Nervous Arab States Fear War in Gulf, But a Nuclear-Armed Iran Is an Even Greater Concern

[Guardian-UK ] Ian Black - Arab governments are deeply worried about the prospect of war between Iran and Israel and/or the U.S. since several of them would be directly in the firing line if hostilities erupted. Even without the threat of war, Iran's Arab neighbors have long lived in fear of another Chernobyl: the Bushehr nuclear reactor, two miles from the Gulf coast, is closer to six Arab capitals (Kuwait, Riyadh, Manama, Doha, Abu Dhabi and Muscat) than it is to Tehran. Tehran is mistrusted in almost every Arab capital. None believe the claim that it is interested only in civilian nuclear power and has no military ambitions. It is seen as working to establish its hegemony across the Middle East, setting the agenda through allies or "non-state" proxies such as Hizbullah and Hamas. "Perhaps the objective of Iran's frequent threats is to stir up fear among the Gulf states over the repercussions of any U.S. strike against it so that they in turn may pressure Washington into preventing any military action," observed Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed in the Saudi-owned Asharq Alawsat. "But this is having an opposite effect from the desired one."

2008-07-11 01:00:00

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