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Tuesday, January 23, 2007     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Report: Gulf states would prefer U.S. strike to a nuclear Iran

ABU DHABI — The Persian Gulf states would support a U.S. strike to destroy Iran's nuclear weapons program.


A report by the Dubai-based Gulf Research Center asserted that the six Arab states would not tolerate a nuclear Iran. The report said the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) sees a coming conflict between the U.S. and Iran as a "castrophe".

"Teheran has to finally realize that if push comes to shove, if the choice is between an Iranian nuclear bomb and a U.S. military strike, then the Arab Gulf states have no choice but to quietly support the U.S.," the report, authored by international studies director Christian Koch, said.

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Iran and the United States are moving rapidly toward a conflict, the report said. GRC cited the deployment of two aircraft carrier groups as well as PAC-3 missile defense batteries in the Gulf.

GRC, which on Tuesday held a roundtable that included U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, said Iran has rejected negotiations with the Gulf Arab states. The report cited Iran's military buildup in the Gulf and its refusal to negotiate the seizure of two islets from the United Arab Emirates.

"Living under the shadow of Iranian nuclear bomb is unacceptable," the report said. "If Iran wants to limit U.S. influence, it should begin to engage with its GCC neighbors as true partners and provide them with necessary assurances."

Entitled "Abdicating Responsibility: Iran and U.S. Driving Gulf Region to Another Conflict," the report said GCC states have been unhappy over the U.S. deployment in the Gulf. GRC warned of a military conflict and insurgency similar to that in Iraq.

"Allowing events to run their present course in the Gulf will have devastating consequences not only for the region but for the international community as a whole," the report said.

"Current developments are not encouraging, and time short to prevent what is bound to be a catastrophe," the report said. "Current attempts at trying to woo the Gulf Cooperation Council states to support either of the causes are nothing more than self-serving mechanisms."

In late 2006, the GCC approved a plan to study the feasibility of a nuclear program. GCC representatives plan to begin talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency over the next few weeks. "There are preparations underway for meetings in the coming weeks with officials from the IAEA about the GCC nuclear program," GCC secretary-general Abdul Rahman Al Attiya said.

For its part, GRC said Iran has refused to provide GCC states with assurances regarding its role in the region. The report said Iran has sought to intimidate its Gulf Arab neighbors by threatening to send suicide bombers and block the Straits of Hormuz.

"It is little wonder then that the Arab Gulf states continue to request and depend on U.S. protection given that 'export of the revolution' represents a real threat to their existence," the report said.  

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