Israel ready to cooperate with Ryad to “face Iran”
Israeli Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, at his induction ceremony, at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem, February 16, 2015
Israel is ready to cooperate and exchange intelligence with Saudi Arabia “to face Iran,” Israeli Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot said in a rare interview with an Arab media outlet on Thursday.
“We are ready to exchange our experience and intelligence information with the moderate Arab countries to deal with Iran,” Lieutenant-General Eisenkot told the Elaph online news site, founded by a man from Saudi business and based in Britain.
“We are ready to share the information if necessary,” he insisted as Elaph asked if Israel had recently shared intelligence with Ryad.
An Israeli army official confirmed to AFP the content of the officer’s remarks. He added that the interview, conducted in Tel Aviv with a correspondent of the private news site, was the first of its kind for a chief of staff in office with an Arab media outlet since 2005.
These statements come amidst strong tensions on several issues between the two heavyweights in the region, Sunni Arabia and Shiite Iran.
Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. Iran is the great enemy of Israel.
Israeli leaders repeatedly reiterate that Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East and the concerns it raises among some countries in the region are creating a new convergence of interests. They suggest that it could lead to a diplomatic reconfiguration in a region where only two Arab countries have made peace with Israel.
“With President Donald Trump, there is the chance of a new international alliance in the region and a major strategic plan to stop the Iranian threat,” said General Eisenkot.
Israel is alarmed by Iran’s nuclear activities and the danger that Iran, militarily committed alongside Bashar al-Assad’s regime, will establish a new front near Israeli borders and not trace a continuous strategic crescent through Iraq , Syria and Lebanon to the Mediterranean.
Iran supports another of Israel’s great enemies, Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah.
Following the shocking resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, announced on Nov. 4 in Riyadh, Hezbollah and Iran have accused Saudi Arabia of pushing Israel to attack Lebanon.
“We have no intention of engaging in a conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon and coming to a war, but we can not accept the strategic threats from there,” said General Eisenkot.
“I am very pleased to see calm on both sides of the border for 11 years (and the 2006 Lebanon war), but we are seeing Iranian attempts to escalate,” he said. he says.
Israel insists that Iran’s influence and the new regional realities signal an improvement in its relations with the Arab countries.
A recognition of Israel by these Arab countries seems still distant, but that does not prevent the emergence of discrete cooperations, according to experts and officials. These cooperations are very difficult to independently confirm as the subject is sensitive.