Wednesday, 1 December 2010

WikiLeaks says Israel torn on U.S. arming Arabs against Iran

WikiLeaks disclosures from July 2009 document Israeli and U.S. defense delegates debating the merits of arming Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab states given doubts over whether Iran can be denied the means for developing nuclear weaponry.

Hearing the Israelis' objections to the planned sale of F-15 fighters and missiles to the Saudis, State Department official Andrew Shapiro argues for "a commonality of interests with the Gulf States, which also view Iran as the preeminent threat."

"We should take advantage of this commonality," he says.

Shapiro's line appears supported elsewhere in the Wikileaks trove, which includes an account of Saudi Arabia urging the United States to attack Iran preemptively.

One Arab leader echoes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by likening Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Hitler. Another voices empathy for Israel in considering offensive military options against its arch-foe.

Yet Netanyahu is quoted as warning that should Iran get the bomb despite U.S.-led efforts to curb its uranium enrichment, Arab powers could shift loyalties from Washington to Tehran.

This spells a quandary for the Israeli envoys who have long handled negotiations on both securing Israel's "Qualitative Military Edge" with the most advanced U.S.-supplied arms, and ensuring that the Arabs -- some of them old foes -- get less.

According to the U.S. embassy cable from July 2009, "Israel understands U.S. policy intentions to arm moderate Arab states in the region to counter the Iranian threat, and prefers such sales originate from the United States instead of other countries like Russia or China."

But Pinchas Buchris, a top Israeli defense official at the time, is described as having "stated bluntly that it was not clear to him where U.S. policy was heading with regard to Iran."

Senior Israeli diplomat Alon Bar adds: "A perceived closure in the capability gap between Israel and Arab states, coupled with a nuclear-armed Iran, could compel moderate Arab states to reassess the notion that Israel was a fixture in the region."

1 comment:

  1. These WikiLeaks show that Israel is the only country in the Middle East with an open and honest foreign policy: . A lesson which we should keep in mind for further Middle East negotiations.