Leaked cables from WikiLeaks, a non-profit media organization that has gained notoriety this year from publishing the Afghanistan War Logs and the Iraq War Logs, has touched off what may be the biggest diplomatic and international firestorm yet with the release of the first few hundred of over 250,000 U.S. State Department cables that allegedly were obtained by U.S. Army intelligence analyst PFC Bradley Manning.
The biggest thread from the leaked cables so far seems to be that Arab countries wish to isolate Iran as much as America. Many Arab countries in recent years seem to have been as suspicious of Iran as the U.S. That is what a large portion of the New York Times' coverage and Le Monde's coverage has focused on.
The cables released show: a United Arab Emirates' leadership convinced "the logic of war" dominates the region because of the existential threat an Iran with nuclear weapons would pose and thus the reason for "obsessive efforts to build up the UAE's armed forces," Saudi Arabia "urged" Iran's foreign minister to "spare us your evil," Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said al-Said told Admiral William Fallon, then commander of US CENTCOM, "Iran is a big country with muscles and we must deal with it," an Omani minister suggested Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar would desire a US attack on Iran, Kuwait's military intelligence chief told General David Petraeus that "Iran was supporting Shia groups in the Gulf and extremists in Yemen," General Omar Suleiman, intelligence chief of Egypt, called Iran "a significant threat to Egypt...supporting jihad and spoiling peace," and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek is described as someone with a "visceral hatred for the Islamic Republic" who sees "the Syrians and Qataris as sycophants to Tehran and liars themselves."
The contents of the cables show definitive diplomatic strains between Arab countries and Iran. While the leaked State Department cables that touch on Iran issues reveal scorn for Iran, they do not explain whether the scorn has a visible geopolitical basis or if, perhaps, information or intelligence from the US has contributed to the coloring of Arab leaders' worldviews.
Although the cable is from thirty years old, one cable might lead one to wonder if this is how the US still regards diplomatic efforts by Iranian leaders:
"THE DIFFICULTIES WE HAVE ENCOUNTERED ARE A PARTIAL REFLECTION ON THE EFFECTS OF THE IRANIAN REVOLUTION, BUT WE BELIEVE THE UNDERLYING CULTURAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL QUALITIES THAT ACCOUNT FOR THE NATURE OF THESE DIFFICULTIES ARE AND WILL REMAIN RELATIVELY CONSTANT"
"PERHAPS THE SINGLE DOMINANT ASPECT OF THE PERSIAN PSYCHE IS AN OVERRIDING EGOISM. ITS ANTECEDENTS LIE IN THE LONG IRANIAN HISTORY OF INSTABILITY AND INSECURITY WHICH PUT A PREMIUM ON SELF-PRESERVATION. THE PRACTICAL EFFECT OF IT IS AN ALMOST TOTAL PERSIAN PREOCCUPATION WITH SELF AND LEAVES LITTLE ROOM FOR UNDERSTANDING POINTS OF VIEW OTHER THAN ONE'S OWN"- Advertisement -
In addition to the cables dealing with Iran, other cables reveal: the Yemeni government was covering up US drone strikes against al Qaeda, the Chinese authorities possibly orchestrated a "hacking campaign" into computers of Google and Western governments, U.S. and South Korean officials' interest in creating a unified Korea should North Korea implode as a result of economic or political troubles, the US' unsuccessful effort since 2007 to remove "highly enriched uranium from a Pakistani research reactor out of fear it could be diverted for use in an illicit nuclear device," American diplomatic bargaining with countries like Slovenia to "help empty the Guantanamo prison by resettling detainees," Saudi donors continuing to act as chief financiers of Sunni militant groups like al Qaeda, and an absurd but sadly typical instance where Afghanistan's vice president Ahmed Zia Massoud was found to be carrying $52 million while visiting the UAE and was "ultimately allowed to keep" the money "without revealing the money's origin or destination."