— Alan Elsner and Jennifer Packer
- Netanyahu: Time for Arab world to speak openly about Iran threat
- Iranian missiles could strike European capitals
- Iran also backing Terrorist Groups in Yemen
Publication of some 250,000 classified diplomatic cables by the Wikileaks website has exposed the fact that Arab states see Iran and its nuclear weapons program and not Israel as the real threat to Middle East stability and their own security.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the documents reinforced what Israel has been saying for years about the Iranian nuclear program.
“More and more countries, governments and leaders in the Middle East and the wider world understand that this is the fundamental threat,” Netanyahu said at a news conference in Tel Aviv. “I hope the leaders will have the courage to say to their nations publicly what they’ve said about Iran.”
More after the jump.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad responded that the leaks were deliberately released as part of a psychological warfare campaign against his country.
But an analysis from Reuters puts the truth in stark terms:
“The revelation confirm the depth of suspicion and hatred of the Shi’ites among Sunni Arab leaders, especially in Saudi Arabia, the leading Sunni power and which regards Iran as an existential threat.”
“Iran should take note of the distress that its nuclear program is causing in the region — this is not something that should be ignored,” said Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center.
In one key document King Hamad of Bahrain “argued forcefully for taking action to terminate the Iranian nuclear program, by whatever means necessary. “That program must be stopped,” he said. “The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it,” he said.
“The cables reveal how Iran’s ascent has unified Israel and many longtime Arab adversaries – notably the Saudis – in a common cause,” The New York Times said. “The United States had put together a largely silent front of Arab states whose positions on sanctions and a potential attack looked much like Israel’s.”
Among the important revelations in the documents, as published by The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel are the following:
- 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.”
- Iran has obtained advanced missiles from North Korea that could let it strike at Western European capitals and Moscow.
- Crown Prince bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi said in one cable: “Any culture that is patient and focused enough to spend years working on a single carpet is capable of waiting years and even decades to achieve even greater goals.” His greatest worry, he said, “is not how much we know about Iran, but how much we don’t.”
- Kuwait’s military intelligence chief told Petraeus Iran was supporting Shi’ite groups in the Gulf and extremists in Yemen.
- The United States failed to stop Syria from supplying arms to Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon, who have amassed tens of thousands of rockets aimed at Israel. One week after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad promised a top State Department official that he would not send new arms to Hezbollah, the United States it had information that Syria was providing increasingly sophisticated weapons to the group.
- Iran smuggled weapons to Hezballah in ambulances and medical vehicles in violation of international conventions. Hamas also used such vehicles for military and arms-smuggling operations.
- Iran withheld from the International Atomic Energy Agency the original design documents for a secret nuclear reactor.
Here are some sources for the raw materials: