Arabs Urged US to Launch Attack on Iran, but Talk is Cheap: Cole in the Guardian

My essay on the implications of the wikileaks revelations about Sunni Arab states urging the US to launch a surgical strike on Iranian nuclear facilities is up at The Guardian. (Scroll down).

Excerpt:

” The WikiLeaks revelation that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia repeatedly urged Washington to “cut off the head of the snake” and launch a surgical air strike on Iranian nuclear enrichment facilities sounds more sensational than it actually is. The elderly monarch risked nothing by his urgings, which put all the onus, and the possible backlash, on the United States.”

Read the whole thing.

12 Responses

  1. Robert Fisk writing in the London Independent points out many of the “embarrassing” revelations in leaked documentss actually point out the cost in blood of insane policies pretending an US or UN effort can make any semblance of a western democracy in Afghanistan.
    [As usual, the Arabs knew. They knew all about the mass torture, the promiscuous shooting of civilians, the outrageous use of air power against family homes, the vicious American and British mercenaries, the cemeteries of the innocent dead. All of Iraq knew. Because they were the victims.
    Only we could pretend we did not know. Only we in the West could counter every claim, every allegation against the Americans or British with some worthy general – the ghastly US military spokesman Mark Kimmitt and the awful chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Peter Pace, come to mind – to ring-fence us with lies. Find a man who’d been tortured and you’d be told it was terrorist propaganda; discover a house full of children killed by an American air strike and that, too, would be terrorist propaganda, or “collateral damage”, or a simple phrase: “We have nothing on that.”]
    link to independent.co.uk

  2. The WikiLeaks revelation that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia repeatedly urged Washington to “cut off the head of the snake” and launch a surgical air strike on Iranian nuclear enrichment facilities sounds more sensational than it actually is. The elderly monarch risked nothing by his urgings, which put all the onus, and the possible backlash, on the United States

    Juan, it really seems like you’re downplaying evidence that doesn’t nicely fit into your worldview. The ‘sensational’ part of that statement is the fact that most Arab nations see Iran as a regional threat, much as Israel does.

    • I’d be very cautious with any interpretation of these leaks, they need to be replaced in their context :

      a) One Arab leader was speaking to a US diplomate. He may have tried to tell him what the US wanted to hear, just to pleases him.
      b) These words, whatever they were, were translated by a US diplomate. He may also have written what he thought his bosses wanted to hear… or he may have interpreted things : giving them more importance, or more emphases than they had.

      All these leaks should be analysed carefully and in their context in order to be interpreted correctly. The main important thing is decoding what was only said to please the interlocutors (and there are at least two of them involved) and what was a genuine request.

  3. these arab leaders are actually dicatators. If religion is important to mubarak of Egypt, then he would not have allowed his puppets scholars presiding in Azhar to issue anti-islamic fatwas on the “niqab”, “interest”, and alcohol selling in non-Muslim countries.

    I can understand why Bahrain wants to cut of Iran’s head [because Iran was responsible for a number of shiite coups within the country that failed miserably]

    I have seen mubarak pray in the mosque. His posture is not according to basic Sunni fiqh. He does not know basic posture as taught to kids when they learn the jurisprudence of how to do salah. The point is, mubarak does not know much about his religion.

    If he were a true Sunni Muslim, he would have known how spiritual the Islamic faith is, and what the masses of Islamic Sufi Masters buried in his country [such as the great Abul Hasan al-Shadhili] taught, about not harming other Muslims. Iran is a Muslim country, and in it reside Muslims. If mubarak cannot see that, then clearly religion is not motivating him [and as shown he was not religious after all]. Its all the worldly gain of power, money, more power, more money thats the culprit. What can we expect from dictators?

    Most Muslim countries are ruled by dictators, including Iran.

    • QUOTE”If he were a true Sunni Muslim, he would have known how spiritual the Islamic faith is, and what the masses of Islamic Sufi Masters buried in his country [such as the great Abul Hasan al-Shadhili] taught, about not harming other Muslims. Iran is a Muslim country, and in it reside Muslims.”

      This is why ‘Iran, Saudi Arabia etc’ are dangerous.Nothing truly exists to these radicals other than those laid down by their “belief”and will go to any length to enforce these tenets on the rest of the world that is not ‘muslim”.

  4. Dear Professor Cole

    I suspect you may have missed the point of the whole brouha.

    What you are actually seeing is an instance of cyberwar, in this case instead of shutting down the world’s financial trading system, or turning off the electrcitiy control systems for a few cities, they have opened up world access to a database of candid views on allies and enemies of the declining superpower.

    It destroys quite a bit of US soft power, as reading through many of the examples casues one to come away confirmed in the view that “USA is Baaad!!!” and confirms much of the Left Wing comment for many years that it is a poodle for the Outlaw State of Israel.

    Wikileaks is a “Non State Actor” equivalent to the 19th century Anarchists, and the potential to cause damage bears out much of the analysis in the British Government’s recent National Security Strategy.

    link to chathamhouse.org.uk

    Just as a few individuals who hijacked four aircraft in 2001 caused major upheaval in the world and brought about two wars in retalliation and a financial catastrophe arising from the need to pay for them, this destabilisation of the messaging systems of the US government is likely to lead to accidents.

    The loose cannon aspect of the 19th century anarchists eventually led to an Archduke’s driver taking a wrong turn in Sarajevo, bringing his passengers into the field of fire of a boy with a handgun.

    Sadly I suspect we are seeing the lighting of a few fuses towards the powderkegs in the Middle East and South West Asia.

    Still, looking on the bright side, the revelation that Mr Lieberman is The Kremlin’s Agent in Place or Agent of Influence might finally lead to his arrest and incarceration

  5. Right on the money Prof. Cole. For instance, Lebanese PM Saad Hariri is in Tehran waltzing with the Ayatollah as we speak.

    “In line with its stable principles, Lebanon would never join any international grouping which pursues pressures on the Islamic Republic of Iran and has always condemned such moves,” Hariri told reporters in a joint press conference with Iran’s First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi here in Tehran on Monday.
    link to english.farsnews.com

  6. OK…we bomb Iran. The strait is closed down. Oil goes to 250 a barrel. Sounds like a win-win for the Saudis…and they haven’t even lifted a finger to triple their profit . Sounds like a typical US mission.

    All the while, the neocons are loading up on oil futures. There is a big profit to be made here.

  7. “The ‘sensational’ part of that statement is the fact that most Arab nations see Iran as a regional threat, much as Israel does.”

    No most Arab tyrants see Iran as a threat on American orders following Israeli governmental incitements.

  8. I think your title is misleading. If by “cheap” you mean financially then as Don above pointed out, a conflict is good for Saudi bottom line. They don’t mind sharing some of that with uncle Sam.

    I think the thing you should point out is that Saudis, Kuwaitis, Qatar, Dubai… were all supporting and encouraging Saddam in his invasion of Iran. There is nothing new in these monarchs wanting to destroy Iran’s independence. They must see the Iranians as a threat to their monarchies and dictatorships. This is even with the Ahmadinejad which Iranians feels is becoming a dictator in Iran. Now you can imagine the fear they would have if Iranian democratic movements manage to go further and establish an even more democratic regime in Iran..

    What Saudis must be feeling is that US disposed Saddam now they are asking US to do the work that Saddam was doing in the middle east. They see Obama the same way they saw Saddam, a tool to be used to extend their corrupt system.

    They want US to invade Iran, get the Shiites in Iraq back to 2nd class citizen, and end Kurdish independence movements. Every one of them are threat to Saudi monarch. He can’t stand any form of democratic movements, he has no time for any ideas other than his Wahabi brand of Islam, and the last thing he wants is for ethnic groups gaining any form of independence.

    He must have argued for Saddam in the past which fell on deaf ears of Bush. Now he is calling Obama to step in and fill the void of Saddam!

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