Swiss newspaper reports Israel, Saudi Arabia, working together to prevent Iran’s expansion in the Middle East.
Nitzan Keidar, 08/01/18 11:38
The Swiss newspaper Basler Zeitung on Monday morning reported that Israel and Saudi Arabia are working together to fight Iran’s expanding presence in the Middle East.
According to the report, the two countries are cooperating significantly in the areas of military issues and security on strategic issues, despite the fact that they have no open diplomatic ties.
Another report said that the shared interest in preventing Iran from establishing itself throughout the Middle East with a land corridor to the Mediterranean Sea has caused the Saudis to debate purchasing Israeli-made military equipment and defense systems.
Basler Zeitung also claimed that Riyadh requested Israel examine the possibility of acquiring, including through a third party, anti-tank defense systems and the Iron Dome anti-missile system.
Recently, there were several reports of Israeli and Saudi officials meeting, though neither side disclosed the topics discusses. The Swiss report claims that in October, intelligence officials from both countries met in order to tighten cooperation, and discussed holding an additional meeting with intelligence leaders of both countries.
In November, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot gave an interview to the Saudi Arabian news site Elaph, stating that “the real and greatest threat in the region is Iran, which has three important issues that need to be acted upon. The first is its nuclear program, which has been temporarily frozen, but there is no doubt about Iran’s intentions to achieve nuclear capabilities. Second, Iran’s imposing its influence on various regions and third, its supplying arms [to proxies] to carry out missions, such as to Hezbollah, the Houthis, and Islamic Jihad.
“At the same time, there is an American policy to establish alliances to fight Daesh (ISIS), and they succeeded in doing so. The US is also trying to strengthen and support the moderate Sunni axis in the region without putting its soldiers on the ground to fight. On the other hand, there is a Russian policy that looks only at the Russian interests in Syria. They have made a pact with Assad, Iran and Hezbollah on the one hand, and with the Americans to fight against Daesh, and with Turkey and ourselves (Israel) as part of a mechanism to prevent friction, which has been working very well.”
He also said Israel “is ready to share information if necessary, and there are many common interests we have in common with them.