douglas bloomfield 63.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
We didn’t need WikiLeaks’ dump of a quarter million State Department cables to
tell us that its Arab neighbors are terrified of Iran and want “the head of the
snake cut off,” in the words of the Saudi king, but they expect the US or Israel
to do the job because they lack the courage to do it
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Bahrain’s King Hamid urged the US to “terminate” Iran’s
nuclear program “by whatever means necessary,” according to the cables, and
similar views were reported by top officials in Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab
Emirates, Oman and Qatar.
Arab leaders may publicly embrace – literally –
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but the cables leave little doubt they
loathe and fear him. Adding to the sense of urgency are reports that China and
North Korea are doing even more than previously believed to help Iran develop
long-range ballistic missiles, chemical weapons and nuclear technology, and
threats from Gulf Arabs that if we don’t take care of Iran they’ll feel
compelled to develop their own nuclear weapons.
The document dump gives
new credence to Israeli warnings and exposes the Arabs as duplicitous on the
most critical issue facing their region. They leave little doubt they’d prefer
Israel eliminate the Iranian threat, but just as sure as Allah made little green
apples you know they would fiercely denounce the hated Zionists for their brutal
attack on a dear Muslim brother.
THERE’S PRECEDENT. The first time Israel
thwarted the nuclear ambitions of a brutal dictator, it was universally
condemned – and the chorus was led by the US. In response to Arab demands,
president Ronald Reagan directed his UN ambassador to work with the Iraqis on a
Security Council resolution condemning the 1981 raid that destroyed Saddam
Hussein’s Osirak nuclear reactor.
Publicly the Arab world united in its
condemnation of the Jewish state but a few days later when a CIA briefer was
asked by members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the Arab reaction
to the Israeli attack, he replied, “Booyea.”
Puzzled lawmakers asked him
to translate that into English. “Publicly they’re booing Israel and privately
they’re cheering,” he explained.
It is obvious today that the raid did at
least as much to protect Saudi Arabia and Iran from an Iraqi nuclear threat as
it did Israel. Saddam waited nearly a decade for revenge, launching Scud
missiles at Israel during the Gulf War in 1991.
The second Israeli
nuclear non-proliferation act was Operation Orchard, the September 2007 attack
on a Syrian reactor, believed built with the help of Iran and North Korea.
Unlike 1981, Israel didn’t announce its attack to the world, but a few weeks
later the Bush administration, which had refused to do the job itself,
Russia and China say they don’t want Iran to get nuclear weapons,
but their actions are having an opposite effect. They are Iran’s chief enablers,
protecting it from more intense international pressure.
China is the
greater problem; along with its own rogue ally, North Korea, it is helping Iran
acquire long-range ballistic missiles and chemical weapons capabilities, the
leaked documents reveal. Iran’s missile capability is greater than previously
Israel has been accused of being behind moves to impede
Iran’s nuclear program, according to media reports, including the sale of faulty
equipment for uranium enrichment, the Stuxnet computer worm that damaged
centrifuges and attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists, including two earlier
BINYAMIN NETANYAHU welcomed to exposure of what Arab leaders
are saying in private as proof they agree with him about the Iranian threat, and
he expressed hope they’d now say it publicly. Don’t hold your breath, Bibi. The
Saudi media didn’t mention a word of what Arab leaders are saying, but it was
available on the Arabic-language service out of Iran and
Atlantic.com’s Jeffrey Goldberg makes an interesting point:
The WikiLeaks dump disproves those who say “it is only Israel advocating for war
against Iran” when in fact “the most strident lobbyists for war against Iran
have been Arab leaders.”
Another victim of the leaks is Israel-bashers
like Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s former national security adviser, who
repeatedly warn that an Israeli attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities would
create anti-Israel “resentment” in the region and damage US-Israel
relations. It appears that just the opposite may be the case.
Obama administration has said Arab leaders have told it that progress toward
Israeli-Palestinian peace would make regional cooperation against the Iranian
threat easier, yet when the president personally pleaded with the Saudi king to
act on that he was rebuffed.
King Abdullah, who claims authorship of the
Arab Peace Initiative, has repeatedly refused to offer some confidence building
measures to encourage greater Israeli flexibility in the faltering peace
process. Instead he sticks to his insistence that the Israeli government
must meet Arab demands before the Saudis will even speak to it about
It also shows that for all their talk about wanting the Israelis
to make peace, their real concern is Iran. And the talk about peace may be just
that – talk.