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November 29, 2017
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Saudi-Israeli ‘bromance’ growing publicly: UK think-tank

National

November 29, 2017

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LONDON: A security think tank has said that Saudi Arabia and Israel have put aside their differences to become friends and allies – openly.



The Royal United Services Studies Institute (RUSI) said in a report on the Gulf Region, Israel, Middle East and North Africa that Israel and Saudi Arabia have come friends “due to a fear of Iran's nuclear ambitions and its actions in the region”. It said that there’s “almost open bromance between Israel and Saudi Arabia, brought together by their joint hostility towards Iran.”



The report mentioned that this month that Israel Defence Force Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot gave an unprecedented interview with Saudi newspaper Elaf, in which he described Iran as a threat to the region. The Israeli minister announced that Israel would be prepared to share intelligence with “moderate” Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia, to “deal with” Tehran. “We are prepared to share information if it is necessary. There are many mutual interests between them [Saudi Arabia] and us.”



Israeli Energy and Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israel Army Radio – the Israeli equivalent of BFBS – that his country “has ties, some of them secret, with many Arab and Muslim states.”



Steinitz added: “Usually the one who wants those ties to be discreet is the other side … We respect the wishes of the other side when contacts are developing, whether it is with Saudi Arabia or other Arab or Muslim countries.”



The RUSI said that Steinitz was very close to Netanyahu and would have never revealed the existence of secret ties without the prior knowledge and approval of his boss. It said that since the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979, which brought the Ayatollahs to power, Israel and Saudi Arabia have had shared interests in the Gulf region.



The RUSI said that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (Mbs) wants to take his country down a new path, and in doing so is sweeping aside the old guard in Riyadh. “MbS, like Netanyahu, is very close to the Trump administration, and has developed a good relationship with fellow thirty something Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s special envoy son-in-law. Iran, at least, saw no coincidence in the fact that Saad Hariri announced his resignation from the post of Lebanese Prime Minister in Riyadh only days after Kushner had been in town,” it said.



It said that for as long as Iran remains hostile towards Jerusalem and Riyadh, the unlikely relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia is likely to grow. RUSI’s Pakistan expert said that Israel and Saudi relationship is not new but what is new is now it is public with no denials anymore from two countries. “Both are complementing each other in public and both are also undermining Palestine cause and the Saudis do not support Palestine given Israel’s current stance and Saudi complicity in it,” he said. Saudi authorities have already denied Israeli ministers remarks about any links between the two countries.

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