WikiLeaks, Iran, and the US’s Arab allies: What the corporate media are not saying


Sorely lacking in all the attention given to the WikiLeaks cables is an analysis of the functioning of empire. While the cables may not reveal anything radically new, particularly to an astute left-liberal audience, it does offer a concrete snapshot of the workings of US policy. And if nothing else it provides proof positive that governments lie. The US lies to its people, and its allies lie to theirs.

For instance, the US has been at war with the people of Yemen for the last year, sporadically dropping bombs anywhere it likes. An Amnesty international investigation found that an air strike in December, 2009 killed dozens of local residents, leading them to state that “those responsible for unlawful killings must be brought to justice.”

But the US will definitely not be brought to justice. And certainly not with loyal allies like Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who are more than willing to lie. In a conversation with General David Petraeus, Saleh, trying to save face domestically for the US airstrikes, said: “We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours.” Petraeus in exchange guaranteed that US foreign aid to Yemen would more than double in 2010.

For instance, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates urged US General Abizaid to take action against Iran “this year or next.” In another cable, bin Zayed, echoing Israeli language, stated that Iran should be not be appeased since “Ahmadinejad is Hitler.”

Bahrain’s King Hamad ibn Isa al-Khalifa, another close US ally, is quoted in one cable as calling “forcefully for taking action to terminate [Iran’s] nuclear program, by whatever means necessary.” Bahrain hosts the US’s Fifth Fleet, the naval command responsible for the Persian Gulf.

Other cables show that Qatar is willing to let the US use an airbase in that country to bomb Iran. This would not be the first time the US has used this particular airbase, having previously mounted air attacks from here on Iraq. Qatar is willing to foot the lion share of the bill to maintain this airbase for US war games in the region.

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, one cable shows, made repeated entreaties to the US to attack Iran and “cut off the head of the snake.” Saudi Arabia, at the biding of the US, also met with Chinese representatives to seek their consent for US-sponsored sanctions on Iran and agreed to supply China with oil as a way to reduce its dependence on Iranian oil. Saudi Arabia was then permitted to buy $60 billion in military hardware, following faithfully the script of a seven-decade-old relationship between the two countries based on “oil for security.”

Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak’s statements drip with contempt for Iran. In a meeting with Sen. John Kerry, a memo states that Mubarak exclaimed that the Iranians “are big, fat liars and justify their lies because they believe it is for a higher purpose.”

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