by Gavriel Queenann
Newly acquired intelligence reports indicate several Arab countries in the Middle East are lobbying the US to strike Iran this year, Israel's Channel 10 reported.
According to the report, which is said to be making its rounds in Britain's political circles, Saudi Arabia wants the Obama administration to attack Iran's nuclear facilities before the final withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
US president has vowed to close the door on American military involvement in Iraq by year’s end, but Riyadh is reportedly afraid Iran will use the American exit to take over the country.
Since 2008, officials in the Iraqi interim government have complained to Washington that both Iran and Saudi Arabia were, respectively, funding the Shiite and Sunni insurgencies that have plagued the country since the US-led invasion that toppled late dictator Sadam Hussein.
Security experts say Baghdad's security forces are unprepared to confront the rival insurgencies that hold Iraq in their grip - and that Obama's dogged drive to fulfill his campaign promise may have disastrous consequences both for the region and US interests.
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies have been locked in a strategic battle with Iran for hegemony over the Persian Gulf - and have accused Tehran of seeking to destabilize the region through its ‘Shiite Diaspora.’
Gulf Arab leaders have sought to exert pressure on Iran and its regional allies - most notably Syrian president Bashar al-Assad - by allying themselves with Western powers opposed to Tehran's aggressive posture.
They have also joined western powers in targeting Iran's nuclear program, which they see as targeting them first and foremost - rather than Israel, who Iran has threatened repeatedly with destruction.
Suadia Arabia has also said, should Iran obtain nuclear weapons, Riyahd will seek them as well - raising the specter of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Analysts say this may be a lever to spur Obama to alter course from his current passive, sanctions-driven posture towards Iran.
Despite this, Arab powers have been reticent to publicly call for an Iran strike - which has been a high profile part of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's diplomatic agenda.
Instead, observers say, they have sought to work behind the scenes to avoid being seen as working in concert with Israel.
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