Israel’s long-term interests

Reports about diplomatic flirtations between Jerusalem and Riyadh have been trending recently, suggesting that Israeli and Saudi leaders have concluded that they now face a common threat: Iran.


Israel sees the Ayatollahs in Tehran as spearheading a regional anti-Israel axis that includes Hezbollah and Hamas, while the Saudis warn that Tehran is using its Shiite Mideast satellites to destabilize Saudi Arabia and its Sunni allies.


Iran’s apparent development of nuclear weapons and Washington’s unwillingness to employ military force against that threat produced a bizarre spectacle: Israelis and Saudis bashing the Obama Administration for its indecisiveness in confronting Iran.


But the notion that Israel and Saudi Arabia are about to join forces against Iran and become BFFs is a public relations gimmick aimed at demonstrating to those worried about the crisis in US-Israeli relations that Israel has an alternative strategic option.


In reality, Israel and Saudi Arabia cannot even be described as “frenemies”. That they currently share concerns over Iran isn’t very different from their common fears over the threat posed by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1950s.


But the occasional cooperation between the two countries’ intelligence agencies has never evolved into a strategic partnership. The enemy of my enemy remains my enemy.


Iran, through its support for terrorist groups, has been responsible for the killings of hundreds of Israelis. But then the Saudis have backed almost every anti-Israel terrorist group, not to mention the role it played in facilitating the Arab attack on Israel in 1973 and in employing the oil weapon as part of its strategy against the Jewish State and the West.


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