to Israel while
avoiding "any allegations that the US government is helping Israel
prepare for a strike against Iran."
A number of documents, dating from as early as 2005, say that Iran will have nuclear weapons by 2010, and highlight the importance of taking this threat seriously.
"Israel is not in a position to underestimate Iran and be surprised like
the US was on September 11, 2001," Military Intelligence Chief
Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin said to Congressmen in May, 2009.
Another document, from an August 2007 meeting with Mossad chief Meir Dagan, refers to "covert measures" to be used against Iran, but does not specify what they are. Dagan also "urged more attention on regime change" in Iran, "asserting that more could be done to develop the identities of ethnic minorities in Iran."
Dagan said Israel and the US could "change the ruling regime in Iran, and its attitude towars backing terror regimes. We also could get them to delay their nuclear project. Iran could become a normal state." He suggested exploiting Iran's "weak spots" such as high unemployment and inflation rates, and Iranian citizens' opposition to their government's investments in Hamas.
In 2008, US Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial
Intelligence Stuart A. Levey said US President Barack Obama is committed
to putting financial pressure on Iran.
A number of other documents released reveal other Middle Eastern countries speaking out against Iran. A secret diplomatic cable from the US Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, discusses a meeting between Saudi King Abullah and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and US General David Patraeus in April 2008.
The cable quotes former Saudi Ambassador to the US Adel al-Jubeir recalling, "the King's frequent exhortations to the US to attack Iran and so put an end to its nuclear weapons program. 'He told you to cut off the head of the snake.'"
The document says that the Saudi foreign minister called for "severe US and international sanctions on Iran, including a travel ban and further restrictions on bank lending." It added that, "the foreign minister also stated that the use of military pressure against Iran should not be ruled out."
Other issues discussed in the Wikileaks documents emerging from the Tel Aviv Embassy include the Goldstone Report, which "sets a bad
precedent for countries trying to protect its citizens from terrorists,"
and smuggling from Egypt into Israel, which Gilad said in a November
2009 meeting that "Egypt can do more" to prevent. Gilad also said that Israel suspects Egypt of preparing for a future conflict with Israel.
Israel also attempted to block the US from selling F15 planes to Saudi Arabia. US
and Israeli officials repeatedly discussed the importance of maintaining Israel's
"qualitative military edge" in the Middle East.