Commercial ties between Dubai and Iran are significant (Dubai is Iran’s largest non-oil trading partner), and as a result the UAEG walks a fine line between maintaining and encouraging this trade and working to prevent suspected Iranian proliferation activities. Although the UAEG is worried about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, its short-term policy decisions regarding Iran center on not provoking its neighbor.
It still seems true that advocates of attacking Iran have been exaggerating the extent of support for this among our Gulf state allies. The leaked cables confirm that they are not simply making this up out of thin air, which is something of an achievement given the lousy track record of some hawks when it comes to making claims about foreign affairs. None of this changes the reality that “pro-Israel” hawks and the Israeli government remain the dominant forces pushing a confrontational U.S. policy towards Iran. The report that some Arab governments agree with this reckless, disastrous course of action isn’t really news, and it doesn’t make military action against Iran any less harmful to the entire region.
What is odd is the new concern for the fears and concerns of Arab governments from people who have spent the better part of the last decade deliberately ignoring or in some cases actively opposing the interests of those governments.