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  • Is Saudi Arabia next?

    To normalize relations with Israel that is.

    Source: Israel’s Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Hold First Known Meeting


    The gathering coincided with a visit to Saudi Arabia by Pompeo, who has tried to get more Arab states to normalize ties with Israel

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secretly met Saudi Arabia’s crown prince in the kingdom on Sunday, according to three Saudi government advisers, in their first known meeting and amid a U.S. push to normalize ties between the longtime foes.

    Saudi Arabia has denied the meeting took place, but Israel hasn’t. Conflicting accounts reflect the political sensitivity of warming relations with Israel for Saudi Arabia, which for decades has competed with Iran for the mantle of Islamic leadership. Normalizing ties with Israel before any deal for Palestinian statehood would be a seismic shift in the Middle East, inviting scorn from regional rivals Iran and Turkey and potential protests or militant attacks from conservative Saudis.

    Mr. Netanyahu’s meeting with Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday evening in the seaside corner of northwest Saudi Arabia coincided with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit. Yossi Cohen, the director of Israel’s spy agency Mossad, accompanied the Israeli prime minister, according to Israel’s Army Radio.

    One of the Saudi advisers familiar with the talks told The Wall Street Journal that Mr. Pompeo hadn’t joined the meeting, as Israel’s Army Radio initially reported, but had helped arrange it. Mr. Pompeo met Mr. Netanyahu in Jerusalem during a three-day visit last week.

    The Saudi and Israeli leaders discussed several issues, including normalization of ties and Iran, but no substantial agreements were reached, another Saudi adviser said. He said the meeting lasted a couple of hours. One area of focus was on how to coordinate moves to contain Iran once the Biden administration, which has indicated it wants to re-engage with Tehran, takes over, the adviser said.

    Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan, who was seen in photos greeting Mr. Pompeo at the kingdom’s Neom Bay Airport on Sunday, said the crown prince hadn’t met with Israeli officials. “No such meeting occurred. The only officials present were American and Saudi,” he tweeted.

    Prince Faisal said he had accompanied Mr. Pompeo from the airport to the meeting with Prince Mohammed and then took him back to the airport.

    Each development, denial and counter-explanation has been swiftly and thoroughly reported by the Israeli press.

    On Monday, Mr. Netanyahu said at a Likud party meeting, “I have never commented on such things for years and I won’t start now. For years I have spared no effort to strengthen Israel and expand the circle of peace.”

    A State Department spokesman traveling with Mr. Pompeo also declined to comment.

    In its bid to isolate Iran, and elevate Israel’s status in the Middle East, the Trump administration has been pushing Gulf Arab states to normalize ties with the Israeli government. Saudi Arabia is seen as the ultimate prize in the high-stakes diplomatic campaign. The Saudi government, under the direction of King Salman, has so far balked at formal ties with Israel so long as its conflict with the Palestinians remained unresolved.

    Israel has already made deals to normalize ties with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan, and Israeli and American officials have said other such deals are under way, though could be affected by the results of the November U.S. elections.

    Bringing together two of Washington’s top allies and Iran’s main rivals would allow for greater intelligence sharing and ease Israel’s isolation as Washington reduces its military presence in parts of the region.

    Saudi Arabia has long stated that it is open to establishing normal relations with Israel, but only after the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem. As recently as this month, King Salman reiterated in public remarks Riyadh’s support for the Palestinian people’s aspirations for statehood.

    “We support the efforts aimed at bringing peace to the Middle East through negotiations with the Palestinian and Israeli sides to reach a just and lasting peace,” he said.

    But the Palestinian bid for an independent state remains an emotive issue for many in Saudi Arabia, which hosts Islam’s two holiest sites in Mecca and Medina. Generations of Saudis have been raised to defend the third holiest site, in Jerusalem, though some younger Saudis are eager to turn a page and move toward a new era of open travel and commercial engagement.

    Saudis online appeared divided by the news, using the hashtags “Netanyahu is bin Salman’s guest” and “Netanyahu defiles the land of the two holy mosques” on Twitter.

    Reflecting the broader societal divide, Saudi Arabia’s king has been at odds with his son, Prince Mohammed, over embracing the Jewish state. The king is a longtime supporter of the Arab boycott of Israel and the Palestinians’ demand for an independent state, while the prince wants to move past what he sees as an intractable conflict to join with Israel in business and align against Iran.

    Saudi Arabia has become more public in recent years with its frustrations toward the Palestinians, in a sign that Riyadh’s steadfast public support for them is fraying. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a retired intelligence chief and former ambassador to Washington, last month accused Palestinian officials of failing to deliver for the Palestinian people in a three-part program that aired on Saudi television.

    The Palestinian Authority said this month it would resume cooperation with Israel after cutting off contact in May, a move reflecting Palestinian aspirations to restart peace talks with the help of the incoming Biden administration.

    Flight records for a private business jet known to be used by Mr. Netanyahu in the past indicated that the plane entered the airspace near Neom, where Saudi authorities hope to build a futuristic city on the Red Sea shores as part of their plans to diversify an oil-dependent economy, for about five hours on Sunday.

    The Israeli government and the Saudi foreign ministry declined to comment on the flight.

    But Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition partner, lashed out at his political rival. “The leaking of the secret flight of the prime minister to Saudi Arabia is an irresponsible step,” he said.

    Domestic politics in Israel, where Mr. Netanyahu faces a corruption trial, criticism over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and potentially early elections in March, appear to be at play. He has campaigned on his efforts to improve Israel’s standing in the world and a meeting with Prince Mohammed would play well in a future vote.

    Yoel Guzansky, a former head of the Gulf desk on Israel’s national security council, said Saudi counterparts often ask Israeli officials not to reveal details of meetings and conversations.

    “The Saudis always say to their Israeli counterparts, ‘Please don’t leak, you embarrass us, you cause us damage in the Arab world and on the Arab street,’ but the calculations of Netanyahu are different,” said Mr. Guzansky, now at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. “I am not a political guy but this is purely elections related.”


    Source

    © Copyright Original Source





    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization thatís not the argument." --Tassman

  • #2
    It makes sense. The Saudis absolutely, positively hate Iran.

    I don't think they care all that much about Israel, but "the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Sort of.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
      To normalize relations with Israel that is.

      Source: Israel’s Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Hold First Known Meeting


      The gathering coincided with a visit to Saudi Arabia by Pompeo, who has tried to get more Arab states to normalize ties with Israel

      Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secretly met Saudi Arabia’s crown prince in the kingdom on Sunday, according to three Saudi government advisers, in their first known meeting and amid a U.S. push to normalize ties between the longtime foes.

      Saudi Arabia has denied the meeting took place, but Israel hasn’t. Conflicting accounts reflect the political sensitivity of warming relations with Israel for Saudi Arabia, which for decades has competed with Iran for the mantle of Islamic leadership. Normalizing ties with Israel before any deal for Palestinian statehood would be a seismic shift in the Middle East, inviting scorn from regional rivals Iran and Turkey and potential protests or militant attacks from conservative Saudis.

      Mr. Netanyahu’s meeting with Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday evening in the seaside corner of northwest Saudi Arabia coincided with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit. Yossi Cohen, the director of Israel’s spy agency Mossad, accompanied the Israeli prime minister, according to Israel’s Army Radio.

      One of the Saudi advisers familiar with the talks told The Wall Street Journal that Mr. Pompeo hadn’t joined the meeting, as Israel’s Army Radio initially reported, but had helped arrange it. Mr. Pompeo met Mr. Netanyahu in Jerusalem during a three-day visit last week.

      The Saudi and Israeli leaders discussed several issues, including normalization of ties and Iran, but no substantial agreements were reached, another Saudi adviser said. He said the meeting lasted a couple of hours. One area of focus was on how to coordinate moves to contain Iran once the Biden administration, which has indicated it wants to re-engage with Tehran, takes over, the adviser said.

      Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan, who was seen in photos greeting Mr. Pompeo at the kingdom’s Neom Bay Airport on Sunday, said the crown prince hadn’t met with Israeli officials. “No such meeting occurred. The only officials present were American and Saudi,” he tweeted.

      Prince Faisal said he had accompanied Mr. Pompeo from the airport to the meeting with Prince Mohammed and then took him back to the airport.

      Each development, denial and counter-explanation has been swiftly and thoroughly reported by the Israeli press.

      On Monday, Mr. Netanyahu said at a Likud party meeting, “I have never commented on such things for years and I won’t start now. For years I have spared no effort to strengthen Israel and expand the circle of peace.”

      A State Department spokesman traveling with Mr. Pompeo also declined to comment.

      In its bid to isolate Iran, and elevate Israel’s status in the Middle East, the Trump administration has been pushing Gulf Arab states to normalize ties with the Israeli government. Saudi Arabia is seen as the ultimate prize in the high-stakes diplomatic campaign. The Saudi government, under the direction of King Salman, has so far balked at formal ties with Israel so long as its conflict with the Palestinians remained unresolved.

      Israel has already made deals to normalize ties with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan, and Israeli and American officials have said other such deals are under way, though could be affected by the results of the November U.S. elections.

      Bringing together two of Washington’s top allies and Iran’s main rivals would allow for greater intelligence sharing and ease Israel’s isolation as Washington reduces its military presence in parts of the region.

      Saudi Arabia has long stated that it is open to establishing normal relations with Israel, but only after the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem. As recently as this month, King Salman reiterated in public remarks Riyadh’s support for the Palestinian people’s aspirations for statehood.

      “We support the efforts aimed at bringing peace to the Middle East through negotiations with the Palestinian and Israeli sides to reach a just and lasting peace,” he said.

      But the Palestinian bid for an independent state remains an emotive issue for many in Saudi Arabia, which hosts Islam’s two holiest sites in Mecca and Medina. Generations of Saudis have been raised to defend the third holiest site, in Jerusalem, though some younger Saudis are eager to turn a page and move toward a new era of open travel and commercial engagement.

      Saudis online appeared divided by the news, using the hashtags “Netanyahu is bin Salman’s guest” and “Netanyahu defiles the land of the two holy mosques” on Twitter.

      Reflecting the broader societal divide, Saudi Arabia’s king has been at odds with his son, Prince Mohammed, over embracing the Jewish state. The king is a longtime supporter of the Arab boycott of Israel and the Palestinians’ demand for an independent state, while the prince wants to move past what he sees as an intractable conflict to join with Israel in business and align against Iran.

      Saudi Arabia has become more public in recent years with its frustrations toward the Palestinians, in a sign that Riyadh’s steadfast public support for them is fraying. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a retired intelligence chief and former ambassador to Washington, last month accused Palestinian officials of failing to deliver for the Palestinian people in a three-part program that aired on Saudi television.

      The Palestinian Authority said this month it would resume cooperation with Israel after cutting off contact in May, a move reflecting Palestinian aspirations to restart peace talks with the help of the incoming Biden administration.

      Flight records for a private business jet known to be used by Mr. Netanyahu in the past indicated that the plane entered the airspace near Neom, where Saudi authorities hope to build a futuristic city on the Red Sea shores as part of their plans to diversify an oil-dependent economy, for about five hours on Sunday.

      The Israeli government and the Saudi foreign ministry declined to comment on the flight.

      But Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition partner, lashed out at his political rival. “The leaking of the secret flight of the prime minister to Saudi Arabia is an irresponsible step,” he said.

      Domestic politics in Israel, where Mr. Netanyahu faces a corruption trial, criticism over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and potentially early elections in March, appear to be at play. He has campaigned on his efforts to improve Israel’s standing in the world and a meeting with Prince Mohammed would play well in a future vote.

      Yoel Guzansky, a former head of the Gulf desk on Israel’s national security council, said Saudi counterparts often ask Israeli officials not to reveal details of meetings and conversations.

      “The Saudis always say to their Israeli counterparts, ‘Please don’t leak, you embarrass us, you cause us damage in the Arab world and on the Arab street,’ but the calculations of Netanyahu are different,” said Mr. Guzansky, now at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. “I am not a political guy but this is purely elections related.”


      Source

      © Copyright Original Source



      We wait and see.

      https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinio...es-middle-east
      "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" Attrib. Seneca 4 BCE - 65 CE

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
        That's a point made in the article

        Israel has already made deals to normalize ties with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan, and Israeli and American officials have said other such deals are under way, though could be affected by the results of the November U.S. elections.


        And given that the Democrats are considerably more well disposed toward Iran (there is a reason the mullahs avidly supported Biden after all) and haven't exactly been cordial toward Israel in recent years, everything thing could fly apart if Biden starts cozying up with the former. Then again, the Sunni run countries may become more inclined to make peace with Israel so they can focus on Iran if that took place.

        As you said, we can only wait and see.

        I'm always still in trouble again

        "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
        "Of course, human life begins at fertilization thatís not the argument." --Tassman

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
          That's a point made in the article

          Israel has already made deals to normalize ties with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan, and Israeli and American officials have said other such deals are under way, though could be affected by the results of the November U.S. elections.


          And given that the Democrats are considerably more well disposed toward Iran (there is a reason the mullahs avidly supported Biden after all) and haven't exactly been cordial toward Israel in recent years, everything thing could fly apart if Biden starts cozying up with the former. Then again, the Sunni run countries may become more inclined to make peace with Israel so they can focus on Iran if that took place.

          As you said, we can only wait and see.
          Trump's strategy was to isolate and starve Iran, like a cancer. The long-term hope being that opponents inside Iran (I understand they are simmering just beneath the surface) would eventually rise up and throw out the mullahs. But that will never happen if Biden steps in and starts handing the regime much-needed cash again, like Obama did.

          Obama's foreign policy was a trainwreck. Biden will likely follow that same, violent, counterproductive path.

          (sorry for stating the obvious)
          Last edited by Ronson; 11-24-2020, 09:24 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Ronson View Post

            Trump's strategy was to isolate and starve Iran, like a cancer. The long-term hope being that opponents inside Iran (I understand they are simmering just beneath the surface) would eventually rise up and throw out the mullahs. But that will never happen if Biden steps in and starts handing the regime much-needed cash again, like Obama did.

            Obama's foreign policy was a trainwreck. Biden will likely follow that same, violent, counterproductive path.

            (sorry for stating the obvious)
            Or he'll turn his back on the uprising like Obama did while he tacitly supported other revolts in the Middle East including against our allies.

            I'm always still in trouble again

            "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
            "Of course, human life begins at fertilization thatís not the argument." --Tassman

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
              That's a point made in the article

              Israel has already made deals to normalize ties with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan, and Israeli and American officials have said other such deals are under way, though could be affected by the results of the November U.S. elections.


              And given that the Democrats are considerably more well disposed toward Iran (there is a reason the mullahs avidly supported Biden after all) and haven't exactly been cordial toward Israel in recent years, everything thing could fly apart if Biden starts cozying up with the former. Then again, the Sunni run countries may become more inclined to make peace with Israel so they can focus on Iran if that took place.

              As you said, we can only wait and see.
              I agree but I think it much wiser to be conciliatory towards Iran than rattle sabres. The country is a mess in many ways but given what Britain and the USA did to it, resentment runs deep.
              "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" Attrib. Seneca 4 BCE - 65 CE

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

                I agree but I think it much wiser to be conciliatory towards Iran than rattle sabres. The country is a mess in many ways but given what Britain and the USA did to it, resentment runs deep.
                And yet the Iranian Green Movement (a.k.a., Persian Awakening) looked toward us for help and not Germany who Iran cozied up to when Hitler was in power.

                I'm always still in trouble again

                "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                "Of course, human life begins at fertilization thatís not the argument." --Tassman

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                  And yet the Iranian Green Movement (a.k.a., Persian Awakening) looked toward us for help and not Germany who Iran cozied up to when Hitler was in power.
                  Probably because at the time the USA had a liberal progressive President and of course was/is the world's super power. I doubt the movement would have made the same overtures to Trump, do you?

                  The situation in the 1930s was also somewhat different.

                  However, to understand the situation then, we need to go back a little further in history and remember the British influence in that region in the late 19th century and the behaviour of Britain and Russia in the 1900s towards Iran. It is hardly surprising that both Britain and Russia would be viewed with a degree of suspicion within the country after 1919.
                  "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" Attrib. Seneca 4 BCE - 65 CE

                  Comment

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