Swiss report claims Israeli-Saudi cooperation on combatting Iran increasing; Saudis reportedly looking into purchasing defense systems, like Iron Dome, from Israel.
A Swiss newspaper reported increased secret cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia in combatting Iran.
The newspaper, Basler Zeitung, is one of several reports over the past two years of Israeli-Saudi cooperation, the report claiming that Saudi Arabia is not only cooperating with Israel on regional developments, mainly involving Iran, but also considering purchasing defense systems, such as the Iron Dome and tanks “which Israel claims has proven to be effective in countering rocket attacks from Gaza Strip.”
The report claims that Israel and Saudi Arabia’s “intensive secret cooperation” is in order to “achieve the main goal of curbing Iran’s expansion project and undermining its regional ambitions”, claiming that cooperation between the both countries is “very advanced”.
Saudi Arabia continues to deny any cooperation with Israel.
In September of 2017, Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the current defense minister, was reported to have secretly visited Israel. The meeting was reportedly held with Israeli security officials and centered on Arab initiatives to resume the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as on Iran.
During the report of the visit, Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed Israel’s growing relations with Arab states, stating “What is actually happening with the Arab states has never happened in our history, even when we signed agreements. Cooperation between Israel and Arab states exists in various ways and different levels, though it still is not visible above the surface. There is much more than during any other period in the history of Israel. This is a tremendous change. The entire world is changing.”
In November of 2017, former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry claimed that Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt pushed the Obama Administration to bomb Iran ahead of the 2015 nuclear deal, reports surfacing that Israel and Saudi Arabia were at the start of increased cooperation on combatting Iran and the Islamic State.
In the summer of 2017, reports from Europe claimed the establishment of economic cooperation between both states. Direct communications, flying over Gulf and the entrance of Israeli businesses in the region were reportedly discussed. Reports claimed that “links would start small: allowing Israeli businesses to operate in the Gulf, for example, and letting El Al, the national airline, fly over Saudi airspace.”
In February of 2017, a conference in Tehran entitled “The 6th International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada” was attended by delegates from over 80 states including delegations from Hamas, Hezbollah, varied Islamic Jihad groups and by states including North Korea, Syria and numerous African states. The focus of the conference was to criticize Arab states for cooperation with the State of Israel, which Iranian President Hassan Rouhani referred to as a “Zionist plot for establishment of normal relations with Arab countries,” while calling on a Palestinian intifada.
Rouhani stated that “the Muslim world should resist to restore the rights of the Palestinian nation and it should pay the needed price,” accusing Israel, which he referred to as an “occupying regime”, of attempting to “normalize its situation,” claiming Israel “has for the first time referred to certain Arab countries as its allies against the resistance front, instead of describing them as its enemies,” referring specifically to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and the United Emirates.
Photo: Israel & S. Arabia, Wikimedia Commons, 2017.