How WikiLeaks trove will affect US-Arab cooperation on Iran, Yemen
The WikiLeaks release of diplomatic cables could put Arab leaders in a tight spot – and make America's diplomatic dance a bit more awkward in the region.
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Another cable from 2009 quotes Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, also a close US ally, calling "forcefully for taking action to terminate [Iran's] nuclear program, by whatever means necessary." Bahrain hosts America's Fifth Fleet, the naval command responsible for the Persian Gulf – and thus likely to take a lead role in any confrontation with Iran.Skip to next paragraph
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Egypt has been somewhat more measured, expressing both alarm at Iran's ambitions and its own fears of how its people will react if it speaks out too forcefully or becomes publicly engaged. One cable describes a 2008 meeting between Sen. John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, in which the Egyptian president called the Iranians "big, fat liars" and state sponsors of terrorism. "But I cannot say it publicly. It would create a dangerous situation," the cable reported him as saying.
But Wayne White, former deputy director of Middle East desk at the State Department’s Bureau for Intelligence and Research, cautions that the revelations don't amount to Arab states seeking common cause with Israel.
“They don’t view themselves as part and parcel of some policy that Israel is a part of. They don’t see themselves in any kind of conspiracy, or as more amenable to things like being interested in contact with Israel,” says Mr. White, now a scholar with the Middle East Institute in Washington. “They fear Israel in this light: Israel is most likely to strike Iran and most likely to do it incompletely, leaving a wounded beast at their front door.”
Yemen's veil is lifted
Yemen too, is presented as reluctant to be honest with its own people about its relationship with the US on another key security question: the activity of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which appears to be ramping up attacks against the West – including the recent cargo bomb plot.