The Times Online is reporting from Tel Aviv that Saudi Arabia will allow Israel to fly-over their country to get to Iran “during any future raid on Iran’s nuclear sites.”
The Saudis are very concerned about an Iranian nuclear bomb, even more than the Israelis,” said a former head of research in Israeli intelligence.
The Israeli air force has been training for a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear site at Natanz in the centre of the country and other locations for four years.
Saudis to let Israel flyover to attack Iran?
by Carl in Jerusalem at Israel Matzav:
Before we start this story, let me inform you that one of its authors is Uzi Mahnaimi, who has been known to exaggerate in the past.
The Sunday Times of London is reporting that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that it will look the other way if the IAF overflies its country on a mission to remove Iran’s nuclear capability. Traversing Saudi Arabia would considerably shorten the route to Iran.
The head of Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence service, has assured Benjamin Netanyahu, its prime minister, that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran’s nuclear sites.
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.
Two things make this report credible. One is that the Israeli press has carried reports of meetings with Saudi officials, which the Saudis have dutifully denied. Second, Mahnaimi and Sarah Baxter cite John Bolton, who calls this development ‘logical.’
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.
Bolton, who has talked to several Arab leaders, added: “None of them would say anything about it publicly but they would certainly acquiesce in an overflight if the Israelis didn’t trumpet it as a big success.”
Arab states would condemn a raid when they spoke at the UN but would be privately relieved to see the threat of an Iranian bomb removed, he said.
They quote Bolton as going on to note that to this day, Israel has not admitted any of the specifics of the 2007 raid on Syria’s nuclear reactor.
So is this going to happen? It’s plausible. It’s also something that no one here or in Riyadh would discuss openly (and you can expect a Saudi denial – and maybe even an Israeli one – before the morning is over). And I highly doubt anyone told Mahnaimi about it. He may have just guessed it.
Putting this together with the Suez Canal story from Friday (which was half-denied by Egypt), one can conclude that something is in the works with or without American cooperation (which won’t happen so long as Obama is President). What and when remain to be seen. But I would bet on it happening sometime within the next six months. With his obsession with ‘engaging’ with Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs, Obama has managed to scare the Egyptians and the Saudis even more than the Israelis and has brought an attack on Iran’s nuclear capability much closer than it was six months ago.
End Israel Matzav
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