Summary: New news indicates that an Israeli strike against Iran has just become more likely. Again.
From The Times:
Earlier this year Meir Dagan, Mossad’s director since 2002, held secret talks with Saudi officials to discuss the possibility. The Israeli press has already carried unconfirmed reports that high-ranking officials, including Ehud Olmert, the former prime minister, held meetings with Saudi colleagues. The reports were denied by Saudi officials.
“The Saudis have tacitly agreed to the Israeli air force flying through their airspace on a mission which is supposed to be in the common interests of both Israel and Saudi Arabia,” a diplomatic source said last week.
Although the countries have no formal diplomatic relations, an Israeli defence source confirmed that Mossad maintained “working relations” with the Saudis. John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the United Nations who recently visited the Gulf, said it was “entirely logical” for the Israelis to use Saudi airspace.
… Recent developments have underscored concerns among moderate Sunni Arab states about the stability of the repressive Shi’ite regime in Tehran and have increased fears that it may emerge as a belligerent nuclear power. “The Saudis are very concerned about an Iranian nuclear bomb, even more than the Israelis,” said a former head of research in Israeli intelligence.
Terrifying. Of course that was a year ago, 5 July 2009. The new new terrifying story is in The Times, 12 June 2010:
In the week that the UN Security Council imposed a new round of sanctions on Tehran, defence sources in the Gulf say that Riyadh has agreed to allow Israel to use a narrow corridor of its airspace in the north of the country to shorten the distance for a bombing run on Iran.
“The Saudis have given their permission for the Israelis to pass over and they will look the other way,” said a US defence source in the area. “They have already done tests to make sure their own jets aren’t scrambled and no one gets shot down. This has all been done with the agreement of the [US] State Department.”
Sources in Saudi Arabia say it is common knowledge within defence circles in the kingdom that an arrangement is in place if Israel decides to launch the raid. Despite the tension between the two governments, they share a mutual loathing of the regime in Tehran and a common fear of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “We all know this. We will let them [the Israelis] through and see nothing,” said one.
The sourcing for this sourcing is better. But raises more questions that it answers.
- Will Israel take the fearsome risk of striking at Iran, risking both the core of their air force but also Iran’s counterstrokes?
- Will the US, whose at least tacit cooperation is necessary, risk Iran’s reaction — with our armies so extended in Iran’s zone of influence?
- What would the people of Saudi Arabia think of their princes’ collaboration with Israel?
Pat Lang (Colonel, Special Forces, retired) asks similar questions at his blog Sic Semper Tyrannis:
If this were true, and the plan were executed, the Saudis would pay a very high price in the Islamic World. The “legitimacy’ of Al-Saud rule in the land of the emergence of Islam would be gone. It has always been a bit shaky. The reaction of the armed forces of Pakistan is incalculable in such a situation, and they ARE the Islamic nuclear power. And what would Israel’s air force accomplish in such an attack with conventional weapons? Can Israel be this foolish? Are the Saudis equally foolish? I think not.
Let’s give the the Saudi embassy the last word:
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia categorically and totally denies a report published by a British newspaper Saturday that it has granted permission to Israel to use its airspace for any hostile activities against Iran. Saudi Arabia has repeatedly reiterated its clear stance that it will never allow anyone to use its territories or airspace for aggression against another nation.
If that was not clear, there is this:
The Ambassador of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to United Kingdom, HRH Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf, has categorically denied allegations circulated in British newspapers that the Kingdom has given permission to Israeli aircraft to attack Iran by flying over its territories. He said this would be against the policy adopted and followed by the Kingdom. He reiterated the Kingdom’s stand in rejecting any violation of its territories or airspace. He added it would be illogical to allow the Israeli occupying force, with whom Saudi Arabia has no relations whatsoever, to use its land and airspace. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Posts about a strike by Israel at Iran
- Will Israel commit suicide? More rumors of a strike at Iran , 22 December 2007
- A new story about a possible war with Iran, 21 May 2008 — About the 20 May Jerusalem Post story, originally reported by Army Radio (see below).
- “As things look, Israel may well attack Iran soon”. 3 June 2008 — About the Fischer story in the 30 May Daily Star.
- “Attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable” . 8 June 2008 — War-talk by a former Defense Minster of Israel.
- Der Spiegel: “Israeli Ministers Mull Plans for Military Strike against Iran”. 17 June 2008 — Rumors in Der Spiegel of a strike by Israel on Iran.
- More rumors of a strike at Iran by Israel, 1 July 2008 — More rumors.
- Leaks about a possible strike at Iran (this is a hot issue), 7 July 2008 — Leaks of concerns about the effectiveness of a strike by Israel, and the consequences.
- The most expensive psy-war campaign – ever!, 13 July 2008
- ISIS: “Can Military Strikes Destroy Iran’s Gas Centrifuge Program? Probably Not.”, 8 August 2008
- Another general advocating war with Iran, 18 August 2009
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