Saturday, January 8, 2011

Document Leaks Reveal Surprising Picture of Middle East

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, seen here with President Obama during a meeting last summer has suggested that the nations of the world, and particularly the U.S., must take strong action to protect the Middle East from the threat of Iran. Photo courtesy of the Saudi Arabian Embassy.
by Dr. Michael D. Evans

The release of hundreds of thousands of pages of confidential US State Department documents this past week revealed a number of embarrassingly frank assessments of international leaders; it also revealed some surprising relationships between Middle Eastern nations, particularly between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Though Israel and Saudi Arabia have no official relationship the common threat posed by Iran, particularly with the nuclear weapons program nearing completion has made the two nations unlikely allies. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has been urging the United States to take strong action, even including military strikes against Iran, telling them to "cut off the head of the snake."

Though Israel is certainly a primary target of Iran's future weapons, the ancient hatred between the Sunni and Shiite branches of Islam make the Arab nations of the Gulf region vulnerable to attack. Iran has both territorial, religious and economic incentives to either wage war on the Gulf oil states—or at minimum use the threat of nuclear attack as a means of obtaining concessions from the other nations.

Analysts fear that a nuclear Iran would spark a multi-billion dollar nuclear arms race across the Middle East as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Syria and other nations launched their own weapons programs to keep Iran from gaining a permanent advantage in the region. The destabilizing effect of adding nuclear states with such strong terrorist elements would impact the entire world.

Since neither the Bush nor Obama Administrations have taken any effective steps against Iran, King Abdullah has apparently offered to support Israel in taking military action. The Saudi king has reportedly told Israeli military officials through indirect diplomatic channels that the Arab nation will provide tactical help to facilitate an Israeli attack on Iran. Though Saudi Arabia joined much of the rest of the world in publicly condemning Israel's attack on Iraq's nuclear program in 1981, they privately supported the effort because of their fear of Saddam Hussein. Today it appears their fear of President Ahmadinejad and the mullahs of Teheran is leading to a similar conclusion.

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