Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made clear he does not share Israel’s concern over Iran and its nuclear development program. He also made clear US relations with Iran will not result in any agreement that would endanger other Middle Eastern nations. “There’s probably some concerns in the region that may draw on an exaggerated sense of what’s possible.” Gates said President Obama is offering an open hand to the Iranians but don’t be surprised if their initial reaction is a closed fist. He urged other Arab nations to open embassies in Baghdad in order to counter Iran’s influence in that county.
Another issue that Gates must address is where prisoners who are released from Guantanamo will be sent. Nearly half the 200 detainees come from Yemen, but it would be dangerous sending them back to a country where escape from prison is not that difficult. Gates is trying to persuade Yemen to allow Saudi Arabia to handle the rehabilitation of the prisoners.
It is unfortunate that too many people in the Middle East are overly fearful of Iran. There is sufficient force available to make any Iranian air strike a disastrous turn of events for that nation.