Israel and Saudi Arabia: What’s shaping the covert ‘alliance’

To all intents and purposes, Saudi Arabia and Israel are de facto allies in the struggle against Iran’s rising influence in the region. It’s a developing but highly sensitive relationship, but every so often there is a hint of what may be going on beneath the surface.

Last week Israel’s Chief of Staff, General Gadi Eisenkot, said in an interview with UK-based Saudi newspaper Elaph, that Israel was ready to exchange intelligence with the Saudis in order to confront Iran.

“There are shared interests and as far as the Iranian axis is concerned we are in full accord with the Saudis,” he said.

  • Watchman

    He’s my take on this issue, but no references.
    Saudi Arabia is ruled by the Saud royal family, of which there are around 25,000. The ones really in charge are muslims in name only and yet must present themselves as devout muslims to avoid the summary death penalty for apostasy. There are many of those 25,000 who are devout, fanatical muslims and use their share of the oil revenues to support a Dawa movement across the world as well as terrorist organisations.

    The Saud royal family have a deal with the fanatical and very fundamentalist Wahhabist strain of Sunni islam after the Wahhabis took over the most holy mosque in Mecca in 1979 and could not be quickly and easily crushed. This deal allowed the Saudi family to remain rulers in exchange for money and supporting the promotion of Wahhabism in Arabia and around the world.

    The subjects of the Saudi royal family have been exposed to Wahhabism all their lives as this is the brand of islam officially supported and themselves fund overseas Dawa and terrorism as well as their young men actually travelling to fight as their jihad.

    The biggest threat to the Saudi royal family is the Shia empire of the Iranians, as the vast majority of Saudi Arabia is Sunni. The 14% of Saudi people being Shia is a potential threat to the Saudi royal family, so they want to limit the influence of the Iranians both inside and outside their kingdom. If Iran was Sunni, they would still be a threat to the Saudi royal family, but a lesser threat than being Shia. Turkey is mostly Sunni and has dreams of becoming the centre of a legitimate caliphate and thus a threat to the Sauds.

    In order to counter the growing Iranian influence in the region and around the world, the Saud royal family are trying to work with countries in the region that they can trust and also will not attempt to do themselves what Iran (and Turkey) is trying to do. There is only one country that meets this criteria: Israel.

    Israel knows it is surrounded by hostile muslims that would be keen not to just destroy Israel as a nation, but genocide every Jew on the planet. It knows that if all of the muslim countries around it put aside all their differences they might be able to obliterate Israel militarily. So Israel acts to ensure all their surrounding enemies remain enemies with each other and are roughly balanced in military power so that they just glare at each other without trying to invade each other.

    Israel knows there are some countries it can work with – but not really trust. Saudi Arabia is one of these, but Israel knows if the Wahhabists took over the rest of the muslim world they would be in a lot of danger due to the single sect then able to create a unified single military to crush Israel.

    Israel can’t cooperate in the open since they know that the Saud royal family might be brought down if enough Saud subjects believe that the Saud royal family had turned apostate, or that a Wahhabist faction of the Saud royal family might stage a coup and turn really anti-Jewish and anti-Israel. This might explain the cleaning up of some Saud royal family members just recently by those in power in Saudi Arabia.

    I’d be interested in how others view my conclusions about the Saud-Israel relationship.

    • David_Martin

      There’s a simpler analysis – The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    • Linda1000

      My two cents:
      Israel is dancing with the Saudis right now because it can to a certain extent with Trump and the U.S. backing both against Iran. Neither the Saudis or the U.S. want Iran taking over Iraq, re-establishing itself in Syria or taking over Lebanon which would be too close for Israel. Israel knows how to play the ME games just as well as the Arabs because it has had to learn in order to survive since 1948. Of all the world muslims, the Gulf Arabs are the most educated, Westernized because of their wealth and they like the freedom so yes many of them live double lives in private and conform out of necessity in public. With MbS and the young population in Saudi backing him, he might just have a chance to succeed in moving the country forward. I don’t think the Wahhabi have enough power in the country now to take over completely and the way MbS is cleaning house he might take a few of the most powerful Wahhabi clerics out also if he meets too much resistence. Bahrain is majority Shia and then the Eastern Province in Saudi is Shia but if the Saudis start treating their Shia a little more equally there probably won’t be so much discontent as the Shia in the Eastern Province have long been calling for change. The Shia in Saudi have never been desperate enough to relocate to to Iran. Iran will keep trying to stir things up with their armed militia groups and nuclear threat thanks to Ozero. It’s too soon to guess how things will shake out and if MbS doesn’t survive then there will be more chaos. Saud Hariri is not being detained in Saudi but is there for protection and he was lucky to get out of Lebanon before Hezbollah got to him like his father Rafik. Dont know how Russia will play in all this or maybe Putin will just stay out of it but he has seaport interests in Syria. Maybe North Korea who is friends with Iran is trying to act as the big distraction to the U.S. since the Little Rocketman has been very vocal against Trump lately.

  • Raymond Hietapakka

    …a temporary romance, at best…

  • Norman_In_New_York

    Both countries are pursuing their national interests, primarily security. The Saudis recognize that Israel holds the balance of power in the region. Should there be a coup in Iran that ousted the ayatollahs in favor of the kind of secular rule provided by the shah, Israel would turn on a dime in favor of Iran.

    • Linda1000

      After almost forty years of brainwashing by the ayatollahs, I think all the secular influence of the Shah has disappeared in Iran. I don’t think there is enough resistence even with the young people after the failed 2009 Green revolution which seems to have turned them inward. High drug and suicide rates because they have lost hope?