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Monday, November 29, 2010

Who are the hawks on Iran?

One of the amazing things that's come out of the Wikileaks treasure trove of documents is that the issue of who is pushing for a strike against Iran is finally settled. For months now, the Left has dismissed as 'neocon speculation' the idea that the Arab countries are even more concerned by the prospect of a nuclear Iran than Israel is. But the Left is totally wrong about that. In fact, the Arab countries have been pushing the US - at least since 2005 - to take military action against Iran.

This is from a cable of a meeting between Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and a visiting National Defense University delegation. The meeting took place on May 16, 2005:
(S) Turning to Iran, MbZ voiced certainty that the EU-3 efforts with Iran would break down and that Iran would resume its nuclear activities ) if it had not already done so. Repeating concerns first voiced to us in February (reftel), MbZ appeared convinced that it was only a matter of time before Israel or the U.S. would strike Iranian nuclear facility targets. U.S. installations in the Gulf could be targeted by Iran in the aftermath of such an action, he warned. MbZ agreed with the USG,s tough line with Tehran and the Europeans. A nuclear-armed Iran would destabilize the Gulf region and possibly allow terrorist access to WMD. MbZ asked Lt. Gen. Dunn whether it would be possible for &anyone8 to "take out" all locations of concern in Iran via air power; Lt. Gen. Dunn voiced doubt that this would be possible given the dispersed locations. "Then it will take ground forces!" MbZ exclaimed. Ambassador noted that the UAE's Director of Military Intelligence, BG Essa al Mazrouei, would pay counterpart visits this week to CENTCOM, J-2, DIA, and CIA for discussions on Iran and Iraq-related matters. MbZ said he looked forward to sharing "contingency planning" scenarios in future conversations.
Saudi King Abdullah urged US Ambassador Ryan Crocker to 'cut off the head of the snake,' with the snake being Iran.
According to the leaked document, part of the conversation between King Abdullah and the US officials touched on Saudi attitudes towards Iran, its influence in Iraq and the need to increase pressure on the Islamic Republic.

The cable quotes former Saudi Ambassador to the US Adel al-Jubeir recalling, "the King's frequent exhortations to the US to attack Iran and so put an end to its nuclear weapons program. 'He told you to cut off the head of the snake,' he recalled to the Charge, adding that working with the US to roll back Iranian influence in Iraq is a strategic priority for the King and his government."

The document says that the Saudi foreign minister called for "severe US and international sanctions on Iran, including a travel ban and further restrictions on bank lending." It added that, "the foreign minister also stated that the use of military pressure against Iran should not be ruled out."

In its assessment, the US Embassy cable concluded that the Saudis, "are eager to work with the US to resist and reverse Iranian encroachment in Iraq."
That document is here. It's from April 2008 (before Obama took office) and it turns out that David Petraeus was at that meeting.

More to follow.

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