WikiLeaks: Whither Muslim brotherood? – by Omar R Quraishi

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Saudi King Abdullah welcomes Iranian President Ahmadinejad on his arrival at Riyadh airport on 17 Nov 2007

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It was never really a secret that Saudi Arabia did not like Iran.

It was never really a secret that Saudi Arabia did not like Iran. Perhaps there may be a sectarian history to this or maybe it is simple old realpolitik with two large states vying for regional power. But Saudi Arabia isn’t the only Muslim country that seems to loathe Iran. There is the UAE and Kuwait as well as, albeit to a lesser extent, Qatar.

According to a cable of Feb 9, 2010, from US ambassador to UAE to Admiral Mike Mullen, head of the US armed forces, prior to the latter’s meeting with the UAE crown prince and defence minister, the UAE is one of America’s most trusted partners in the region and “most useful friends worldwide”.

The ports of Dubai and Fujairah are the “logistics backbone for the US Fifth [Fleet]“. The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is responsible for operations in the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, Arabian Sea and down south as far as eastern Africa. Minhad airbase, some 20 kilometres south of Dubai is “a critical hub for coalition/ISAF partners in Afghanistan, including the Australians, Dutch, Canadians, Brits and Kiwis”.

This cable says that the UAE leadership sees Iran as its “primary external threat”. The defence minister and crown prince of the UAE is said to not believe that the west will be able to put adequate pressure on Iran and also is of the view, according to this cable, that Tehran cannot be persuaded to give up its nuclear weapons programme. As a result, his efforts to build up the UAE’s armed forces is seen as “near-obsessive”. The UAE has “quietly” deployed forces in Afghanistan, being the first Arab country to do so. The Americans are told by the UAE defence minister, much to their disbelief, that Iran is active in destabilising Yemen, by supporting the Houthi (who are said to Shia) rebels.

The UAE’s obsession with Iran seems to run deeper than that of even the Americans. According to cable dated Feb 22, 2010, from the American ambassador to the UAE, the country’s foreign minister Sheikh Adullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, told a visiting delegation of US Congress members in a meeting on Feb 17 that the nuclear issue “is only one aspect of the Iran problem, and that Iran’s regional meddling was a serious concern”. He said further that the UAE was concerned that “Gulf allies were being shut out of Iran sanctions planning”.

A cable by the US embassy in Kuwait dated Feb 17, 2010, detailed a meeting between Kuwait’s interior minister Jaber Al-Khaled Al Sabah and the US ambassador. The minister said that he was “deeply concerned about Iranian actions, particularly in Yemen with the Houthis” and that Iran was the “beating heart” of Islamic extremism, adding that “even Palestinians now aspire to be Shia because they have bought Iranian ‘stories’ about Shia being more prepared to “fight to the end” and stand up to Israel”.

A cable by the US embassy in Muscat, Oman, dated Feb 2, 2010, suggested that Oman was very unhappy about an article in the New York Times that had perhaps suggested that it, along with other Gulf states, was going to receive Patriot missile batteries from America. In a ‘comment’ on the reaction of the government of Oman, the US embassy noted that a statement by a senior Omani official denying any such proposal would also serve to “protect the US/Omani relationship, as any belief that the US would attempt to utilize Omani territory in this way could potentially cause a public backlash that would jeopardize other aspects of the relationship”. Furthermore, while “Iran is Oman’s number one strategic threat; however, the Government of Oman fundamentally believes the threat can be mitigated through careful management of the relationship. Therefore, it works very deliberately to create a public perception of balance in its relationships with the US and Iran”.

According to a cable of Jan 26, 2010, from the US embassy in Ankara prior to a visit by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s stance on Israel came up, especially his “outburst at Davos”. The cable said that both the Americans and “his staff” (meaning that of the Turkish prime minister) were seeking to “contain” such behaviour.

A cable describing a meeting on Feb 8, 2010, between and the US defence secretary and the French foreign minister in Paris quoted the two discussing the situation in Pakistan. It quoted him as saying that it was “astonishing” that President Zardari had remained in power and that the Pakistanis had conducted such effective COIN operations. The defence secretary “commented that one can never be an optimist about Pakistan, but that the changes had been striking”.

A cable from Jan 28, 2009, detailed a meeting between the Dutch and Russian ambassadors to Saudi Arabia, accompanied by a senior US embassy official with the undersecretary for multilateral affairs at the ministry of foreign affairs in Riyadh. During the course of the meeting, discussion came on Iran with the Saudi official saying that if Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons “other countries in the Gulf region would be compelled to do the same, or to permit the stationing of nuclear weapons in the Gulf to serve as a deterrent to the Iranians”.
http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/3254/wikileaks-whither-muslim-brotherood/

One Comment to “WikiLeaks: Whither Muslim brotherood? – by Omar R Quraishi”

  1. Saudi influence in Pakistan

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    guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 1 December 2010 09.48 GMT
    Article history
    Tuesday, 20 November 2007, 16:17
    S E C R E T RIYADH 002320
    SIPDIS
    SIPDIS
    DEPT FOR NEA/ARP, SCA, AND P STAFF
    EO 12958 DECL: 11/18/2017
    TAGS PGOV, PHUM, PK, PREL, PTER, SA
    SUBJECT: SAUDI ARABIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE US ON PAKISTANI
    PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF’S VISIT TO SAUDI ARABIA
    Classified By: CHARGE D’AFFAIRES MICHAEL GFOELLER FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) A ND (D)

    1. (S) On November 20, Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the US Adel al-Jubeir invited the Charge d’Affaires and Executive Office Staff Assistant (note taker) to his residence for lunch. During the meal, Ambassador al-Jubeir said that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf arrived in Saudi Arabia, today, November 20, and will meet with King Abdullah, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, and head of the General Intelligence Presidency Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz after he completes Umra in Mecca. He noted that Musharraf will meet with the Foreign Minister and Prince Muqrin first and thereafter see King Abdullah sometime in the evening. “The purpose of these meetings,” said al-Jubeir, “is to get a readout of the situation and present our point of view to him.”

    2. (S) Al-Jubeir denied that Musharraf had come to the Kingdom to meet with exiled former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, although he carefully avoided ruling out such a meeting. Instead, he boldly asserted that, “We in Saudi Arabia are not observers in Pakistan, we are participants.” He asserted that the Saudi government (SAG) had offered Sharif a pledge of protection and asylum in the Kingdom after his ouster by Musharraf in return for a promise that he would refrain from political activity for ten years. He added that Sharif had begun to attempt to test the limits of this promise five or six years in his exile. “Sharif broke his promise by conducting political activity while in the Kingdom,” al-Jubeir charged. He added that when the SAG had permitted Sharif to travel to London, he first promised the Saudis not to engage in political activity or return to Pakistan, but he then flew to Pakistan from London in a direct violation of his commitment.

    3. (S) Al-Jubeir expressed considerable “disappointment” in Sharif’s broken pledges to the SAG. He stated very clearly that the SAG has worked directly with Musharraf to have Sharif arrested on his return to Pakistan and immediately deported to the Kingdom. “We told Musharraf that we would receive him back and then keep him here as an ‘honored guest’,” al-Jubeir said. He added that Prince Muqrin had been the SAG’s point man in restraining Sharif. Prince Muqrin was allowed to reveal the terms of Sharif’s asylum agreement, he noted. Al-Jubeir made it very clear that the SAG would seek to control Sharif’s movements in he future, even suggesting that he would be kept in a state only a little less severe than house arrest.

    4. (S) Al-Jubeir added that he sees neither Sharif nor former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto as a viable replacement for Musharraf. “With all his flaws,” he said of Musharraf, “he is the only person that you or we have to work with now.” He claimed that Sharif would be unable to control the Pushtun-dominated Islamic insurgency in the tribal region near Afghanistan, while Bhutto would prove to be too divisive a figure to rule the country, which he characterized as “very tribal, much like our own country.”

    5. (S) Al-Jubeir added that for the SAG, stability in Pakistan is an essential strategic matter. Since Pakistan possesses both nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles, from the Saudi point of view, the policy choice to be made there boils down to a drastic choice: “We can either support Musharraf and stability, or we can allow bin Laden to get the bomb, “he told the Charge’.

    6. (S) Comment: As a senior royal advisor who has worked for King Abdullah for eight years now, al-Jubeir’s views generally track very closely with those of the King. It seems likely that King Abdullah, Prince Muqrin, and Prince Saud al-Faisal will offer Musharraf pledges of strong support in their meetings today. We note that the Saudis have an economic hold on Nawaz Sharif, sine he was reportedly the first non-Saudi to receive a special economic development loan from the SAG, with which to develop a business while here in exile. We will report further information on these meetings as it develops. End Comment. GFOELLER

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/130876

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