World : The recent developments in the Middle East, the hot ground of constant conflicts and wars, are leading to the covert relations between the two unlikely allies- Saudi Arabia and Israel. Thus reflecting the changing Geo-political scenario of the region.
According to an article published in Aljazeera, The alliance between these nations has meant differently for different analysts, with some saying that the new alliance is against the ‘common threat’ Iran.
Ofer Zalzberg, from the International Crisis group says that the change in relations is related to Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which the US sees as a precondition for promotion of regional cooperation.
Zalzberg also said that “Giving birth to a visible Saudi-Israeli alliance that will deter Iran … is in many ways the very rationale for advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace in Washington and Riyadh.”
The senior adviser and Son-in-law of US President Jared Kushner is believed to be devising a new plan to break the dead-lock in the Israel-Palestine peace process.
According to Kobi Michael, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, the new relations between the two strange allies are based on the shared strategic interest with other countries in the region, which he described as the “pragmatic Arab camp”.
Excluding Qatar, the other Gulf states like Egypt, Jordan – have two strategic threats: Iran and the Salafi or radical Islamic terrorism,” Michael said.
“Unfortunately, the US left a vacuum in the region which was filled by the Russians in Syria and by the Iranians and their proxies in other parts of the Middle East.”Israel is perceived as the most reliable potential ally,” he continued. “Therefore, the Saudis understand pretty well that it is a good time to be good friends with Israel.”
Michael also said that the Saudis are now much less obliged to Palestinians than before and are willing to agree to an interim agreement. Michael also interprets that this is an opportunity for Saudis to strengthen the religious importance and authority on the two Holy cities of Islam- Mecca and Medina at the expense of Jerusalem and the religious significance the Haram al-Sharif (Islam’s third-holiest site) holds, which in turn will strengthen their position against Iran.
According to a political analyst, khalil Shaheen, based in West bank city of Ramallah, the current realignment in the relations comes at the expense of Palestinian cause.
Israel is a military and nuclear power which is unmatched by any other country in the region. So these Arab states are motivated by the survival of their regimes. This is leading them towards stronger state in the region as the US power in the region declined, the gap has been filled by Israel.
Mahjoob Zweiri, an associate professor with the Gulf Studies Program department at Qatar University, says that Iran is just an excuse.
“The political changes in Saudi Arabia and the desire to consolidate power is the main reason why these relations with Israel were opened,” said Zweiri.
“Yet Iran, which is used as an excuse, isn’t too worried about this potential alliance,” he continued. “This will, in fact, help Iran to present itself as a soft power to better its image in the region” – by means of presenting itself as a bastion of resistance against Israel.