Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region urged US to attack
Iran and destroy its nuclear facilities, The Guardian reported
citing the secret US diplomatic communications leaked Sunday by
whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.
The revelations of secret memos from US embassies across the
Middle East expose behind-the-scenes pressures i the scramble to
contain the Islamic Republic, which the US, Arab states and Israel
suspect is close to acquiring nuclear weapons.
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was recorded as having "frequently
exhorted the US to attack Iran to put an end to its nuclear
weapons programme", said the paper which was among the few media
outlets that have been given access to the over 250,000 diplomatic
cables by Wikileaks.
"He told you (Americans) to cut off the head of the snake," the
Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir said, according to
a report on Abdullah's meeting with the US general David Petraeus
in April 2008.
King Abdullah warned the Americans that if Iran developed nuclear
weapons "everyone in the region would do the same, including Saudi
The documents also describe how other Arab allies of the US have
secretly agitated for military action against Tehran.
Israel's defence minister Ehud Barak estimated in June 2009 that
there was a window of "between six and 18 months from now in which
stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons might still be
viable". After that, Barak said, "any military solution would
result in unacceptable collateral damage."
Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, warned in February that if
diplomatic efforts failed, "we risk nuclear proliferation in the
Middle East, war prompted by an Israeli strike, or both".
Israeli's military intelligence chief, Major General Amos Yadlin,
warned last year: "Israel is not in a position to underestimate
Iran and be surprised like the US was on Sep 11 2001."
"If the Iranians continue to protect and harden their nuclear
sites, it will be more difficult to target and damage them," the
US embassy reported Israeli defence officials as saying in
The US embassy reported: "The IDF (Israeli Defence Force),
however, strikes us as more inclined than ever to look toward a
military strike, whether launched by Israel or by us, as the only
way to destroy or even delay Iran's plans."
The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, told US officials
in May last year that he and the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak,
agreed that a nuclear Iran would lead others in the region to
develop nuclear weapons, resulting in "the biggest threat to
non-proliferation efforts since the Cuban missile crisis".
The leaked US cables say that officials in Jordan and Bahrain have
openly called for Iran's nuclear programme to be stopped by any
means, including military.
Leaders in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt termed
Iran as "evil", an "existential threat" and a power that "is going
to take us to war".
In a conversation with a US diplomat, King Hamad bin Isa
al-Khalifa of Bahrain "argued forcefully for taking action to
terminate their (Iran's) nuclear programme, by whatever means
necessary. That programme must be stopped. The danger of letting
it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it."
Zeid Rifai, then president of the Jordanian senate, told a senior
US official: "Bomb Iran, or live with an Iranian bomb. Sanctions,
carrots, incentives won't matter."
In talks with US officials, Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammad
bin Zayed favoured action against Iran, sooner rather than later.
"I believe this guy is going to take us to war ... It's a matter
of time. Personally, I cannot risk it with a guy like (President
Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad. He is young and aggressive."