The big story today is the latest WikiLeaks’ release of the first batch of about 250,000 US diplomatic cables, which expose US dealings with the rest of the world and are particularly damaging both to the Obama Administration and the foreign policy 'establishment'.
The key to how this happened is US soldier Bradley Manning, a former intelligence analyst who has been held in solitary confinement for the last seven months and is facing a court martial in 2011. He is allegedly downloaded tons of classified material while serving on an army base outside Baghdad, including Siprnet the diplomatic encrypted cable database. The leaked cables range up to the "SECRET NOFORN" level, which means they are meant never to be shown to non-US citizens.
Manning allegedly leaked the stolen data to WikiLeaks, a site run by Australian hacker Justin Assuage.
While these cables are intended to be read by officials in Washington up to the level of the secretary of state, the most sensitive "top secret" and above foreign intelligence files aren't part of what's been leaked, since they can't be accessed from Siprnet, which is where the current documents come from.
So, what's in the latest batch? Plenty. For starters:
In fact, Obama’s June 2009 meeting with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, just before Obama's Cairo speech ended with King Abdullah flying into a tirade over Obama's inaction on Iran.
And that concern extended to other Arab leaders.
This directly contradicts foreign policy 'experts' like Chas Freeman, Stephen Walt, Robert Dreyfuss, Marc Lynch and a slew of others who have continuously stated that 'delivering Israel' is the key to Mid East peace rather than dealing with Iran and now appear not to have the foggiest idea about what they're talking about.
Or perhaps they merely have an agenda more concerned with Israel than with Middle East peace.
Of course, you read about this here on Joshuapundit first, about three years ago.
Aside from the usual blather about the 'peace process', Barack's remarks on Iran and Pakistan are of interest:
In both meetings, Barak described Iranians as "chess, not backgammon players." As such, Iran will attempt to avoid any hook to hang accusations on, and look to Pakistan and North Korea as models to emulate in terms of acquiring nuclear weapons while defying the international community. He doubted Tehran would opt for an open, relatively low-threshold test like the recent one in North Korea. Rather, Iran will seek ways to bypass the NPT while ensuring its program is redundant and well-protected to prevent an irreparable military strike. Barak estimated a window between 6 and 18 months from now in which stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons might still be viable. After that, he said, any military solution would result in unacceptable collateral damage. He also expressed concern that should Iran develop nuclear capabilities, other rogue states and/or terrorist groups would not be far behind.
Barak reinforced his message regarding Pakistan in both meetings. He described Pakistan as his "private nightmare," suggesting the world might wake up one morning "with everything changed" following a potential Islamic extremist takeover. When asked if the use of force on Iran might backfire with moderate Muslims in Pakistan, thereby exacerbating the situation, Barak acknowledged Iran and Pakistan are interconnected, but disagreed with a causal chain. To the contrary, he argued that if the United States had directly confronted North Korea in recent years, others would be less inclined to pursue nuclear weapons programs. By avoiding confrontation with Iran, Barak argued, the U.S. faces a perception of weakness in the region.
There will undoubtedly be more coming.