News from the Arab Press

Saudi Arabia’s Shift To Israel: Dangerous And Immoral

By Asaf Zilberfarb | The Media Line

November 21, 2017

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Al-Akhbar, Lebanon, November 12

In the wake of failed Saudi foreign policies on almost every front, Riyadh is now clinging to its last remaining hope to achieve a victory against Iran—a rapprochement with Israel.  It has become clearer and clearer in recent weeks that the statements by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu concerning his country’s secret ties with Arab governments has in fact been a direct reference to the covert ties between Tel Aviv and Riyadh. The Israeli premier wasn’t lying. In Syria and Iraq, Saudi Arabia failed miserably at containing Iran and curbing its expansion in the region. In Yemen, a military campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels is now entering its third year, with no clear end in sight. Instead of confronting Iran face-to-face, Riyadh imposed a blockade on Qatar in a bid to stick it to the mullahs in Tehran. Even this attempt failed miserably, as Doha seems able to continue running its affairs unhindered. Now, with pressure from the White House and its special envoy Jared Kushner, the last remaining hope for the Saudis is to beat the Islamic Republic by targeting its favorite offshoot: Hizbullah. It is for this reason that the Saudis forced Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri out of office and kept him under house arrest in Riyadh. The move was carefully coordinated with the Americans and the Israelis, which want to take advantage of Hizbullah’s apparent weakness in order to launch a campaign against the organization. However, an Israeli military campaign on behalf of Saudi Arabia would not come without a hefty price tag and the Saudis are well aware of this. Compensation for the Israelis might include full Saudi recognition of Israel and the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. As always, the first to lose from such a move would be the Palestinians, who will continue to endure the Israeli occupation while losing the last-remaining support of their Arab brethren.  Riyadh is clearly feverish to mark at least one foreign policy victory. In doing so, it has chosen to cast aside existing taboos and partner with Israel. Sadly, he who plays with fire is doomed to get burnt. Partnering with Israel is no exception: it is dangerous, immoral and will result in more losses than benefits.  – Hassan al-Barari

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