Sunday, November 28, 2010

Jpost Analysis/ Israel and Mideast leaders alarm on Iran is still on snooze

Based on the trove of diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks on Sunday, the United States is clearly listening to and recording what Middle Eastern leaders have to say about Iran. The question left unanswered is what the US is willing to do about it.

For years now, top Israeli political and defense leaders have warned the world that a nuclear Iran is not just a threat to the Jewish state but is a threat to the entire region.

“If only we could say publicly what we hear behind closed doors,” Israeli officials would comment, following off-record talks they held with Arab leaders throughout the Middle East.

Well, now they can. According to one cable published by WikiLeaks on Sunday, Saudi King Abdullah “frequently exhorted the US to attack Iran to put an end to its nuclear weapons program” and to cut off the head of the snake.

According to another cable, King Hamad of Bahrain, a country with a majority Shi’ite population, urged in a meeting with former CENTCOM commander Gen.

David Petraeus that action be taken to terminate Iran’s nuclear program.

“That program must be stopped,” Hamad said, according to the cable. “The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it.”

Jordan, another country that voiced concern, is uncomfortable with the possibility that a nuclear Iran would provide an umbrella for opposition groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt is also challenged by Iran’s continued nuclear development, as shown by the conviction in April of 26 men who were spying for Hizbullah and plotting attacks in Egypt.

From an Israeli perspective, therefore, it would not be an exaggeration to say that WikiLeaks may have done the country a service on Sunday. By presenting the Arab leaders as more extreme in their remarks than Israeli leaders, the cables show the dissonance in the region and the danger involved in allowing Iran to continue with its nuclear program.

At the end of the day, though, none of this has changed the state of affairs regarding global efforts to stop Iran. While the UN has ratcheted up sanctions and the US is threatening more and tougher ones, the Teheran regime is continuing to defy the international community and to enrich uranium, making it today just a jump away from creating a nuclear weapon whenever it wants.