Main points of WikiLeaks documents on the Gulf and Iran
US diplomatic memos from Arab countries in the Gulf released by WikiLeaks uncover a fixation on the Iranian threat as well as fear that conflict is inevitable.india Updated: Nov 29, 2010 20:12 IST
US diplomatic memos from Arab countries in the Gulf released by WikiLeaks uncover a fixation on the Iranian threat as well as fear that conflict is inevitable.
Here are some of the key points in the memos:
On Iran's nuclear push:
- Saudi King Abdullah has repeatedly pressed the United States to attack Iran to halt its nuclear programme, saying the US should "cut off the head of the snake," according to an April 2008 memo. But Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal stresses tougher sanctions over a military response.
- Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed as early as 2005 expressed support for military action against Iran. "I believe this guy is going to take us into war," he said in 2006 of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "Al-Qaeda is not going to get a nuclear bomb; Iran is a matter of time," he said in 2009.
- King Hamad of Bahrain told US General David Petraeus in November 2009: "That programme must be stopped .... The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it."
- Kuwait Interior Minister Jaber Khaled al-Sabah believes "the US will not be able to avoid a military conflict with Iran, if it is serious in its intention to prevent Tehran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability," according to a February 2010 report.
- Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum is not in favour of military action, worrying about the "dire" consequences for the region, according to two 2007 memos.
On nuclear weapons proliferation in the Gulf:
- Several Gulf governments warned that if Iran goes nuclear, they could too -- or that they could invite foreign powers to place nuclear weapons on their territory.
- Saudi King Abdullah told a US official "that if Iran succeeded in developing nuclear weapons, everyone in the region would do the same, including Saudi Arabia," according to a February 2010 memo.
- Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed warned in 2009 that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey would develop nuclear weapons if Iran acquired them.
- Qatar's Emir Hamad bin Khalifa dismisses the threats of proliferation, saying they are only to scare Iran, according to a February 2010 memo.
On Iraq and Iran:
Many governments believe Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is an agent of Tehran.
On security cooperation:
- Qatar is the "worst in the region" in counter-terror cooperation, according to a 2009 memo.
On financing of radical groups:
- Saudi Arabia, though not the government, remains the main source of funds for Al-Qaeda, the US believes, according to a memo in 2009.
- Hamas receives money from "official and private contributions" from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed told American visitors. It is "easy to take one million dollars in a suitcase" to Lebanon, he told them in 2006, according to an April 2006 report.
On talks with the Taliban:
- A February 11, 2010 memorandum confirms that the Saudis were taking a role in talks with the Taliban, but that Saudi intelligence chief Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz does not want this made public until an agreement is reached.
- Except for Qatar, Gulf states are convinced Iran was behind the Huthi rebellion in Yemen's northwest in 2009 that spilled over into Saudi Arabia. But when US officials ask for concrete evidence, nothing is provided, according to several reports on meetings. Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Turki al-Kabeer said in a January 2010 meeting with US officials that the Huthis' arms and funding were too good and their field techniques similar to pro-Iranian groups in Iraq.
- Qatar says the Huthis have just gripes against the Sanaa government, according to a December 2009 report.
- In a January 2, 2010 meeting with General Petraeus, Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh refused US requests to place US personnel on the ground inside Al-Qaeda occupied areas. "You cannot enter the operations area and you must stay in the joint operations centre," Saleh responded.
- Saleh acknowledged helping cover up US military strikes inside Yemen against Al-Qaeda targets. "We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours," he said.
First Published: Nov 29, 2010 18:18 IST