Included in 250,000 documents being released by WikiLeaks this week was a secret diplomatic cable that indicated Saudi King Abdullah had urged the US ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, to use force to stop Iran’s nuclear program.
According to the document, Abdullah repeatedly requested that the US attack Iran. Other leaked documents also described how other Arab countries pushed for military action.
One cable said the Saudi king “frequently exhorted the US to attack Iran to put an end to its nuclear weapons program,” the British newspaper Guardian reported.
The Saudi Ambassador to the US, Adel al-Jubeir, recalled in April 2008, “[Abdullah] told you [Americans] to cut off the head of the snake.”
Al-Jubeir added “that working with the US to roll back Iranian influence in Iraq is a strategic priority for the King and his government.”
Guardian noted that the “cables also highlight Israel’s anxiety to preserve its regional nuclear monopoly, its readiness to go it alone against Iran — and its unstinting attempts to influence American policy.”
In June 2009, Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak estimated that there was a window “between six and 18 months from now in which stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons might still be viable,” one cable claimed.
After that window, “any military solution would result in unacceptable collateral damage,” Barak said.
Guardian made the following additional observations about the leaked cables:
• Officials in Jordan and Bahrain have openly called for Iran’s nuclear program to be stopped by any means, including military.
• Leaders in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt referred to Iran as “evil”, an “existential threat” and a power that “is going to take us to war”.
• Robert Gates, the US defense secretary, warned in February that if diplomatic efforts failed, “we risk nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, war prompted by an Israeli strike, or both”.
• Major General Amos Yadlin, Israeli’s military intelligence chief, warned last year: “Israel is not in a position to underestimate Iran and be surprised like the US was on 11 September 2001.”
US state department spokesman PJ Crowley told the paper that it was policy not to comment on leaked material.