And now, the truth of what the Arab world really thinks

By Tim Marshall, December 2, 2010
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It can be very embarrassing when you are caught telling the truth.

For the Arab states, this was an uncomfortable week. Not only did the truth contradict their previous public views, but it supported the story Israel has been telling for years.

Thanks to Wikileaks we now know that the Arab leaders see Israel, not as their greatest enemy, but as one of only two countries which could help save them from the Persians and their soon to come hordes of nuclear missiles.

The Saudi king led the charge.Filmed previously smiling and shaking hands with Iran's President Ahmadinejad, we now read him urging the USA to "cut off the head of the snake" before it was too late. Bahrain followed suit, as did the UEA, Qatar, Kuwait and Egypt. In email after email, there was the suggestion that someone had better bomb Iran and bomb it soon.

The Iranians were, according to President Mubarak, "big fat liars". Iran's sponsorship of terrorism was "well known, but I cannot say it publicly".

According to a cable written in July 2009 the Crown Prince of the UAE "painted a nuclear Iran as an existential threat and invoked the wellbeing of his grandchildren... "

The cable ends with the Crown Prince worrying that Iran was surrounding Israel and "threatening its existence."

This is the world as seen from Tel Aviv; how ironic that it is now clear this is the view from the Med to the Gulf.

The cables confirm the depth of dislike and suspicion of Sunni Arab nations who fear that Shia Iran will acquire nuclear weapons, use them to dominate the Middle East, and eventually control the region. The Saudis even fear that as the Iranian ayatollahs believe that God's plan is for Shia Islam to rule the world, it means they will take over Mecca and Medina.

Compared to that, any perceived Israeli threat pales into insignificance. The Gulf leaders want the Americans to take out the Iranian nuclear programme, but if someone else did it instead, publicly they would hurl abuse at the "Zionist aggressor", while privately their diplomatic cables might tell a different story.

Last updated: 4:58pm, December 2 2010