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The documents aren't trying to prove anything about Iran. Rather, what the documents claim is that many of Iran's neighbors want the U.S. to go to war with Iran over their nuclear program. It's war cheerleading.
by Magnifico on Tue Nov 30th, 2010 at 11:46:18 AM EST
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It wouldn't be if people gave the context that those countries would only stand to gain getting the US to engage with a big strong neighbour, one feared by these leaders of Sunni-majority countries with Shi'a minorities they repress.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Nov 30th, 2010 at 01:54:52 PM EST
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Here are a couple of typical reports from the more "liberal" news organizations in the U.S.

New York Times, Around the World, Distress Over Iran.

His plea was shared by many of America's Arab allies, including the powerful King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who according to another cable repeatedly implored Washington to "cut off the head of the snake" while there was still time.

Fifteen paragraphs later:

To some extent, this Arab obsession with Iran was rooted in the uneasy sectarian division of the Muslim world, between the Shiites who rule Iran, and the Sunnis, who dominate most of the region. Those strains had been drawn tauter with the invasion of Iraq, which effectively transferred control of the government there from Sunni to Shiite leaders, many close to Iran.

So one paragraph of context out of 70 paragraphs saying America really needs to do something about Iran's nuclear program.

NPR, Leaks Reveal Arab World's Concerns About Iran. Note how the guest (Goldberg) mentions the Sunni-Shi'ite divide, but yet that is not pursued by the host (Siegel)?

Mr. GOLDBERG: Right. No. This is a very interesting moment because the issue has been framed by many people as a kind of a binary: Israel and Iran. One wants nuclear weapons; one wants to prevent the other one from getting nuclear weapons. But now we see really, fully, the masks are off.

The Arab world, and really most moderate Arab regimes, live in the same sort of existential fear that Israel does of this Iranian program. And it reminds us that the Jewish-Arab - the Jewish-Arab dispute has been going on for 100 years, but the Shiite-Sunni split and the Persian-Arab split, they've been going on for 1,000.

I mean, this is a deep, deep, deep issue that's just now really surfaced because of these leaks.

SIEGEL: There's an irony here, which is the State Department is furious that their confidential cable, that is cables based on confidential conversations, have been made public. And yet we read in one of the cables the anxiety at State that Arab leaders won't say publicly what it is that they're saying privately about Iran.

Mr. GOLDBERG: Right, well, that's not a new aspect of life in the Middle East. Everything is a double game, as you know. And this is the problem, and American policymakers know that this is a problem. The Arab leaders have been lobbying pretty insistently for the last couple years, or even before a couple of years, in the Bush administration, too, for America to take some sort of dramatic action against Iran.

The Americans, and certainly the Israelis, see that and say, well, that's great, but when it comes time to vote to condemn this action in the U.N., where are you going to be?

So the Arab countries would like America, or even Israel at this point, to deal with their mess. But there's no guarantee that the Arab states would do anything to help America.

Most Americans don't do context and the American media certain doesn't hit the public over the head with it.

by Magnifico on Tue Nov 30th, 2010 at 02:21:46 PM EST
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But the fact that the Sunni Arab leaders have not made their attacks on Iran public suggests that maybe right now it isn't as importanat an issue to the general Arab public, compared to other issues, as they suggest? Jeffrey Goldberg is not an "objective" journalist, and has goals of his own, which probably includes encouraging the Sunni-Shiite and Arab-Persian split.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Nov 30th, 2010 at 03:00:03 PM EST
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I don't disagree.

As you first wrote, "the documents prove nothing about Iran". Again, I agree the leaks weren't about Iran. They are about beating the drums of war with Iran.

Dodo suggested the drumbeats would not sound so loud if context was provided. But, I think when the American establishment is busy selling a war with Iran to the American public, then context is either non-existent or deeply discounted, and objectivity is not important. And since when has facts been part of Americans' decision to go to war? Certainly they played little or no part with the decision to invade Iraq or even Afghanistan. This is about ginning up emotion and lining up excuses.

That these nations haven't said anything against Iran publicly fits within the narrative. If the facts supported a war with Iran, then the war would sell itself.

For the most part, I think the American news coverage of the leaked U.S. diplomatic posts regarding Iran can be generally characterized as 'see everyone thinks Iran is a problem and have been secretly okay with the U.S. or Israel attacking them'. The implied suggestion is then those in the ruling class who may have been questioning the wisdom or legality of such a war, should cease their objections and the general public should support the start of such a war.

by Magnifico on Tue Nov 30th, 2010 at 04:05:38 PM EST
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They are about beating the drums of war with Iran.

This is some serious pattern fitting. There is nothing in there that is going to sell a war with Iran to the American public. If it were a false flag operation, it's a hilariously poor PR / propaganda campaign. I mean, given the level of nationalism and exceptionalism in this country, the fact that other countries want the US to go to war with Iran is very much a strike against said war, not a selling point.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Nov 30th, 2010 at 05:23:54 PM EST
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It's not as though the Saudis don't have an interest: a US/Israeli attack on Iran would be worth gazillions to them.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Nov 30th, 2010 at 07:55:09 PM EST
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If they are really concerned, that will manifest as a big drop in oil prices associated with the onset of such an attack.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Dec 6th, 2010 at 11:19:29 PM EST
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Only if they are physically capable of increasing production.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Dec 7th, 2010 at 01:05:42 AM EST
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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is capable of selling oil at below market price to select customers for political reasons, or of just giving oil to the US military, as during GHW Bush's Operation Desert Storm, if it sees vital royal interests being at stake.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Dec 7th, 2010 at 01:17:59 PM EST
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Yeah, but that won't create a big drop in oil prices for anybody outside the military.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Dec 7th, 2010 at 10:51:33 PM EST
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