I've been getting a lot of mail about the remarks made by U.A.E. ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba earlier today in a session with me at the Aspen Ideas Festival. The ambassador spoke bluntly about the threat posed to his country by Iran, and he suggested that the idea of Iran going nuclear is worse than the idea of a military strike on Iran to keep it from going nuclear.
Some of those who have written me have expressed surprise at this, but, as much as I'd like to claim a big scoop here, the ambasador's position, though stated more plainly, and publicly, than usual, is the standard position of many Arab states. It is not only Israel that fears the rise of a nuclear Iran; the Arabs, if anything, fear such a development to a greater degree. 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.
And reporting from Elizabeth Weingarten: