11/29/2010, 00.00
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Riyadh urged Washington “to attack Iran”

Wikileaks posts documents that show the Saudis wanted the US to bomb Iran to take out its nuclear programme. Early postings also show contemptuous comments about world leaders.

Riyadh (AsiaNews) – The King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah made “frequent exhortations” to United States to “attack Iran and put an end” to its nuclear weapons programme, this according to one of the cables sent by a US diplomatic mission to the US State Department that was released yesterday by Wikileaks and published in five of the world’s major newspapers: New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, El Pais and Der Spiegel.

Wikileaks posted only 200 of 2,170,000 stolen files. They show that some Arab countries urged the United States to move against Iran. “Cut off the head of the snake,” the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, quotes the Saudi king as saying during a meeting with US General David Petraeus.

Iran comes up several times in other leaked documents. In June 2009, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said that it was necessary to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear material within 6 to 18 months. Last year, Major-General Amos Yadlin, the IDF’s Military Intelligence was quoted as saying that Israel was not in a position to underestimate Iran and be surprised like the United States was on 9/11.

In May 2009, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu told US diplomats that he agreed with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that a nuclear Iran would force all other countries in the region to build their own nuclear weapons, and that it would be the greatest threat to non-proliferation since the Cuba missile crisis.

Jordanian and Bahraini officials also urged the Americans to stop the Iranian nuclear programme by any means. The leaders of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt described Iran as “evil”, an “existential threat”, and a power that “is going to take us to war”.

Speaking to US diplomats, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa said “the danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it,” whilst the former president of the Jordanian Senate Zeid Rifai is quoted as telling a US official, “Bomb Iran, or live with an Iranian bomb. Sanctions, carrots, incentives won’t matter.”

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi was also in favour of action Iran. Speaking about Ahmadinejad, Zayed told US diplomats: “I believe this guy is going to take us to war.” In fact, “It's a matter of time. Personally, I cannot risk it with a guy like Ahmadinejad. He is young and aggressive.”

The documents also reveal contemptuous opinions about world leaders. French President Sarkozy is seen as a "naked emperor," the German Chancellor is called Angela "Teflon" Merkel, and Italian Prime Minister is treated as “the mouthpiece of [Russian Prime Minister] Putin”. Nothing new is said about US attitudes towards some Asian dictators. North Korea’s Kim Jong-il is seen as old and tired, whilst Chinese President Hu Jintao appears to be more interested in dominating Asia.

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