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WikiLeaks on the Arab Gulf States vs. Iran | The Nation

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Robert Dreyfuss

Bob Dreyfuss

News of America's misadventures in foreign policy and defense.

WikiLeaks on the Arab Gulf States vs. Iran

Curious it is that Republicans, hardliners, and neoconservatives anxious to proclaim "American exceptionalism"—which, stripped down, means that America can and should do anything it wants around the world because it’s the greatest—are now trumpeting the fact that, according to Wikileaks at least, various leaders of the Arab Gulf kleptocracies are calling for the United States to attack Iran.

You’d think that the United States could safely ignore, and privately laugh at, the policy recommendations made by kings, royal sheiks and emirs of the gulf states. The leaders of these nations—and most of them, such as Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE, really don’t deserve to be called "nations"—are anyway for the most part puppets of the United States. Three of them (Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain) are essentially US-occupied territories, hosting American ground troops, naval forces and an air force base; and the fourth, the UAE, is not really populated by its own citizens but by imported South Asians, Iranians and others, and made up of a series of family-ruled sheikhdoms run by utterly corrupt and degenerate, inbred gangsters. They huddle in their palaces, praying that the United States will protect them from their own people, from actual Arab citizens—including the Palestinians, Syrians and Egyptians, whose remaining nationalists covet their oil wealth—and from rambunctious Iran to the north and east.

But the neocons, whose hearts lie in Tel Aviv, are happily citing the gulf potentates in their calls for war with Iran. (To wit, David Frum.)

It should be noted that, despite the neocons’ newfound attachment to the gulf rulers, it’s far too facile to believe that these rulers truly want a conflict with Iran. As they huddle in those palaces, they’re aware most of all that war with Iran would be an incalculable risk that could result in the very thing they fear most: the destabilization of the Persian Gulf and its shaky Arab kingdoms. So, to a great degree, the Arab potentates told their American interlocutors what they thought the United States wanted to hear, and US diplomats dutifully compiled those comments in their cables back to the State Department, now leaked. On the other hand, if the Arab rulers could wave their magic scepters and cause Iran (or at least its nuclear program) to disappear, they’d do so, and it’s in this context that one should read comments from the Arab Gulf states.

The Guardian has helpfully collected several dozen WikiLeaks cables about Iran and the gulf. The New York Times, which also got advance copies of the Wikileaks trove, summarizes much of what the Arab Gulf states and others said about Iran—including a Netanhyahu-like comment from Abu Dhabi’s crown prince that "Ahmadinejad is Hitler." But while the documents contain plenty of vitriol against Iran from the Arab leaders, it’s again important to note that the gulf potentates were uncertain at best about what action to take, precisely because they fear instability and war. As the Times reports, concerning the fears of the crown prince of Abu Dhabi:

The crown prince had relayed the Emirates’ fear that "it was only a matter of time before Israel or the U.S. would strike Iranian nuclear facility targets." That could provoke an outcome that the Emirates’ leadership considered "catastrophic": Iranian missile strikes on American military installations in nearby countries like the Emirates.

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