Anti-Empire Report

If the house where Julian Assange of Wikileaks is staying is destroyed by a Predator drone, and the United States denies any involvement … Well, I'll believe them.


One of the most common threads running through the Wikileaks papers is Washington's manic obsession with Iran. In country after country the United States exerts unceasing pressure on the government to tighten the noose around Iran's neck, to make the American sanctions as extensive and as painful as can be, to inflate the alleged Iranian nuclear threat, to discourage normal contact as if Iran were a leper.


"Fear of 'different world' if Iran gets nuclear weapons. Embassy cables reveal how US relentlessly cajoles and bullies governments not to give succour to Tehran," read a Guardian of London headline on November 28. And we're told that Arab governments support the United States in this endeavor, that fear of Iran is widespread. John Kerry, the Democratic head of the Senate foreign relations committee, jumped on this bandwagon. "Things that I have heard from the mouths of King Abdullah [of Saudi Arabia] and Hosni Mubarak [Egyptian president] and others are now quite public," he said. He went on to say there was a "consensus on Iran". (Guardian, December 2) If all this is to have real meaning, the implication must be that the Arab people feel this way, and not just their dictator leaders. So let us look at some numbers.


The annual "Arab Public Opinion Poll", was conducted this past summer by Zogby International and the University of Maryland, in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. A sample of the results:


·         "If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, which of the following is the likely outcome for the Middle East region?" More positive 57%, Would not matter 20, More negative 21.


·         Amongst those who believe that Iran seeks nuclear weapons, 70% believe that Iran has the right to its nuclear program.


·         "In a world where there is only one superpower, which of the following countries would you prefer to be that superpower?"
France 35%, China 16, Germany 13, Britain 9, Russia 8, United States 7, Pakistan 6.


·         "Name TWO countries that you think pose the biggest threat to you." Israel 88%, US 77, Algeria 10, Iran 10, UK 8, China 3, Syria 1.