In a Wikileaks-leaked cable from the US embassy in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s office, Ambassador James C. Oberwetter reported in December 2006 that an unnamed Saudi official told the embassy that Saudi Arabia fears an Iranian missile strike more than terrorism.

“xxxxxxxxxxxx told Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Frances Fragos Townsend that he was speaking for the King when he urged action to counter Iranian threats. xxxxxxxxxxxx said he worries more about an Iranian missile launch against Saudi oil facilities than a terrorist attack against them, because he can take preventative measures against terrorism but not against Iranian missiles.”

The cable shows the Saudis urging the US to attack Iran.

“The more dangerous threat, in his view, is a SCUD missile launch from Iran, which could happen with short or no notice. The Iranians would target Saudi facilities at Ras Tanura and Jubail, also perhaps the US bases in Qatar and Bahrain, which would cause the Saudis to be involved as well, he said. His concern was that tightening sanctions on Iran will cause Iran to up the ante, triggering an escalation leading to a missile launch. Given the possibility of this scenario, he speculated on the option of a pre-emptive strike.”

“I would rather be on the offensivesince we are the target,” the Saudi said, later clarifying that he meant “military readiness,” not necessarily a military strike.

The Saudi official said he was speaking on behalf of King Abdallah several times it he cable.

The same cable also implicated the United Arab Emirates, an American ally, accusing 8-12 Dubai banks of having “extensive links wit Iran, holding up to $12 billion in Iranian assets.”

“We need to send someone quickly to the UAE to freeze these assets before the Iranians begin to unload them. In addition, he continued, the Saudi Monetary Authority should issue a caution to Saudi banks to refrain from Iranian transactions or else jeopardize their international dealings,” the cable reads.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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