Saudi-Israeli cooperation: secret alliance bought for money

Saudi Arabia has paid substantial money for a secret alliance with Israel, a US journalist claims in his study. If this statement is true, it may fundamentally change our perception of Middle East politics.
The region's muddled relations, political and military alliances have long been a favourite subject for researchers and journalists studying the Middle East. Those familiar with the region are all quite aware that the area is characterized by an Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as a Sunni-Shiite and a Saudi-Iranian opposition, which root in cultural, religious and political divisions.
 
However, noted US journalist Robert Parry has recently published an in-depth article based on intelligence information, claiming that Saudi Arabia paid around 16 billion USD to Israel in order to buy the friendship of the Jewish State.

Lobbyists for sale

It is common knowledge that political (and other) lobbying has considerable traditions in the United States. Lobbyists promoting the interests of countries or economic groups often influence US interior and foreign policy decision making processes in a decisive manner.
 
Consequently, Saudi Arabia has also begun to build a lobby in Washington, only to experience bitterly that the masses of law firms and PR specialists costing top dollar or even the exploitation of connections with such powerful families as the Bushes can never outperform the Israel Lobby in the US. Therefore, the Saudis decided to take a different approach: they bought the Israelis, writes Parry. According to the article, Saudi Arabia has given Israel around $16 billion over the past two and a half years, funnelling the money through other Arab states and Israeli development funds.
 
If it is all true, the Saudis may have indeed bought the Israelis, since Israel was starkly opposing the agreement with Iran - and found several American backers along the way.

Why Iran?

Readers not quite familiar with regional affairs might not know that Iran and its religious Shiite leadership is a thorn in the side of another player beside Israel - Saudi Arabia, a key power in the Sunni world also considers the Shiite state as its archrival. The Sunni-Shiite division is one of the greatest fault lines among Muslim countries, which they not have been able to overcome.
 
As a result, Saudis consider any pro-Iran governments in the Middle East as enemies, so much so, that they are apparently willing to ignore the solidarity rooted in the same culture and all-Islam togetherness. Not to mention that they turn a blind eye to the atrocities committed against the Palestinian people (who are also Sunni, by the way).
 
So, Saudi Arabia is not in the least interested in a strengthening Iran. However, the lifted sanctions and Tehran's return to international politics would inevitably lead to a strengthening Persian state, and in a big way too, as Iran has all the capabilities to become a key state of the Middle East, similarly to Turkey. It seems such a dreadful outcome for the Saudis, who follow Wahhabism, a rigorous school of Islam, that they appear willing to ally with Israel to prevent it. Religious rigour does not seem to apply to foreign policy...

Riyadh is not concerned about the bloodshed

According to Parry, Riyadh and Tel-Aviv had a similar cooperation to destabilize Iraq, Syria and Egypt. Even though Iraq's central government had already been toppled by the US invasion, a Shiite, thus pro-Iran leadership that enjoyed the support of the population's majority was obviously not so close to the Saudis' heart, just as they didn't like the Alavite (a branch of Shiitism) Assad regime in Syria, either. This put Riyadh on the same side with Israel.
 
Interestingly enough, the Islamic State that follows a wrong and violent interpretation of Sunni Islam happened to grow strong in this region. Notably, the terrorist organization that calls itself a Caliphate was not planning to annihilate Israel, but the Shiites living in the area. This is one more reason why ISIS may have seemed more likeable for Israel than the Assad regime, which has maintained religious peace but been relentlessly opposed to Tel-Aviv, even though the Islamic State destroys everything with unheard of brutality in the occupied areas.

Palestinian cause on the sideline

Although the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood gave a glimmer of hope for the Palestinians struggling to survive the air-tight blockade in Gaza, the world's largest outdoor prison for years, Saudi Arabia considered Mohamed Morsi's Muslim revolutionary and not anti-Hamas government as an enemy, so it joined Israel in backing the military coup and the new Egyptian leadership, which wasn't as friendly to the Palestinians as its predecessor but fit the Saudi interests much better.

Hypocrisy at its peak

As it is known, Saudi Arabia is one of the most radical Muslim states in the world. Its structure is based on Wahhabism, an ideology rooted in the quasi literal interpretation of Islamic religious principles and the most puritanistic traditions. Yet this country hardly ever receives firm criticism from the West, contrary to a democratic Turkey that tolerates religions other than Islam, or the undoubtedly theocratic Iran, which ensures parliamentary representation for religious minorities. In comparison, wearing a cross in Saudi Arabia may constitute a crime and power is concentrated in the hands of one single dynasty.
 
And this country is a reliable ally for the United States and if Parry's article is correct, it is an outstanding sponsor for Israel against other Muslim states.

 

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