Wikileaks, Jordan And The Iran Issue

Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past 24 hours, the biggest Wikileak dubbed “cablegate” has revealed thousands of US embassy cables. The results have been obviously quite embarrassing for the US government, which has spent the better part of the past week preparing for a visit to the diplomatic emergency room, which began largely today with foreign secretary Clinton hopscotching around the world to make repairs.

It goes without saying that such cables, reflecting various thoughts and perceptions on both global leaders as well as gauging viewpoints on local and regional issues, are more reflective of truths as opposed to the usual flattery that is foreign policy. In the case of the Arab world, a region that I am positive is home to its own warehouse of classified documents just waiting to unveil history, these embassy cables have focused largely on the Iran question.

When it comes to Jordan, one particular cable is a rather clear reflection of its stance and growing concerns regarding Iran – at least based on what is highlighted thematically throughout. “Beware the Iranian Tentacles … and Cut Them Off,” reads a summary of one cable classified by US Ambassador to Jordan, Stephen Beecroft.

“The metaphor most commonly deployed by Jordanian officials when discussing Iran is of an octopus whose tentacles reach out insidiously to manipulate, foment, and undermine the best laid plans of the West and regional moderates. Iran’s tentacles include its allies Qatar and Syria, Hizballah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Palestinian territories, an Iraqi government sometimes seen as supplicant to Tehran, and Shia communities throughout the region.” [source]

The cable highlights the clandestine nature of Jordan’s foreign policy approach to Iran, an approach that can be, at best, described as cautious pessimism. A collection of viewpoints and perceptions held by the upper echolons of power in the Kingdom, this particular cable, and others like it, seem to push for US engagement with Iran to be more proactive, ranging from a military strike as suggested by Rifai, to a more moderate approach of creating benchmarks based on behavior, as recommended by HM King Abdullah.

Bomb Iran, or live with an Iranian bomb. Sanctions, carrots, incentives won’t matter,” was how he [Jordanian Senator Zaid Rifai] put it to visiting NEA DAS David Hale in November. While Rifai judged a military strike would have “catastrophic impact on the region,” he nonetheless thought preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons would pay enough dividends to make it worth the risks…

…the King told visiting U.S. Senators that U.S. should undertake both approaches concurrently but that engagement needs to be done “smartly” by setting benchmarks for behavior. [source]

There is also the general fear that US-Iran negotiations would involve the former appeasing the latter in an effort to deter it from nuclear development, all at the expense of the Arab world, or at least particularly US allies in the region. “Talk If You Must, But Don’t Sell Us Out,” concludes one cable.

Most of these perceptions are nothing new or groundbreaking, as Jordanian perceptions towards Iran, while often times avoiding the diplomatic limelight, have been in the public domain for the better part of the past decade, and more so in recent years. The metaphor of Iran as an octopus with tentacles infiltrating the region, has not been something I have heard before, but it describes the “Shia Crescent” belief once articulated by King Abdullah. While the controversial term was used only once publicly in 2004 to unpopular reception, it seems to have survived in the diplomatic corridors, but taking on a different metaphorical representation – a less subtle octopus. However, in contrast to what other Arab leaders have had to say regarding Iran, it goes without saying that Jordanian leadership lands on the safe side of things.

As for cablegate itself, according to the breakdown of the Wikileaks data, Amman is one of the top places in the world from where these embassy cables originated, ranking second in the region after Baghdad (fifth in the world). Of 4,132 cables sent from the US embassy in Amman, 1,726 were marked “confidential”, 421 as “secret”, 2,165 as “unclassified”. The first leaked cables were from 2002, so it may be safe to assume that the sheer volume of these cables coming out of Amman are indicative of the embassy’s role during the invasion of Iraq and onwards.

It is doubtful that any of this will likely have a local impact, whether on the Jordanian street which is still largely suspicious of Iran despite its arm flexing in the region when it comes to Israel and the US, or in the form of any kind of coverage on this issue in the local traditional Jordanian media, specifically with regard to Jordan’s role. But in the spirit of wikileaks and the new world order of information, let’s see what happens online.

UPDATE: for a roundup of reactions from the local Jordanian media the day after cablegate, check out “Wikileaks And The Silence Of Jordanian Media” over on 7iber.


  • Beware the Iranian Tentacles … and Cut Them Off

    The way to cut tentacles is not war according to king Abdullah. He supports the two state solution and believes that will be enough to deprive Iran from the sole topic that grants it and its extremist allies power. The way Iran reaches these extremist allies is by the ongoing war in Palestine. Hence, cutting their tentacles will be by the 2 state solution not war as stated in the cables. It’s clear from reading that king Abdullah does not support US military engagement with Iran, only engagement through direct talks by “establishing benchmarks”, whatever that means. Jordan still leaves the possibility of a military hostile engagement with Iran but it’s mentioned over and over again that it will finish “without convincing Iran to cease its support for terrorism, end its nuclear program or drop its hegemonic aspirations” according to the Jordanians.

    Zeid rifai’s “Bomb Iran” was only feasible according to him after US and Arab states agree that this is the final route. He should have mentioned and stressed the fact that a 2 state solution is better but I think had he been asked again, he would have put it in a different way.

    IMO, Jordan’s stance on this issue is fine but more revelations will come in the next days.

  • موقع ويكي أسقط ورقة التوت عن ما يسمى بدول “الأعتدال” مثل مصر السعوديه والأردن
    وقال زيد الرفاعي، من مجلس الاعيان الاردني ان الخطر من المشروع الايراني اكبر من الخطر الذي سينتج عن منعه. وفي نقاش مع رئيس دولة الامارات حبذ الشيخ خليفة بن زايد الخيار العسكري في الحال بدلا من تأجيله، وقال الشيخ ان هذا الرجل (الرئيس الايراني احمدي نجاد) يريد جرنا للحرب، وشخصيا لا اتحمل هذا الخطر مع شخص كهذا، فهو شاب وعدواني’.

    وماذا عن الخطر الصهيوني يا رفاعي

  • actually I think the Iranian threat is more dangerous than the Israeli for now, I personally agree with the Jordanian officials in allot of points. IT IS politics, and this is how officials are seeking for our country stability.

    its hard for Jordan handle more threats, Israeli threat has been there since long time, people are used to it, but if a shia-sunni conflict triggered … well Allah help us all !!!

    If anybody read the book of Robert Greene called “the 48 laws of power”, will know that one of the principles of power is to deceive people, so actually what am happy about is that the officials are using it and know who’s using it, and this is about the “Arab-Palestinian to Islamic-Palestinian” matter.

    Of course, if its turned to Islamic-Palestinian I’ll be glad, BUT IT MUST NOT BE IRAN *SHIA” WHO IS GOING TO TRIGGER IT.

  • it is quite pullshit
    jordan or saudi or any country talks about iran threat should talk about the israel terrorist which are killing palestinian, shame on us as arabs to talk about iran where our ppl are being killed in palestine by israel terrorist with the support of usa

  • We are shame from these jordanian official employees …
    jordanian people with Iran policy especialy palastinian issue

  • No doubt that USA pass these classified documents to WIKILEAKS for many reasons related to World peace. But the most important reason is that USA want a rapid change in the MiddleEast. USA just push the IRANIAN positive effect among the Arab nations. All the Wikileaks related documents about the Iran and its alliances show the Arab leaders as traitors want to destroy Hizbuallah and Iran. Sheiaa in the Area will move now for more work to get outcomes from these news.

    First: The Sheiaa scholars now have unrestricted zone to call Sunni muslims to become Sheiaa. Saudi autherities will now afraid from preventing Sheiaa from that.

    Second: Arab leaders in Gulf countries will be in deffensive zone now, for that any requests or orders come from Iran should be done. For example: all the TV channels that attack Iran or Sheaii religion will be stopped and banned.

    Third: More offensive actions will be carried over Sunni Scholars to halt down their activity in all the world.

    Fourth: Lebanon will fall in the hand of Hizbullah directly or indirectly.

    Fifth: Jordanian will have trouble with new Jordanian Sheaii. The Sheaii at Jordan will become visible
    and work in puplic.

  • شكرا سامي على ما كتبت الواحد برتاح لما يشوف فيه ناس صاحيه Ùˆ بتعرف شو بصير

  • أيش يا سامي ØŒ شوا منين جايب هلفطحه السياسيه ØŒ يا أخي دلنا من وين وكيف توصلت الى هذه المعرفه الفائقه ØŒ مشن البطاط والبندوره ØŒ من أين لك هذا،

  • عدو عدوي صاحبي، لربما لا يكون هذا المثل هو المعبر الدقيق لوصف العلاقات الشيعية الغربية، لكنه أفضل ما يمثل الوضع الحالي بينهما خلال العقود الأربعة الأخيرة.
    حتى في لبنان الشيعة هم أقرب للمسيحيين من السنة، لاقتراب المعتقدات والظواهر المذهبية الشيعية الإمامية من النصرانية بشكل كبير، بل أحد المارونيين السياسيين المعاصرين وهو كارلوس إده يصرح بهذا على شاشة التلفاز بقوله ان الشيعة هم أقرب للمسيحيين من السنة، بالرغم من أنه معارض لحزب الله.

    إن علاقة الغرب من الإسلام والدول العربية الإسلامية تنبني على وضع المعتقد الإسلامي تحت الحصار والتذويب، ولا نقصد هنا بالإسلامي الشيعي بل السني والدول التي تعتنقه. ولتذويب المذهب السني كان لا بد من خلطه وإحاطته بمذاهب ومعتقدات مشابهة له لكنها تناقضه. فالقاديانية والبهائية وبعض المعتقدات الصوفية والعلمانية المنفتحة كلها يمكن لها القيام بذلك. لكنها جميعها لا تمتلك القوة العسكرية لفرضها أو لبث احترامها بين جموع الشعوب. لذلك كانت الشيعة الإمامية المتمثلة في إيران هي الحلقة الاخيرة في عملية تذويب الإسلام السني.

    حرب حزب الله مع إسراءيل، هجوم نجاد المتواصل على إسرائيل والغرب، إظهار القوة العسكرية الإيرانية، كثرة القنوات الشيعية الفضائية، وجود مرجعية كبرى واحدة للشيعة الإمامية (خامنئي) ، وعدم وصف الشيعة المحاربين لاسرائيل بالمتطرفين أو الإرهابيين، كل تلك العوامل الرئيسية وسواها تدفع المواطن العربي لتبني المعتقد الشيعي الإمامي.

    لذا فتغيير معتقد المواطن العربي من السني للشيعي يعتبر مطلبا هام للإدارة الغربية، لانه يمثل هدف قديم من أيام الاستشراق الاول. فالشيعي الإمامي لا توجد له مشكلة مع الغرب العلماني المسيحي، وإنما مشكلته مع المسلم السني خلال كما كان خلال عقود التاريخ، وهي ذات الازمة التي يشعر بها السياسي الغربي العلماني او المسيحي . ولذا فاشتراك الشيعة الإمامية مع الغربي العلماني أو المسيحي لا يعتبر أمر غريب طالما كان العدو المشترك لهما واحد وهدفهما واحد وهو تحويل السني للمذهب الشيعي.

    ولذا لا تستغرب من إظهار الغرب خوفه من إيران، أو رؤيتك إسرائيل تخاف حزب الله، فكل هذه المسرحيات السياسية تهدف إلى زرع التشيع داخل قلب المواطن السني الذي طفش من الهزيمة المعنوية والعسكرية، وليس أدل على ذلك من تشيع العديد من الجهلة الفلسطيننين والأردنيين في الأردن أيام حرب 2006 بين حزب الله وإسرائيل. بل أنظر إلى ما قامت به إسرائيل بعد ذلك من إظهار هزيمتها أمام حزب الله، وكان إسرائيل ذات حكومة غبية لا تعرف معنى الربح النفسي او لم تمارس في حياتها القهر النفسي مع جيرانها العرب.
    وانظر إلى مسرحية تبادل رفات الجنود الإسرائليين مع مئات من من الاسرى اللبنانيين التي تمت بعذ حرب تموز 2006 بين حزب الله وإسرائيل، ومن المثير للسخرية أن إسرائيل لديها جندي حي لدى حماس (السنية) ومع ذلك لم تقم بأي خطوة لتحريره بل ترفض تماما التفاوض مع حماس.

    وبخلاصة سريعة نقول: ان الغرب يريد من إيران تسيد العالم الإسلامي، لأن الشيعة الغمامية أفضل حليف للغرب النصراني العلماني. وكل ما يدور يثبت ذلك للنابهين ،
    وبحق اقول وانا السني أن هذا الزمن هو زمن التشيع الإمامي الإثني عشري

  • كلام طائفي وعنصري لا يستند على المنطق والعلم والحقيقه التاريخيه ØŒ كلام غير مقنع وليس له طعم ألا الرائحه الطائفيه المقيتة

  • ( لا فرق بين عربي وعجمي الا بتقوى( أتحفط على أستعمال كلمة عجمي)

  • meshkaljy…[edited by blog administrator] taking the current situation easily like nothing is happening , don’t try to convince others to follow your stupid point of view , every word sami said was correct , and you will release that if you get another brain or try to fix yours.

    and i want to say something for these guys who were saying that our enemy is Israel not iran, , that your completely wroong.

    cause Israel is not danger to Jordanians .

    at least they won’t attack us , you guys are philistines and came to Jordan calling your selfs Jordanians , all you think abut is getting us angry of Israel and hating it, telling us to go fight while you guys aren’t , siting on your houses eating-shiting-sleeping.

    its not our fight , they took over your country? you guys took our country aswell and started saying shit to us , plus you tryed to take over the kingdom in the (fedaeye-war) .

    and at end iran is danger on whole world with the nuclear program .

  • ان كنت لا تدري فتلك مصيبة Ùˆ ان كنت تدري فالمصيبة أعظم

  • ومن قال لا يوجد بيننا صهاينه عرب؟

  • yahya: i am tempted sometimes to delete comments such as yours, which do nothing but aim to offend. but i would rather edit the personal attack and leave your comment untouched for others to argue against. while you are entitled to your opinion, know that it is shameful.

  • لماذا يهتم الشيعة بالأردن وتشييعها؟
    سؤال مهم يرتبط بالموضوع ارتباط وثيق، فالهلال الشيعي لم يكتمل بعد، ولم يبقى إلا الأردن. فإيران والعراق وسوريا ولبنان تحكمه أو تسيطر عليه القوى الشيعية -الإمامية في الأغلب- اما الأردن فلا يزال سنيا -علمانياً. والحقيقة التي لا مجال إلا لسردها أن النشاط الشيعي في تشييع سنة الأردن برز كثيرا خلال السنوات السبع الماضية بوفود الكثير من شيعة العراق وعلماء الشيعة منها للأردن. فاليوم تتواجد الحسينيات -غير الرسمية- بل وتنتشر المؤلفات الشيعية في المكتبات، وتمارس الدعوة للتشيع بسرية غير تنظيمية خوفا من السلطة وليس الشعب.

    والسؤال الذي يؤرق كل مهتم : هل سيسقط الشيعة الحكم الهاشمي الأردني السني ويستبدل بحكم يسيطر عليه الشيعة الغمامية بصورة غير مباشرة؟

    علينا الانتظار 15 سنة من أجل الحصول على جواب، فلالشيعة وخلال تاريخهم الطويل منظمون طويلو النفس، وليوم يدعمهم الغرب في نشر التسيع السياسي. وإن غدا لناظره قريب

  • Mr. Sami,

    Thank you, allot of my points were proven, although am not with the conspiracy theory totally, but I think the same thing, in simple words the plan is to —> Iran control the Islamic world —> people starts to follow them —> people loose faith & start dragging to pullshit and forget about their believes —> better control for the USA and of course Israel.

    I believe that the only thing that moves the Arab world is the Islamic (sunni) speech, and it always have been, no Arab uniting did, nor democracy- communist did !!

    And who thinks that Iran will save Palestine, well let may say time will tell them wrong ( of course I hope no such a thing happen and Iran goes for control).

    Peace 🙂

  • I just want to add a thing or two,

    I do 100% agree with Somali .. its the case

    and for yahya .. saying things like these only makes you a bit the crack in the Jordanian community, so let me ask you a question knowing that The King and his government represent JORDAN !

    If you are Jordanian, with which of its community you agree ?

    1- The king ? who says we all Jordan and married a Palestinian women and all that seems to say that he wants to kill this Palestinian – Jordanian conflict ?!

    2- The government ? who agrees with the king of course !

    3- The cultural people ? who always fight for Palestine in their own way

    4- Islamic people ? also fight for Palestine

    5- Arab uniting people ? also the same

    If your not of these people that all called Jordanians regardless of their origin … in which type are you ? .. is their like a group for trouble makers like you ? .. does jordan really needs this ? .. cant you just live in peace and try to be nice with people that’s if you dont want to fight for what is considered your nation biggest part of history?

    I’am totally Jordainian and I 100% do NOT agree with you (yahya)

    Peace 🙂

  • بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

    استدعى الشاه علماء من السنة وعلماء من الشيعة
    حتى يقرب بينهم وينظر إلى وجه الاختلاف بينهم
    علماء الشيعة جاؤوا كلهم أما علماء السنة لم يأت منهم إلا واحداً بعد تأخرعليهم!! فلما دخل عليهم كان حاملا حذاءه تحت إبطه: نظر إليه علماء الشيعة فقالوا:لماذا تدخل على الشاه وأنت حاملا حذاءك؟؟؟
    قال لهم: لقد سمعت أن الشيعة في عصر الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم كانوا يسرقون الأحذية!!

    فقالوا: لم يكن هناك في عصر الرسول شيعه!!!

    فقال: اذن انتهت المناظرة من أين أتيتم بمذهبكم؟

    اللهم أعز الاسلام والمسلمين

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