• UAE fears Iran more than Israel?
Sheik Abdullah bin Zayed, foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates, "asserted that the UAE is even more worried about Iranian intentions than is Israel," according to a secret April 9, 2009, cable from the State Department recounting a meeting two days earlier between the sheik and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Speculating that Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari was a Shiite, Sheik Abdullah echoed the "Saudi concern of a Shia triangle in the region between Iran, the [Nouri al-] Maliki government in Iraq and Pakistan under Zardari."
In other cables released by the website WikiLeaks, the sheik's brother Mohammed — crown prince of Abu Dhabi — was quoted, among several other senior Arab officials, as favoring U.S. military action against Iran's nuclear program.
• British anxiety over Obama
There was widespread British concern after President Obama's inauguration that the U.S.-U.K. "special relationship" was coming to an end, London-based U.S. diplomats reported to Washington in a confidential cable on Feb. 9, 2009.
Noting "a stronger-than-usual outbreak of British political and media anxiety about the future of U.S.-UK relations," the cable said that the fears of those in government and the media arose from a "perfect storm" of factors
— British support for Bush administration foreign policies, a struggling British economy, a weakened Prime Minister Gordon Brown and poor U.K. military performance in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"More than one [government] senior official asked embassy officers whether President Obama meant to send a signal in his inaugural address about U.S.-UK relations by quoting Washington during the Revolutionary War," the cable says, adding that Mr. Obama's return of the bust of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill that had adorned the Oval Office since the days after 9/11 had only added fuel to the media fire.
• The shores of Tripoli
Libyan officials reneged at the 11th hour on their agreement to ship all of their highly enriched uranium (HEU) out of the country via Russian-chartered planes, leaving U.S. officials terrified about the final seven 5-ton HEU casks "at the lightly-guarded Tajoura Nuclear Facility" and estimating that, with looming risks of leaking radioactive material, they had "one month to resolve the situation before the safety and security concerns become a crisis," according to a Nov. 25, 2009, cable from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli.
According to another secret cable sent five days later, Saif Gadhafi — son of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi — "told the Ambassador November 27 that Libya had halted the shipment of its final HEU stockpiles because it was 'fed up' with the slow pace of bilateral engagement" and "claimed that Libya had not received the 'compensation' it was promised in exchange for an end to its WMD programs." After some high-powered diplomacy, the last HEU shipment left Libya on Dec. 21.
• Google in China
Months before the cyber-attack on Google's servers in China last winter, company officials were complaining that Beijing was behind periodic disruptions the search engine had experienced for three years and that "blocking and other harassment had intensified in June 2009."
According to an unclassified July 12, 2009, cable from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, Google representatives thought "the real reason for the government's wrath is Google's refusal to remove the link to Google.com from the Google.cn website."
Google officials noted that including a link to the main Google site had been one of three promises they had made in testimony before Congress.
"[F]aced with the continual difficulties of doing business in China," says the cable, "the company may even consider pulling out of the market."
— Benjamin Birnbaum
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