Monday, November 29, 2010

Even paranoids have enemies....

Wikileaks has posted a July, 2009 cable from the American Embassy in Abu Dhabi to the State Department, which doesn't have the "Ahmedinejad is Hitler" quote but does have many interesting statements by and about Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ in the cable). This cable refers to a dinner meeting held on July 15, 2009 between Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ) and Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan (ABZ). [I am starting to wonder if there was an editing error in the Times' story on the July, 2009 cables about meetings with Mohammed bin Zayed - it will be interesting to see if some corroboration appears for the quote].

Some of the more interesting details:

From the summary: "He [MBZ] painted to a nuclear Iran as an existential threat to the UAE and invoked the well being of his grandchildren while urging the U.S. to act quickly. MBZ asked for close coordination between the U.S. and UAE to deal with the Iranian threat."

On the Iranian threat: "MBZ described a nuclear armed Iran as absolutely untenable. He pointed to Iran's relentless ambitions to restore regional hegemony as evidenced by destabilizing interference in Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Palestine. He believes that 'all hell will break loose' if Iran attains the bomb, with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey developing their own nuclear weapons capability and Iran instigating Sunni - Shia conflict throughout the world. He said Iran is surrounding Israel - driven by ideological conviction - and will threaten Israel's existence should it go nuclear. At the same time, he described Iran's ambitions as reflecting a desire to restore Persia's great-power status, rather than driven by religious convictions." [Emphasis mine - RL]

On war with Iran: "While careful not to suQY.JQoWoRth [word is garbled on Wikileaks site] Iran, MBZ described a near term conventional war with Iran as clearly preferable to the long term consequences of a nuclear armed Iran. Without timely and decisive action by the United States, MBZ believes that Israel will strike Iran, causing Iran to launch missile attacks - including hits on the UAE - and to unleash terror attacks worldwide. In his view, 'the map of the Middle East' would change. He expects widespread civilian conflict to erupt as Iran sparks Sunni - Shia violence worldwide (including the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia which he sees as the greatest vulnerability, along with Iraq, in the Arab world). He speculated that such an event could unfold within six months time and resolved that the UAE is prepared to defend itself. He believes that an Israeli strike will not be successful in stopping Iran's nuclear program, and therefore we need to plan."

On why Israeli-Palestinian agreement is important in this context: "MBZ suggested that the key to containing Iran revolves around progress in the Israel/Palestine issue. He argued that it will be essential to bring Arab public opinion on board in any conflict with Iran and roughly 80% of the public is amenable to persuasion. To win them over, the U.S. should quickly bring about a two state solution over the objections of the Netanyahu government. He suggested working with moderate Palestinians that support the road map, and forget about the others as there is no time to waste." This is interesting to me - what he is suggesting is that when it comes to Iran, the I/P conflict isn't important in and of itself, but rather for the purpose of gaining the support of Arab public opinion in any action against Iran. As long as the I/P conflict exists, Iran can exploit it in order to gain the support of Arab public opinion.

Another July, 2009 cable, recounts the 7/19/09 Gulf Security Dialogue working dinner hosted by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed. More relevant remarks on Iran:

"MbZ reiterated his belief that an Israeli pre-emptive strike against Iran was increasingly likely, saying he was convinced the Netanyahu government was prepared to act against Iran, and that he agreed with Israeli intelligence assessments regarding how close Tehran is to achieving its nuclear ambitions. The Iranian response to a pre-emptive strike, predicted MbZ, would be attacks on U.S. allies in the region, foremost among them the UAE; Iran may also unleash terrorist cells against western interests around the world. ASD Vershbow explained that the USG assessment differed in timeframe -- we do not anticipate military confrontation with Iran before the end of 2009 -- stressing, however, that denying Iran's nuclear ambitions and stemming its efforts to achieve regional hegemony were foremost among U.S. international security concerns." We have now arrived almost at the end of 2010, and there still has been no military confrontation with Iran.

1 comment:

  1. "To win them over, the U.S. should quickly bring about a two state solution over the objections of the Netanyahu government. He suggested working with moderate Palestinians that support the road map, and forget about the others as there is no time to waste."

    The supposedly moderately Palestinian Arab with which Israel is to make a deal have stated their views rather clearly now. No recognition - not now, not ever - of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. No compromise on any demands. An expectation that Israel take in all refugees, etc., etc. No willingness to talk unless Israel concedes all East Jerusalem as Palestinian. Assertions that Jews have no connection with the Wailing Wall, etc., etc. In other words, this is all a joke.

    And, the supposedly competent Obama administration has screwed up even the idea of people talking. We supposedly had a deal with Netanyahu - one that the Israeli government wants in writing, presumably so that the rules of the game would be clear. That evidently turned out to be a bit more difficult.

    The main problem today, I hate to say, is Obama. Events are spinning out of control. As bad as Bush II was - and that is really bad -, Obama is even worse. He is a laughing stock of a president.

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