The United Arab Emirates withdrew its ambassador from Tehran this week. The move was ostensibly made in response to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to the Iranian-occupied, UAE-claimed island of Abu Musa. Of course, the timing of Ahmadinejad’s unprecedented and incendiary visit–no Iranian leader had ever frequented Abu Musa previously–coupled with the extreme nature of the UAE’s response suggests that more is at play here than a longtime border dispute. As The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg notes:
This is a small reminder, of course, that the way we tend to look at the Iran crisis — as a binary issue, a dispute between Tehran and Jerusalem — just isn’t accurate. The Arab states, with the exception (for the moment, at least) of Syria, look upon the Iranian regime with fear and loathing.
Of course, there is an alternative explanation: the UAE may be bowing to pressure from its notoriously powerful Israel lobby. After all, which scenario seems more plausible – that Arab countries like UAE and Saudi Arabia consider Iran a deadly threat and seek to combat it, or that the global Jewish cabal is clandestinely manipulating them into conflict?There are plenty of people who hold theory number two very tenaciously, and expend a lot of mental effort on intellectual gymnastics to show how the Elders of Zion manipulate the House of Saud. But the simplest explanation is often the best, and in this case it seems clear: Israelis, Arabs, Americans and Europeans are all disturbed by what they see in Iran, and for reasons of their own, all these parties want solid guarantees that Iran will not build nuclear weapons.