In his August 4, 2008 column in the liberal Arab e-journal Elaph, Saudi columnist Saleh Al-Rashed argued that the Gulf states should urge the West to attack Iran before it acquires nuclear weapons.
Following are excerpts from the column:
A Nuclear Iran is Like a Nuclear Bin Laden
"'There's no avoiding what there's no avoiding' – this adage came to mind when I read the pronouncement by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps commander Mohammad 'Ali Ja'fari, who said: 'My country is easily capable of closing the Straits of Hormuz, the main passageway for oil freighters, if the country is attacked due to its nuclear program.'
"In my estimation, confronting this country, which is trying to gain the time necessary to acquire nuclear weapons, is unavoidable. The possession of nuclear weapons by a state like Iran, which is ideological to the core, is more or less like Osama bin Laden having a nuclear bomb. They are two of a kind. Despite the difference in their turbans and in their religious beliefs, the end result is the same.
"Perhaps it is our bad luck that we [i.e. Saudi Arabia] and the Gulf states would be the first to suffer from a military confrontation with Iran and from its response, and the problem would become even more grave if Iran succeeded in closing the Straits of Hormuz, as the IRGC commander threatened. But our situation with Iran is like that of the sick man who refuses to have his illness treated with cauterization. Yes, the pain of the burning is horrible, but this malady can only be treated through this military confrontation –cauterization.
"History has taught us that ideological countries only pay heed to victory over their ideology… They never accept any halfway situation, even when they find themselves on the brink of disaster."
"Confrontation Is The Solution"; "The Absolute Priority Must Be Our Strategic Security in the Gulf"
"Confrontation is the solution, and there is no solution but confrontation. The game of the carrot and the stick played by the U.S. and E.U. will be to no avail.
"At present, we are suffering from two things: Iran's attempts [to gain] regional hegemony, and its attempts to impose its influence via its sectarian allies – the fifth column of Arab Shi'ite fundamentalists. Imagine what Iran's influence, hegemony, and fifth column would be like if Iran had a nuclear bomb.
"Perhaps it is a strange coincidence that, this time around, our strategic interests coincide with those of Israel. The regime of the mullahs in Iran is our enemy, and at the same time it is an enemy not just of Israel, but of world peace and security.
"I know that the Arab demagogues stand together indiscriminately with anyone who is against Israel and America. But we need to not be swept away by these demagogues as we were in the past. This time, the absolute priority must be our strategic security in the Gulf, which is threatened by Iran – even if this comes at the expense of the Palestinian cause.
"In politics, nothing prevents you from allying with the devil for the sake of your interests. This is what confronting the Iranian danger – which is close – demands of us. This issue, in my estimation, cannot suffer delay or hesitation. Every passing day benefits Iran.
"Thus, we need to push the world powers, and especially the U.S. and the E.U., towards military confrontation to neutralize the Iranian enemy, whatever the cost, before the nuclear bomb makes it too late – even if it is against the will of the Arabs of the north."