As can be verified by traces of the report on the web that are turned up by search engines, on Jul. 9 Haaretz posted a report quoting senior Israeli government sources who said that Saudi Arabia did not oppose an Israeli military strike on Iran.  --  As Stratfor noted later that day, the Israeli daily later "pulled it from its Web site."[1]  --  "When contacted, an employee of the daily told Stratfor that the report had been 'censored and pulled.'  When called again, the employee refused to confirm the story had been pulled."  --  Stratfor's analysis:  "It is possible the Saudis ordered the Haaretz piece retracted to maintain the careful balancing act they are performing between the United States and their Persian neighbor, but the move to pull the story also could have been part of psyops involving the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel to increase pressure on Iran to accept the new regional order and cut a deal on Iraq and the nuclear issue."  --  In later Haaretz pieces Saudi Arabia was replaced by vague assertions about "an Arab country":  "[O]fficial representatives of an Arab country have hinted in meetings with Israeli officials that they would not oppose an Israeli military operation against Iran, sources in Jerusalem said this week," Haaretz reported on Jul. 10.  --  On the same day, the London Guardian published a piece on Arab countries' anxieties about the U.S.-Iran-Israel imbroglio, noting that "the Bushehr nuclear reactor, two miles from the Gulf coast, is closer to six Arab capitals (Kuwait, Riyadh, Manama, Doha, Abu Dhabi, and Muscat) than it is to Tehran."[3]  --  Ian Black did not mention the Haaretz article, but reported that "Tehran is mistrusted in almost every Arab capital.  None believe the insistent claim that it is interested only in civilian nuclear power and has no military ambitions.  It is seen as working to establish its hegemony across the Middle East, setting the agenda through allies or 'non-state' proxies such as Hezbpllah and Hamas, confounding the U.S. and Israel in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine."  --  Only Syria and, to a lesser extent, Qatar, are sympathetic to Iran, Black said, observing that "Historic Arab antipathy to Persians still runs very deep.  And vice versa."  --  On Jul. 9, an article in al-Sharq al-Awsat (London) warned of oncoming war:  "All signs indicate a war is in the offing.  It is clear that Tehran's response to the big powers' proposals were not encouraging; they seem to be frustrating, or, as was reported, disappointing, and that Iran's response actually answered nothing.  Moreover, the past two days saw a new escalation as U.S. and British naval forces yesterday completed military maneuvers in the central and southern Arab Gulf.  The U.S. Fifth Fleet declared that the maneuvers were part of continuing training to protect oil installations in the region from any attack."[4]  --  Tariq al-Humayd wrote (as translated by I Stock Analyst):  "In the Arab world, and in the narrow decision-making circles, there is a conviction that there will be a military confrontation with Iran in the near future.  Any observer of the agreements that have been signed in the Gulf, the change in the map of alliances, and the settlement of differences in the region can see that a very big event is coming.  Certain leading decision-makers in the Gulf are warning that something is going to happen in September or October, while the Western press is publicly saying it will happen this fall.  In any case, the months ahead will carry a great deal of news.  --  But there was no need to translate the report, as an English version just as fluent appeared on the Asharq Al-Aswat (its spelling) English-language web site.[5] ...

1.

ISRAEL: THE DISAPPEARING NEWSPAPER REPORT

Stratfor Today
July 9, 2008

http://www.stratfor.com/analysis
or
http://forum.spacebattles.com/showthread.php?p=3690313

The Israeli daily Haaretz posted a report to its Web site late July 9 quoting senior government sources as saying Saudi Arabia is not opposed to an Israeli military strike on Iran.

Riyadh’s support for an Israeli attack on Tehran is a story in of itself. But the bigger story here is that sometime after posting the report, the Israeli newspaper pulled it from its Web site. When contacted, an employee of the daily told Stratfor that the report had been “censored and pulled.” When called again, the employee refused to confirm the story had been pulled.

The pulled report said Saudi officials suggested to their Israeli counterparts in a recent meeting that Saudi Arabia would not be opposed to an Israeli attack against Iran. The Saudi officials told their Israeli colleagues that the other Arab Persian Gulf states were troubled by Iran’s conduct. They added that the Arab world was concerned that Iran would cause a split in its unity by stressing the differences between Shia and Sunnis.

The Saudis need to see Iran contained at all costs, but they also want at all costs to prevent a military confrontation in the Persian Gulf that could disrupt oil trade in the Strait of Hormuz so they can continue to make money by exploiting high oil prices before the next slump. To this end, the Saudis generally have been more cautious in their statements toward Iran, preferring instead to have the Israelis and the Americans engage in the heavy military posturing. It is possible the Saudis ordered the Haaretz piece retracted to maintain the careful balancing act they are performing between the United States and their Persian neighbor, but the move to pull the story also could have been part of psyops involving the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel to increase pressure on Iran to accept the new regional order and cut a deal on Iraq and the nuclear issue.

Regardless of the report’s veracity, the story’s censorship underscores U.S. and Saudi moves to avoid a conflict with Iran -- or more precisely, to sufficiently pressure Iran so that the negotiations over Iraq can finally come to a close.

2.

SENIOR TEHRAN OFFICIAL: IRAN WOULD DESTROY ISRAEL IF ATTACKED
By Yoav Stern, Mazal Mualem, and Barak Ravid

Haaretz & Reuters
July 10, 2008

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1001036.html

Iran would destroy Israel and 32 U.S. military bases in the Middle East if the Islamic Republic was attacked over its disputed nuclear program, a senior official was quoted as saying on Saturday.

"The U.S. knows full well that with the smallest move against Iran, Israel and 32 U.S. military bases in the region would not be out of the reach of our missiles and would be destroyed," the semi-official Fars News Agency quoted Mojtaba Zolnour as saying.

Zolnour is the deputy of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's representative in Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards.

Meanwhile, official representatives of an Arab country have hinted in meetings with Israeli officials that they would not oppose an Israeli military operation against Iran, sources in Jerusalem said this week.

According to the sources, the representatives of the Arab country said they are worried by Iran's growing influence in the region, primarily among Shi'ite communities in Arab states.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak hinted Thursday that Israel would be willing to attack Iran when he said that "Israel is the strongest country in the region and has proved in the past that it is not deterred from activity when there is concern that its vital interests could be harmed."

The representatives told the Israeli officials that other Arab countries are also troubled by Iran's policy. Some Arab states are afraid that Iran's growing power will create a rift between Sunnis and Shi'ites. That concern is especially rife in Arab countries with a Shi'ite minority.

Political sources in Israel told *Haaretz* that Iran's increasingly belligerent statements have worried the Gulf states, which want American protection against Tehran. "If this is how Iran threatens when it doesn't have nuclear weapons, what will it do when its nuclear program ripens?" one Israeli source said.

Addressing the Iranian issue during a Labor Party meeting in Tel Aviv on Thursday, Barak said that "at the moment the focus is on international sanctions and intensive diplomatic activity, and these channels have to be exhausted."

3.

News

World news

Middle East

ARABS FEAR FALLOUT OF NUCLEAR CONFLICT
By Ian Black

** Nervous Arab states fear a war in the Gulf but a nuclear-armed Iran is an even greater concern **

Guardian (London)
July 10, 2008

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jul/10/middleeast.iran

Arab governments are deeply worried about the prospect of war between Iran and Israel and/or the U.S. for the very good reason that several of them would be directly in the firing line if hostilities erupted. Any fallout could have devastating consequences.

Iranian retaliation against oilfields, refineries, and desalination plants in the Gulf, especially in eastern Saudi Arabia, is an obvious worry. Tehran has gone on the record as threatening to close the Straits of Hormuz, the choke point for 40% of globally-traded oil, if it is attacked. Washington quickly insisted that it will not let that happen.

As the sabers rattled this week, Iran warned that it would strike at Tel Aviv and the U.S. Navy, though Revolutionary Guard Shahab missiles would find it difficult to distinguish between American and Arab targets: the U.S. Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain; U.S. Central Command in nearby Qatar and the U.S. navy has long relied on docking facilities at Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates.

Even without the threat of war, Iran's Arab neighbors have long lived in fear of another Chernobyl: the Bushehr nuclear reactor, two miles from the Gulf coast, is closer to six Arab capitals (Kuwait, Riyadh, Manama, Doha, Abu Dhabi, and Muscat) than it is to Tehran. Any nuclear accident would be an ecological disaster.

But the recent sniping has been ominous. "We are sandwiched between Iran on the one hand and Israel and the U.S. on the other," said Mustafa Alani of the Gulf Research Center in Dubai. "We feel that we are going to be victims."

Abdullah Alshayji, a Kuwaiti analyst, agrees, describing the Gulf states as "feeling like helpless bystanders with little room to maneuver." War would be "a nightmare of epic proportions for the whole region," he said.

And Tehran is mistrusted in almost every Arab capital. None believe the insistent claim that it is interested only in civilian nuclear power and has no military ambitions. It is seen as working to establish its hegemony across the Middle East, setting the agenda through allies or "non-state" proxies such as Hezbollah and Hamas, confounding the U.S. and Israel in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine.

Syria, Iran's only Arab ally, is the glaring exception, maintaining a strategic relationship that dates back to the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Maverick Qatar, home to al-Jazeera as well as a huge U.S. air base, has been careful to stay on good terms with Tehran, not least because of massive joint natural gas projects. Otherwise Arab states are united in their suspicion of the country they fervently hoped to see defeated by Saddam Hussein in his eight-year struggle against Ayatollah Khomeini. Historic Arab antipathy to Persians still runs very deep. And vice versa.

The sight of long-range Iranian missiles being launched into desert skies was a grim reminder of that war against Saddam. But Arabs already see Iran as the main beneficiary of the more recent conflict in Iraq, with the Sunnis defeated and marginalized by the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad -- even if there are now signs of grudging acceptance that it is there to stay.

Public statements by Arab leaders make clear that they oppose military action by Israel or the United States. The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council has declared that it would not allow its territory to be used to attack Iran -- and even hosted Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at its summit late last year.

Saudi Arabia, where some military men are said to be privately advocating a hardline stance towards Iran, has chosen the path of accommodation rather than confrontation. King Abdullah made a symbolic public declaration of this policy last year when he invited Ahmadinejad to go on the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

Bahrain, just a few miles across the Gulf from Iran, has anxieties over so-called Iranian "sleeper cells" amongst its restive Shias -- the majority of the population in the Sunni-ruled kingdom. But it too favors engagement and diplomacy -- and worries about conflict. The same is true of Kuwait, at the head of the Gulf.

Further afield, Jordan's King Abdullah, who coined the phrase "Shia crescent" to describe the alarming spread of Sunni-Shia sectarianism, warned recently that action against Iran would open a "Pandora's box." His recommendation: "Engage with the Iranians. A military strike in Iran will only solicit a reaction from Iran and Iranian proxies, and I don't think that we can live with any more conflicts in this part of the world."

Privately, things may be different: "If we have to choose between Iranian nuclear deterrence and intimidation, or accept military action as a solution, we'll accept military action," says Alani. "We in the Gulf can live with Iranian retaliation for a week or a month. That's manageable compared to the possibility that Iran will be a nuclear power."

Israel, waging an intensifying propaganda campaign over Iran -- and seeking to coax Syria away from its alliance with Tehran -- likes to claim that "moderate" Arab states would support an attack on Iran's nuclear installations, though passive acquiescence is not the same as active support.

"We would not be participants," Alani says of the Gulf states. "We would be beneficiaries. But no one will say this in public. We don't want premature confrontation because we still believe there is a margin for a diplomatic solution."

Still, there is no mistaking the anxiety in the region. "Perhaps the objective of Iran's frequent threats is to stir up fear amongst the Gulf states over the repercussions of any U.S. strike against it so that they it turn may pressure Washington into preventing any military action," observed Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed in the Saudi-owned *al-Sharq al-Awsat*. "But this is having an opposite effect from the desired one."

4.

[Translated from the Arabic]

TEXT OF REPORT BY SAUDI-OWNED LEADING PAN-ARAB DAILY 'AL-SHARQ AL-AWSAT WEBSITE ON 9 JULY

I Stock Analyst
July 9, 2008

Original source: I Stock Analyst

IS WAR APPROACHING?
By Tariq al-Humayd

Al-Sharq al-Awsat (London)
July 9, 2008

Those who follow Western press editorials notice that they urge Iran, Israel, and the United States to act rationally, and demand that Israel and the United States refrain from launching a military offensive against Iran. If we consider the hike in oil prices and the fiery statements made by Iranian officials, despite Iran's efforts to calm its allies -- Hamas and Hezbollah -- all would justify this question: Will there be war in the near future? All signs indicate a war is in the offing. It is clear that Tehran's response to the big powers' proposals were not encouraging; they seem to be frustrating, or, as was reported, disappointing, and that Iran's response actually answered nothing. Moreover, the past two days saw a new escalation as U.S. and British naval forces yesterday completed military maneuvers in the central and southern Arab Gulf. The U.S. Fifth Fleet declared that the maneuvers were part of continuing training to protect oil installations in the region from any attack.

The Iranians have already threatened to close the strategic Hormuz Strait, through which 40 per cent of global oil shipments pass. Only yesterday spokesman for the U.S. [Fifth] Fleet said that "what is at issue is protecting regional and global economy." And yesterday, the Americans announced that that the aircraft carrier the USS Abraham Lincoln left the Gulf waters and headed to the Arabian Sea to support military operations in Afghanistan. In tandem with the U.S. and British maneuvers, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps conducted naval maneuvers in the Gulf to improve "the combat capabilities of the ballistic and naval units." In addition, statements were made by various Iranian echelons, all heightening escalation and threats.

To understand what is going on, one has to ponder the statement made by the Iranian Ambassador to London, Rasoul Movahedian, in which he said that "suspending the enrichment of uranium is now a thing of the past; by insisting on this illegal and illogical demand, the West is only wasting its time." Time is the secret of the game. Tehran is seeking to mark time until President George Bush leaves the White House in the hope a new president will assume power, one who is not enthusiastic about taking a tough stand on Tehran. Tehran received the message through Obama's latest statements and stances. However, the time Iran is trying to buy is what Israel specifically is seeking to exploit. The former Israeli Mossad chief has warned that Iran will possess nuclear weapons within a year, noting that time to stand up to Iran is "running out."

In the Arab world, and in the narrow decision-making circles, there is a conviction that there will be a military confrontation with Iran in the near future. Any observer of the agreements that have been signed in the Gulf, the change in the map of alliances, and the settlement of differences in the region can see that a very big event is coming. Certain leading decision-makers in the Gulf are warning that something is going to happen in September or October, while the Western press is publicly saying it will happen this fall. In any case, the months ahead will carry a great deal of news.

--Originally published by Al-Sharq al-Awsat website, London, in Arabic, 9 Jul 08. Story Source: BBC Monitoring Middle East.

5.

WILL THERE BE WAR?
By Tariq Alhomayed

Asharq Al-Aswat
July 9, 2008

http://aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=2&id=13346

Anybody following the Western press cannot miss the headlines calling on Iran, Israel, and the U.S. to act rationally and to not carry out a military attack against Tehran. If we were to look at rising oil prices and Iran’s fiery statements, despite the calm enforced by its allies Hamas and Hezbollah, it would all lead to one question: Will there be war?

All indications point towards this and it is clear that Tehran’s response to the proposals made by major powers was not encouraging but was apparently frustrating, or at least it was reported to be frustrating and unresponsive.

The past two days have witnessed a new state of escalation after American and British naval forces conducted military exercises in the Arabian Gulf. The U.S. Fifth Fleet announced that the exercise [Exercise Stake Net] took place in the central and southern Gulf and that it was part of ongoing training aimed at protecting the region's oil infrastructure from any attack.

The Iranians have previously threatened to seal off the strategic Strait of Hormuz, through which approximately 40 percent of the world's oil passes. Yesterday, a Fifth Fleet spokesman stated that the matter concerned the protection of the regional and global economies.

The US also announced yesterday that the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln has moved from the Arabian Gulf to the Arabian Sea to support military operations in Afghanistan. However, these maneuvers were accompanied by naval exercises carried out by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the Gulf to “improve the capabilities of its [Iran’s] long-range ballistic missiles and sea missiles.” Moreover, Iranian statements that can be classified as escalatory and threatening were issued across all levels.

To understand the past events, it is necessary to ponder what the Iranian ambassador to the United Kingdom Rasoul Movahedian said: “The issue of the suspension of uranium enrichment has become a thing of the past and the West, through its insistence upon this illegitimate and unreasonable demand is only wasting time.”

But time is the essence of the game. Tehran is trying to buy time until [U.S. President George W.] Bush leaves the White House in hope that the new president will not be as keen on taking firm positions against Iran -- and this message was delivered to Iran through the statements and positions adopted by Barack Obama recently.

However, Iran trying to buy time is precisely what Israel is trying to avoid. The former Mossad director [Shabtai Shavit] recently warned that if Iran is capable of possessing nuclear weapons within a year, the time left to confront Tehran is increasingly getting shorter.

In the Arab world and in the narrow circle of decision-making, there is the conviction that a military confrontation with Iran is looming fast. Those monitoring agreements forged in the Gulf and the changes in alliances and the clearing of skies in the region can see something big approaching on the horizon.

Various decision-makers among Arab world leaders are warning of a looming event in September or October whilst the Western media is publicly referring to this coming autumn. In any case, the coming months will be heavily laden.

--Tariq Alhomayed is the Editor-in-Chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, the youngest person to be appointed that position. Mr. Alhomayed has an acclaimed and distinguished career as a Journalist and has held many key positions in the field including; Assistant Editor-in-Chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, Managing Editor of Asharq Al-Awsat in Saudi Arabia, Head of Asharq Al-Awsat Newspaper's Bureau-Jeddah, Correspondent for Al-Madina Newspaper in Washington D.C. from 1998 to Aug 2000. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs including: the BBC, German TV, Al Arabiya, Al- Hurra, LBC, and the acclaimed Imad Live’s four-part series on terrorism and reformation in Saudi Arabia. He is also the first Journalist to conduct an interview with Osama Bin Ladin's Mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a B.A. degree in Media Studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, and has also completed his Introductory courses towards a Master’s degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He is based in London.