Israeli Defense Minister Urges Cooperation with Saudis Against Iran

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has called on moderate Sunni states, especially Saudi Arabia, to bolster their security ties with Israel in an effort to fight global terrorism and counter the Iranian threat.

In an opinion piece titled “Uniting behind pragmatism in the Middle East” that was published in Defense News, one of the world’s top military magazines, Lieberman asserted that the “strategic divide in today’s Middle East between fanaticism and pragmatism outweighs the sectarian divisions of the past.”

“Sunni Arab terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State group, Al-Qaeda and Hamas have far more in common with the Shi’ite regime of Iran and its Shia Arab proxy, Hezbollah, than with the governments and societies of most Sunni Arab states. While the former uphold a violent, medieval, anti-Western worldview, the latter have a pro-Western approach, prioritizing stability, economic growth and security,” he wrote.

The defense minister noted that there is “much evidence of sober thinking” among the Gulf states, with Saudi Arabia representing “perhaps the clearest example” of that trend. Saudi leaders are spearheading “a bold and visionary policy that doesn’t balk from identifying Iran as the overall regional threat and is forthrightly confronting its terrorist affiliates—the Houthis, Hezbollah and Hamas,” he wrote.

“The more we, the region’s pragmatic forces, combine our energies to defeat our fanatic enemies, the better able we will be to provide for the region’s security and stability and to advance our respective national interests.” Lieberman added.

Previously, Israel’s intelligence minister Yisrael Katz said he wants Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman to visit, his spokesman said Wednesday, in what would be an unprecedented trip involving two sides with no official diplomatic ties.

Israeli leaders have repeatedly spoken of improving ties with the Arab world and hinted at behind-the-scenes cooperation, particularly involving their efforts to limit Iran. Katz issued the call during an interview with Elaph, a news website run by a Saudi businessman, his spokesman Arye Shalicar said.

Meanwhile, a Qatari newspaper has published documents suggesting Saudi Arabia and Israel were plotting to disintegrate Syria even decades ago. The pro-government Qatari Al-Sharq newspaper has released documents about the Saudi Foreign Ministry’s covert cooperation with the Israeli regime back in 1966.

The documents show the Al Saud rulers were hand in gloves with Tel Aviv even 51 years ago to disintegrate Syria, occupy Egypt’s Sinai Desert and secure domination over Gaza as well as the West Bank, writes the Persian-language Kayhan newspaper.

The Qatari paper has published confidential telegraphs sent by the Saudi Foreign Ministry, shedding light on new dimensions of the plot hatched by the Saudi Wahhabi government against Islamic and Arab nations and countries, especially the Palestinian nation.

According to the daily, Riyadh explicitly asked the Israeli regime on December 27, 1966 to occupy the Sinai Desert. While trying to reinforce the pillars of the Tel Aviv regime, Riyadh also proposed an attack be launched against Syria and part of the country be disintegrated.