Balaam is described in the Bible (Numbers 22-24) as an "evil man." He was asked to curse God's people but instead, on three occasions, he produced blessings, not curses. As a result, the expression "Came to curse but ended up blessing" is attributed to people who mean to cause harm, but whose deeds result in a blessing. Is Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, a present day Balaam?
The secret U.S documents he revealed regarding the Middle East show that the leaders of Arab states, although publicly standing behind the Palestinian cause, are less concerned with that issue then they are with the Iranian threat to their countries. World leaders have repeatedly maintained that resolving the Palestinian problem will solve the conflict in the Middle East, and the world's resulting headaches. But that's not what Arab leaders told U.S diplomats and legislators, according to Wikileaks' revealed secret cables from U.S embassies in the region. According to the documents, albeit selectively published by Wikileaks (thereby possibly portraying a distorted picture), the principal villain that causes the Arab leaders' sleepless nights is Iran, not Israel. The Arab leaders repeatedly urged the U.S to help get rid of the Iranian "snake", as the Saudi King called Iran, by cutting off his head, and were not quoted as asking the U.S to force Israel to concede to the Palestinian demands. The Saudis are more concerned with Iranian sponsored coup attempts to replace the royal ruling family with Iranian sympathizers who will yield to Iran's claimed leadership of the Muslim world. The result is that Iran manages to unite Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Gulf States and Israel against the looming Iranian nuclear threat.
Why have the Arab leaders turned mute on the Palestinian causes and secretly told U.S diplomats and Congressmen that Iran is at the top of their worry list?
The answer is obvious: they read the reality map. For them, the Palestinian issue is a nuisance and an excuse, but not a threat. But a nuclear Iran is an imminent and a genuine risk to their regimes and to the stability of the region. In 1990, George W. Bush Sr. organized a coalition to oust Iraq from Kuwait because Saddam Hussein put the West's oil supply at risk. Bush could do that because the Iraqis lacked a deterring weapon: a nuke. However, in the 21st Century, a nuclear Iran could easily control the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia, and approximately 40% of the world's oil supply. A nuclear Iranian will not fear a déjà vu of the 1990 invasion of the Coalition forces to Kuwait and Iraq, because the deterring existence of an Iranian bomb will do the talking, and cause the West's resulting restraint from attacking Iran.
Iran's Ahmadinejad openly declares that Israel "must be wiped off the map," and Iran's massive military assistance to Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon shows that they already have a beach head in the region. Therefore, the unavoidable conclusion is that there will be no Middle East peace if Iran becomes a nuclear regional superpower. If a Palestinian president thinks of a peaceful settlement of the conflict with Israel, and looks around and sees Iranians' tentacles in Gaza and Lebanon, he cools off because he can take a hint.
With the hands of Ahmadinejad on the oil spigots of the region's oil, he could bring the West, and its economies to their knees. How? By setting the price of an oil barrel to $200 or more. "The Americans don't have to buy oil from us if they can't afford our price" would likely be the words of a smiling Ahmadinejad to a cheering crowd in a Tehran square. "The Americans will pay our price and will give us the honor we deserve," he will conclude.
The U.S economy would be crippled.
A fantasy? Think again. Why would Iran, the world's 4th largest producer of oil, need nuclear energy? They have so much oil that it goes beyond their ability to refine it. Maybe nuclear energy is needed for electricity production as they claim? Scientists tell us that electricity production does not need 20% enriched uranium, 5% is enough. That and other hard evidence collected by intelligence services brings the chilling reality that Iran is rapidly progressing towards building a nuclear device, and no one but the Iranian leaders deny that.
History is repeating itself and shows that revealed secret documents do not always cause significant damage. In 1979 when the Iranians took over the U.S embassy in Tehran, they found a trove of confidential documents and published them in printed booklets. So, did the sky fall? Did a disaster follow? Does anyone still remember that short-lived embarrassment other than a handful of people with long memories?
Long gone are the days when a published previously secret diplomatic cable could ignite a war. In 1917, during World War I, the British intercepted and decoded a top secret telegram sent by Arthur Zimmerman, the German State Secretary for foreign affairs, via the German embassy in Washington DC to Heinrich von Eckardt, the German ambassador in Mexico In the telegram Zimmerman instructed Eckhardt to offer Mexico generous financial and other support if they attacked the U.S and tried to seize Arizona, Texas and New Mexico. By mongering a war between the U.S and Mexico, the Germans hoped to rivet the U.S and prevent it from joining the allies in the war against the Germans. After the telegram was intercepted and published by world media, Zimmerman confirmed its authenticity and resigned. Although Mexico declined the German offer, the U.S experienced a public cry for war and in April 1917, Congress authorized President Wilson to join World War I ending 2.5 years of U.S neutrality.
Did Assange, who clearly wanted to portray the U.S as a Satanic and selfish superpower actually help the U.S case? Or did the leaked confidential U.S cables damage U.S interests? There's no question that damage was done in many told and untold ways. However, the documents also show the U.S' genuine efforts to promote peace, prosperity, and democracy, even in countries where the rulers would rather receive just cash deposited into their Swiss bank accounts.
Assange inadvertently helped another case; By bringing to light what people assumed was happening in the dark, revealing that Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, and Bahrain, just to name a few, are secretly cooperating to stop the Iranians' nuclear plans turning from a threat to a painful reality. Other sources revealed that Saudi General Presidency of Intelligence Chief Prince Muqrin bin Abd al-Aziz and heads of the Israeli Mossad have been secretly meeting in Jordan during the past year to forge a joint front against the Iranian nuclear threat.
Julian Assange is not a modern Balaam, nor its present day talking donkey, but a pathetic anarchist with a name and appearance of a James Bond villain. Nonetheless, sometimes history has a sense of humor when it chooses a messenger to make its point.
Follow Haggai Carmon on Twitter: www.twitter.com/haggaicarmon