Published: September 13, 2010
Iran's Behavior is Destabilizing The Region?
Arab leaders are ever more concerned that Iran's behavior is destabilizing the region. Increasingly vocal regarding Iran's nuclear ambitions and its hostility toward the West, politicians, academics and journalists throughout the Arab world are more outspoken about the threat posed by the Iranian regime. Just recently, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas protested Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki's accusation that Arab leaders are 'betraying' their nations by attending the recent Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Washington.
Even "non-aligned" countries like Cuba have expressed their concern. Recent statements from Arab and non-aligned leaders concerning Iran include:
President Hosni Mubarak, referring to Iran's nuclear ambitions said, "New dangers are emerging in the Gulf region and threaten its stability."
One week before that statement, Egypt canceled Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki 's planned visit because of comments he made criticizing President Mubarak's participation at the Israeli-Palestinian Peace talks. Egypt is involved in the negotiations and is trying to facilitate the peace process.
The Iran-Egyptian relationship was severed in 1980 due to the Islamic Revolution and the Egypt-Israel peace treaty. Egypt is the only Arab country without an embassy in Tehran.
Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh lashed out at the Iranian president over his comments on the peace negotiations which he dismissed as "doomed to fail", according to Ma'an news agency. "The one who does not represent the Iranian people, who falsified election results, who oppressed the Iranian people and stole authority has no right to speak about Palestine, its president or its representatives," he said.
Ahmadinejad said that the fate of Palestine will not be decided in Washington, but in Palestine through resistance. Abu Rudaineh responded to this accusation saying that the Palestinians "are the ones who fought for Palestine and Jerusalem ... the Palestinian leadership did not oppress its people as did the Iranian leadership under Ahmadinejad" and that Palestinian president Abbas came to power through "free, democratic and authentic elections" unlike the Iranian regime.
Cuba's former president Fidel Castro has urged Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to "stop slandering the Jews."
In an interview with American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, Castro devoted five hours to the issue of anti-Semitism saying: "This went on for maybe two thousand years (...) I don't think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews. I would say much more than the Muslims (...) because they are blamed and slandered for everything. No one blames the Muslims for anything."
He continued: "The Jews have lived an existence that is much harder than ours. There is nothing that compares to the Holocaust."
Castro, who was a severe critic of Israel, repeatedly expressed his sympathy for Jews and Israel's right to exist during the interview. He furthermore criticized Iran's president for his anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial and showed deep understanding for the "unique" history of anti-Semitism and Israel's fear for their existence.
He said that Iran should further the cause of peace by understanding the consequences of anti-Semitism and acknowledging Israel's right to exist.
Saudi Arabia fears Iran as a challenge to the nation. King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz has begun to see Iran as an existential threat to his country.
On June 12 Saudi Arabia opened its air space to Israeli planes, to shorten the distance for an Israeli air strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.
"The Saudis have given their permission for the Israelis to pass over and they will look the other way," a US defense source in the area said.
United Arab Emirates
UAE Ambassador to the U.S., Yousef al-Otaiba spoke out bluntly about Iran recently.
"I think it's a cost-benefit analysis. I think despite the large amount of trade we do with Iran, which is close to $12 billion ... there will be consequences [of an attack] 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."
"If you are asking me, 'Am I willing to live with that versus living with a nuclear Iran?,' my answer is still the same: 'We cannot live with a nuclear Iran.' I am willing to absorb what takes place at the expense of the security of the U.A.E."
"There are many countries in the region that if they lack assurance that the U.S. is willing to confront Iran, they will start running for cover with Iran," he said. "Small, rich, vulnerable countries do not want to stick their finger in the big boy's eye if they do not have the backing of the United States."
"The United States may be able to live with it [a nuclear Iran]," he said. "We can't."
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