Berlin – Never mind the Fleet Street–style diplomatic chitchat about European leaders; the most interesting thing to come from the latest WikiLeaks round is Arab world leaders’ being forced to come out of the diplomatic closet and declare Iran’s regime the number one enemy in the Middle East.
According to one cable, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah “frequently exhorted the US to attack Iran to put an end to its nuclear weapons program.” In 2008, the king’s envoy to Washington told Gen. David Petraeus to “cut off the head of the snake” in the Islamic Republic.
While Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and Oman have long privately conveyed such warnings to diplomats, they never had the courage to flex their muscles in public. That helps to explain why European policymakers (and corporations seeking to avoid losing major business deals with the radical regime) frequently chalked up Iran’s jingoism to American and Israeli hyperbole. But Iran is a threat not only to the democratic Jewish state but to many of the region’s Arab states as well. The logical corollary: Tehran’s rulers are endangering global security, thus there is a pressing need for an immediate, comprehensive embargo of Iran’s energy and financial sectors.
In the Israeli media, defense analysts are concluding that the leaked comments vindicate Israel’s longstanding position on the need for swift and powerful action against Iran’s out-of-control regime. And the European media? The editors of Der Spiegel are expressing joy at the collapse of American foreign-policy might; Bill Kristol deconstructs their delight here.
— Benjamin Weinthal is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.