In January 2008 we wrote EU and Iran: No Chance for Sanctions to Work. Eight months later we made the case for The Coming War with Iran in view of Teheran’s ideologically-driven intransigence over its nuclear program. In the latter, we not only asserted that military action was almost inevitable if Teheran refuses — as it obviously has — to play diplomatic ball, but that an Israeli-US strike would not only not lead to an ensuing “conflagration across the Middle East” as “experts” repeatedly tout, but it would be actively welcomed by Iran’s regional neighbors.
In what is undoubtedly the greatest single revelation of the current WikiLeaks release of US security documents, we find that far from over-stating our case, we actually under-stated it. Plainly, not only do the Middle East Arab capitals fear Teheran’s intentions more than Israel’s, reversing what Western academics and diplomats keep telling us, but they have actively urged the US to bomb Iran’s nuclear sites.
First, here’s what we said in 2008:
But Israel also understands something the U.N., the E.U., and even some U.S. generals don’t appear to grasp: how a Western-backed Israeli military strike to stifle Shia Iranian ambitions is likely to play beneath the public façade of the usual rhetoric of the Middle East’s Sunni Arab leadership. We see no reason to change our opinion that an Israeli or Western airstrike is the only realistic way to prevent Iran’s ideologically-driven extremist regime from pursuing its publicly stated “foreign policy commitment” toward Israel. Our point about the lack of Arab Muslim support for Iran was in response to the fact that more than 12 Sunni Muslim states, nervous over Iran’s regional ambitions, have consequently jumped on the nuclear bandwagon. It seems their confidence in U.N. style diplomacy with Iran matches our own.
Sure enough, young Islamist hotheads will be in the streets of Middle Eastern capitals in the event of a strike. For appearance’s sake, Arab Muslim leaders will condemn Israeli actions in the Western media. But ultimately, as Bolton has dryly observed, “There’ll be public denunciations but no action.” Just beneath the rhetoric, one will likely detect an enormous collective sigh of relief, from Riyadh to Amman to Cairo.
Western experts, however, assured us that an attack would be sure to ignite the Arab-Muslim world and set off a conflagration across the Middle East that could easily lead to World War Three.
Instead, we find that the latest batch of WikiLeaks confirms a vastly different Iranian “de-nuking” end game. Here’s what, according to WikiLeaks’ U.S. security expose, Iran’s “friends” have been privately urging on the United States (with thanks to The Israel Project website for collating these examples as published in The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel):
- Saudi King Abdullah repeatedly urged the United States to destroy the Iranian program. “He told you [Americans] to ‘cut off the head of the snake,’” the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, said, according to a report on Abdullah’s meeting with the U.S. general David Petraeus in April 2008. Abdullah told a US diplomat: “The bottom line is that they [the Iranians] cannot be trusted.”
- Officials from Jordan also called for the Iranian program to be stopped by any means necessary, while leaders of the United Arab Emirates and Egypt referred to Iran as “evil” and an “existential threat.”