The Arabs vs. Iran: What They Really Think

(Hudson Institute-New York) Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi - One of the major points raised about the recent leak of U.S. diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks is the apparent hostility Gulf Arab leaders display towards Iran in private. However, viewing the present Middle East as a cold war between an Arab front and Iran is simplistic. It is more accurate to note that the current cold war is between what Daniel Pipes terms a "revolutionary bloc," led primarily by Turkey, Syria and Iran, and a "status-quo" bloc, headed by Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Moreover, it could well be that the Arab leaders cited in the cables are simply telling American diplomats what they think U.S. policymakers want to hear. As Dalia Dassa Kaye of the RAND Corporation puts it, "Arab leaders are still resentful of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and its overturning of the regional balance of power in ways that have strengthened Iranian influence. Despite considerable U.S. arms sales and missile defense cooperation with allies in the region in recent years, American credibility is in decline, and popular views of the United States are overwhelmingly negative, most alarmingly in states that are key U.S. partners, such as Egypt and Jordan." Likewise, popular anti-Israel sentiment among the populations prevents the prospect of overt cooperation with Israel against Iran.

2010-12-24 08:22:12

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