hawkish attitude toward Iran by many Arab leaders. Right wing commentators have used these reports to argue there is a new “international consensus” for a hard line against Iran.
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia “frequently exhorted the US to attack Iran” said one report. Bahrain’s King Hamad told the US “that [nuclear] program must be stopped… letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it”.
A Jordanian official urged the US to stop Iran “by any means” while an Egyptian general told the US, “Egypt views Iran as a threat to the region.”
Also revealed is a threat by Israel to strike Iran unilaterally.
But this “consensus” only exposes the lack of democracy among the US’s key allies in the region. The opinions of the Arab masses differ dramatically from those who rule over them.
A recent survey of 3976 people spread across Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates confirmed this. When asked which two countries posed the biggest threat, 88 per cent said Israel, 77 per cent said the US, and only 10 per cent nominated Iran.
Seventy seven per cent said Iran had a right to develop a nuclear program while 57 per cent even said it would be a “positive thing” for the Middle East if Iran developed nuclear weapons.
The US’s hegemony over the region rests on two legs. One is the arming and financing of the racist state of Israel. The other is support for a series of corrupt and repressive regimes. The US’s key allies include the absolute monarchies in the Persian Gulf and the dictatorships of Egypt and Jordan.
What binds these rulers to the West is their common interest in plundering the region’s people and resources.
They have struck a deal where in exchange for being able to keep their own positions they support overall US control of the Middle East. They hate Iran simply because it poses a challenge to their own dominance of the region.
This small layer of local sheiks, entrepreneurs, and generals have made vast fortunes—in partnership with western multinationals—from the region’s vast oil reserves.
These elites move comfortably about the fashionable shopping districts of New York, Paris and London but many of their people have not benefited.
In Egypt alone, 16 million people live in informal or squatter settlements, while many millions rely on remittances sent home from family members working abroad.
The Egyptian regime deals with dissent brutally with the help of military aid from the US, and at the same time helps Israel police Gaza’s southern border.
While Western politicians are quick to condemn Iran’s human rights record, they are remarkably mute when it comes to their allies. In December Kevin Rudd met with Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak but failed to raise any concerns about November’s election, condemned by many human rights groups as fraudulent.
Mubarak and the National Democratic Party have used Emergency laws to override the constitution and repress dissent for more than 30 years. The largest opposition party, the Muslim Brotherhood, is technically outlawed and its activities banned.
Allegations of vote fixing, intimidation and other irregularities accompany every election, including last November’s where Mubarak’s National Democratic Party won over 95 per cent of the seats.
Egypt’s regime is renowned for arresting and torturing its political opponents.
Rather than revealing any new “international consensus”, Wikileaks has shown only the hypocrisy of Western foreign policy.