Israel and Saudi To Become Bedfellows Against Iran?

by
Sameera Ehteram
Iran’s nuclear ambitions seem to have ruffled the feathers of some Middle-Eastern powers. In fact, Israel and Saudi Arabia – historically bitter rivals of each other – are so concerned that they plan on working together to curb Iran’s nuclear drive, reported the U.K’s Sunday Times.

Israel & Saudi Arabia Unite

Iran’s nuclear ambitions seem to have ruffled the feathers of some Middle-Eastern powers. In fact, Israel and Saudi Arabia – historically bitter rivals of each other – are so concerned that they plan on working together to curb Iran’s nuclear drive, reported the U.K’s Sunday Times.

According to the newspaper, Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad is working with Saudi officials on contingency plans for a possible attack on Iran if its nuclear program is not restrained. They quote a diplomatic source saying that Saudi Arabia has agreed to let Israel use its air space, and assist an attack by collaborating on the use of drones, rescue helicopters and tanker planes.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did tell the French daily Le Figaro that there was a “meeting of the minds” between Israel and the “leading states in the Arab world” on the Iran issue.

Despite the fact that the Saudis and the Israelis have been hostile towards each other for decades, the one thing they seem to have in common is their lack of trust in Iran.

So what is happening on the Iran’s nuclear front?

Iran has been quite aggressive over its nuclear program in the past, but the tone somewhat changed since President Hassan Rouhani took over.

Hassan Rouhani

This year in September, when Hassan Rouhani addressed the United Nations, his tone was mellow and his stance diplomatic. In a later interview, Rouhani said his country was ready for peaceful negotiations and friendly ties with the U.S.

Some cheered, while others had their doubts over the sudden change in stance. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was one of the mistrusting ones. He even called Rouhani a "wolf in sheep's clothing."

Ever wonder: What Does Pope Francis And The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Have In Common?

Iran and P5+1 (United Nations Security Council permanent members + Germany) missed signing a nuclear deal by a whisker in Geneva earlier this month. Iran blamed France for the failure.

French President Francois Hollande demanded a tougher deal that would make it harder for Iran to break any pact; including putting all of its nuclear facilities under international control, ceasing construction of the plutonium plant and reducing existing uranium stockpiles.

But all is not lost - Iran and P5+1 are to meet again on November 20 in Geneva.

Now while the U.S and some others may be hoping for a positive outcome from the Geneva talks. both the Israeli and Saudi governments are convinced otherwise.

Read More: Peace Talks: Is Israel Shooting Itself In the Foot?

What so big about the Saudi-Israel Collaboration?

Saying that Saudi Arabia and Israel are sworn enemies would not be an exaggeration:

  1. Both countries are based in ‘Holy Lands’ and consider themselves to be the ‘chosen ones’.  Hence, they have been pitched against each other for decades based on religion.
  2. They do not maintain diplomatic ties.
  3. Saudi Arabia heavily supported Palestine against Israel in the 1948 Arab-Israel war and other conflicts since.
  4. Saudi Arabia went as far as cutting off all diplomatic ties with Egypt for a decade as a punishment for signing the Camp David Accord (1978) with Israel; only renewing formal ties neartly a decade later in 1987.
  5. Both sides in have taken baby steps towards each other in recent times ti improve ties, but all previos efforts failed.

By collaborating with each other, both Saudi Arabia and Israel risk incurring the wrath of their own people.

As Thomas Lifson writes for the American Thinker, this could mean ‘the end of the Royal Family's rule.’ He quotes Rick Moran saying, "If it was ever confirmed the royal family would be dead meat."   “Demonization of Israel has been a staple of life in the Arab world, nowhere more so than Saudi, custodians of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. After all, next in line in the "holy city" rankings is Jerusalem, or, as the Arabs call it, Al Quds,” he adds.

So the fact that they are even contemplating coming together on any front is  hugely significant. While all else failed to bring the two countries together, could Iran have inadvertently played a role in boosting ties between the Saudis and Israelis?

Worth Reading: What Is At Stake In Iran Nuclear Talks?

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