Breaking News from the Wikileaks Diplomatic Cables

In reading all the news articles and listening to all the cable shows, I bet you never learned any of the following:  

According to a February 2007 cable, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi only appeared hawkish on Iran because he had a “strong…interest in acquiring advanced military technology.” In fact, the cable reported, Abu Dhabi was “clearly nervous about any U.S. actions that could upset [Iran].”

According to a February 2009 cable, a senior foreign ministry official (the son of Kuwait’s prime minister) warned that “any effort to disrupt the nuclear program, either military or through tough sanctions ‘would go badly for the West.'”

According to an April 2009 cable, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi told American officials that a “military solution would only delay [Iran’s nuclear] program, not derail it;” that “war with Iran would only harm the UAE;” and that a military strike “would have little impact on Iran’s capabilities.”

According to a July 2009 cable, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi said “the key to containing Iran revolves around progress in the Israel/Palestine issue.”

According to a February 2010 cable, the foreign minister of Abu Dhabi warned that “crisis or confrontation in the region would create oil supply problems worldwide.” He then delivered a “soliloquy on the importance of a successful peace process between Israel and its neighbors as perhaps the best way of reducing Iran’s regional influence.”

According to a February 2010 cable, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia “had concluded that he needs to proceed with his strategy to counter Iranian influence in the region.” This strategy focused on reconciliation between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, as well as diplomacy with Russia, China and India.

According to a February 2010 cable, the emir of Qatar refused to “provoke a fight” with Iran because Iran “has not bothered us.”

Now ask yourself whether this information changes the black-and-white picture that the newspaper headlines portrayed. Maybe the Middle East isn’t the place you thought it was — or the place you were told it was.

(My admiration goes to reporters Gareth Porter and Jim Lobe for uncovering these facts.)