Israel And Saudi Make For Strange Bedfellows

Jalil Javed-
A famous saying goes that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. This couldn’t be a more perfect metaphor for what appears to be the cozying up of Saudi and Israeli officials as they plan for a future alliance to combat the threat of Iran’s ever-growing influence in the region.
The plan makes a lot of sense from both the Israeli and Saudi perspectives; Iran has allied themselves with Russia, Syria, and Lebanon, with Iraq also appearing to prefer Iran. This leaves Saudi Arabia and Israel with an enemy surrounding and enveloping them. Hence, out of a need to maintain their respective strengths, it is important for them to forgo their differences in order to ally with each other against the Iranian hegemony in the Levant.
A US official who witnessed the emergence of the alliance claimed that Saudi and Israeli officials have been holding closed-door meetings together for “at least the last five years.”
“The Saudi-Israeli intelligence relationship has been there in an outline — an exchange of views — for decades,” said Simon Henderson, director of the energy policy program at the Washington Institute  “It has its own life because of Iran. That’s the umbrella reason.”
The ultimate goal, however; is to create a lasting alliance between the two nations led by the new Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia; an alliance that would hopefully also lead to a solution regarding Israel’s long-standing with the Palestinian state. The Trump administration is optimistic that this deal will enable the regional players to find a two-state solution for the long run.
“Giving birth to a visible Saudi-Israeli alliance that will deter Iran … is in many ways the very rationale for advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace in Washington and Riyadh,” Zalzberg from the International Crisis Group said.
However, it is becoming more and more obvious that Saudi-Israel relations are bound to grow, having already seen a lot of growth in the past few months. Some of the signs of a future alliance have included historic firsts, such as a senior Israeli military leader taking part in an interview with a Saudi newspaper, in which he promised that Israel is ready to share intelligence with Riyadh regarding Iran.

Israel’s Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot appeared in a Saudi newspaper interview promising closer ties between Tel-Aviv and Riyadh.  (Getty)

During his interview, Lieutenant General Eisenkot said:
“With President Donald Trump, there is an opportunity for a new international alliance in the region and a major strategic plan to stop the Iranian threat.”
“We are ready to share intelligence, (with Saudi Arabia), if necessary. There are many common interests between us.”
“Iran seeks to take control of the Middle East, creating a Shi’ite crescent from Lebanon to Iran, and then from the Gulf to the Red Sea. We must prevent this from happening.”
There were also reports that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia made a covert trip to Israel in September, although this has not yet been confirmed. However, if history is something to go by, this alliance will be another sign that hostilities between the Saudi and Iranian bloc are increasing.

 Featured Image: Middle East Monitor

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