Proof Arab states fear Iran, says Israel


MIDDLE EAST RESPONSE:ISRAEL SAYS the documents made public by WikiLeaks prove what Jerusalem has been saying for years: Arab states recognise Iran is the biggest regional threat but were afraid to say so in public.

According to the documents, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia repeatedly urged the US to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities, warning if Iran developed nuclear weapons “everyone in the region would do the same”. Officials from Arab Gulf states and Jordan were also quoted as urging Washington to act to prevent Teheran acquiring a nuclear potential.

According to the documents, Israeli defence minister Ehud Barak told US officials in 2009 the world had six to 18 months to deal with Iran’s nuclear programme. The outgoing head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service, Meir Dagan, proposed using student democracy activists and ethnic minorities in Iran to promote regime change.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the WikiLeaks revelations had caused no damage to Israel, but rather had vindicated Israeli warnings that Iran was a threat to the entire region.

“For the first time in history, there is agreement that Iran is the threat. If [Arab] leaders start saying openly what they have long been saying behind closed doors, we can make a real breakthrough on the road to peace,” he said.

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed the leaked calls from Arab leaders to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities as “mischief” and a “Satanic plot”. He alleged the leaks were an “organised” effort by the US to stir trouble between Iran and its Arab neighbours, describing the documents as “psychological warfare”.

The leaks caused embarrassment to the Palestinian leadership. According to one of the documents, Israel tried to co-ordinate the Gaza war of December 2008 with both Egypt and Fatah, the movement headed by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

Despite the claim by Mr Netanyahu Israel was not harmed by the leaks, one of the US diplomatic documents quoted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak describing the Israeli prime minister as “elegant and charming, but a man who does not keep promises”.