WikiLeaks: In Arab capitals, pleas that the U.S. bomb Iran

The diplomatic cables reveal that Arab leaders are aligned with the U.S. and Israel in their desire to see Iran contained and stripped of its capacity for nuclear weapons.

Iran, it seems, is not the Miss Congeniality of the Middle East, said Ian Black and Simon Tisdall in the London Guardian. WikiLeaks’ trove of confidential cables, many from U.S. embassies in the Middle East, “expose behind-the-scenes pressures in the scramble to contain the Islamic Republic, which the U.S., Arab states, and Israel suspect is close to acquiring nuclear weapons.” The U.S. and Israel have long insisted on the dangers of an Iranian bomb, but it’s striking to hear Arab leaders echo that view in private. In cables, diplomats reveal that Arab countries ruled by Sunni Muslims deeply distrust the expansionist Shiite regime in Iran, which already exerts broad influence in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, and clearly hopes to be the Persian Gulf’s dominant military and political power. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah “repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program,” encouraging the U.S. to “cut off the head of the snake.” Likewise, officials in Jordan, Bahrain, and Egypt described Iran as “evil” and an “existential threat” and pleaded with the U.S. to attack. How nice to have so much company, said Jeffrey Goldberg in Until now, Israel’s critics have insisted that only militant Zionists and “their neocon supporters in America seek a military attack on Iran’s nuclear program.” Looks like there are plenty of neocons in Amman, Cairo, and Riyadh.

The Arab world’s fear of the ayatollahs is hardly a surprise, said Yossi Melman in Israel’s Ha’aretz. The cables merely confirm what everyone already suspected: The entire region hopes “to see the United States bomb Iran.” That’s “the ghastliest irony,” said David Frum in If WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange, thought these disclosures would inhibit U.S. military action, he “massively failed at his own purpose. The leak makes military conflict between Iran and the United States more likely, not less,” because the world now sees that fear of a nuclear Iran “is not some artificial emotion whipped up by Israel.”

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