The U.A.E. Knows Iran Very Well. It Does Not Believe Obama Can Stop Tehran’s Atomic Program. What It Wants Is For Us To Bomb It. To Smithereens.

by Martin Peretz | July 7, 2010

This is a common view in the Arab world, more common than is understood. And it is prevalent especially among those Arabs who just now are coming to terms with modernity. Of course, “there will be consequences, there will be a backlash and there will be problems with people protesting and rioting and very unhappy that there is an outside force attacking a Muslim country; that is going to happen no matter what.” Thus spoke Yousef al-Otaiba, ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States, a savvy expert on intra-Islamic and intra-Arab affairs. The reporter is the Washington Times’ Eli Lake who discovers more important stories than its New York namesake. He cites the U.A.E. emissary as saying that “the benefits of bombing Iran’s nuclear program far outweigh the short-term costs such attack would impose.” 

His remarks came at an Aspen Ideas Festival attended by other Middle East experts. Among these was Representative Jane Harman, an old intelligence hand in Congress, who observed that she had “never heard an Arab government official say that before. He was stunningly candid.”

Read the article on the Washington Times’ website.

Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic adds to Lake’s Washington Times report here, here and here. He notes that an Arab fear of an Iranian nuclear weapon is nothing new:

The Jews and Arabs have been fighting for one hundred years. The Arabs and the Persians have been going at for a thousand. The idea of a group of Persian Shi'ites having possession of a nuclear bomb scares Arab leader like nothing else -- it certainly scares them more than the reality of the Jewish bomb.

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