05 July, 2009

Saudis and Israelis

There's an old saying that countries don't have friends, only interests. Like many old sayings, there's a germ of truth in it. And while the enemy of my enemy is most assuredly not my friend, he may be someone I can work with to achieve a common end. Case in point:

The head of Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence service, has assured Benjamin Netanyahu, its prime minister, that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran’s nuclear sites.

Earlier this year Meir Dagan, Mossad’s director since 2002, held secret talks with Saudi officials to discuss the possibility.

The Israeli press has already carried unconfirmed reports that high-ranking officials, including Ehud Olmert, the former prime minister, held meetings with Saudi colleagues. The reports were denied by Saudi officials.

“The Saudis have tacitly agreed to the Israeli air force flying through their airspace on a mission which is supposed to be in the common interests of both Israel and Saudi Arabia,” a diplomatic source said last week.

The countries don't have formal diplomatic relations, but that doesn't mean much--especially in a part of the world that's noted for deal-making, deception, and war. The Saudis would have to pay a political price, and they would have to accept the risk of playing a battlefield in a regional war. The move is a threat to the regime on several levels. However, the threat, especially if it is denied by the governments involved, could rattle the Iranians, and both Israel and Saudi Arabia have reason to consider that a good thing.

Saudis give nod to Israeli raid on Iran - Times Online

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