Are Saudi-Israel Boosting Relations to Counter Iran?

Eizenkot

In an interview with the Saudi electronic newspaper Elaph (considered the first independent publication of the Kingdom) published on Thursday, November 16, the Israeli commander pointed to the joint threat to Israel and Saudi Arabia in the face of Iran. He described Sadat as "a courageous leader, who stood against the tide and paved the way for other Arab leaders to recognize the importance of strategic ties with Israel".

Eisenkot urged boosting of Saudi-Israel relations and invited other interested parties, to jointly curb the spread of "aggressive Iranian influence" in the Middle East.

The Israeli army's chief of staff gave the first interview by someone in his post to a Saudi news outlet.

Saudi Arabia maintains that any relations with Israel hinge on Israeli withdrawal from Arab lands captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

"The contacts with the moderate Arab world, including with Saudi Arabia, help us to stop Iran".

In the interview, Eisenkot called Iran "the biggest threat to the region" and said Saudi Arabia was in "complete agreement".

Pro-Iranian forces in Syria

Eisenkot added that "Under U.S. President Donald Trump there is an opportunity to form a new global alliance in the region".

His comments were the latest sign that behind-the-scenes links between Israel and some Persian Gulf Arab countries are being forged due to Iran, their shared foe, even though they do not have formal diplomatic ties.

"There are many shared interests between us and Saudi Arabia", Eizenkot added.

In public remarks in September, Netanyahu pointed to covert relationships with Arab states, saying, without mentioning any by name, that cooperation exists "in various ways and different levels". He also noted that Israel and Saudi Arabia have never fought each other.

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot seen at a ceremony for the incoming new IDF Technology and Logistics Directorate head Brigadier General Aharon haLiva, who replaced Brigadier General Kobi Barak.

In 2016, former Saudi general Anwar Eshki visited Israel, where he met Israeli legislators, to promote - as he has at various academic forums - the Saudi peace initiative.




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