The ‘peace process’ that did succeed—Israel and Saudi Arabia

For a long time Saudi Arabia has been trying to get a foothold in the United States, but apart from excellent relations with the oil and armaments industries and with rogue elements in the intelligence world, they have never succeeded in mobilising the sort of grassroots support that Israel enjoys in the US. Huge Saudi investments had until recently not worked to make the kingdom immune to Zionist attacks against US institutions taking Arab money. This meant that Washington could never function as an even-handed mediator in handling the two.
Yet whatever the US public may think, it has meanwhile become abundantly clear that there has been an Israeli-Saudi rapprochement, with enormous consequences for the Middle East. 

This first concerns direct Saudi subsidies to Israel. Thanks to investigative work by ConsortiumNews’ Robert Parry, insight into this process has been revealed recently.

Over the last two and a half years an estimated $16 billion has been deposited in a fund in Europe used by Israelis for infrastructure development, read, settlement construction.

This Israeli-Saudi rapprochement is slowly becoming a public phenomenon as well.

Many thought that Netanyahu’s speech to the US Congress on 2 April was part of his election campaign in Israel, but Parry detects a second aspect: the Prime Minister’s ranting against an agreement with Iran, interrupted by waves of rapturous applause from the US lawmakers, also demonstrated to the Saudis that it was he who could bring the US on board for an attack on Tehran, which they cannot. That is value for money.

Destroying the ‘Shi’ite crescent’ that runs from Hezbollah in Lebanon, via the Alawites of Syria, Iran itself, and southwards to the Houthis of Yemen, is a shared concern of both Israel and Saudi Arabia for which they will once again have to rely on the US; if only for keeping (at least) world opinion at bay once the fighting will develop into a new large-scale war. For with a collapse of the Assad government will come, not only a genocide in Syria, but also an Israeli attack on Hezbollah. Saudi planes are right now bombing Yemen at will and its navy is blockading its coastline. Iran would be the next target.

Already in September 2013, Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to Washington and a close adviser to Netanyahu, told the Jerusalem Post in an interview that ‘the greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc… We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.’

At an Aspen Institute conference in June 2014, speaking more freely now that he had retired from his diplomatic post, Oren specified that Islamic State was not a problem either as long as the Syrian regime change would go ahead.

That was a month after the former heads of the Israeli and Saudi intelligence services, Amos Yadlin and Prince Turki al-Faisal, had a discussion about Middle East politics moderated by the Washington Post. In that conversation, Turki declared the Arabs no longer wanted to fight Israel (as later described in Time magazine). By then the coup in Egypt, supported by Saudi Arabia with oil and money and by Israel by neutralising US condemnation of the ouster of an elected government, had shown what this emerging agreement meant for Palestinians. These were now hermetically locked up in Gaza.

In July a year ago, Prince Turki actually published an op-ed in Israeli newspaper Haaretz pleading for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the good offices of… the Gulf monarchies, read, an overt Israeli-Saudi agreement.

Meanwhile there have been increasingly detailed predictions that the Gulf monarchies may come to face popular discontent in the not too distant future, and then Israel’s expertise in the domain of government and death squad repression, demonstrated in Central America in the 1980s and based on its own West Bank experience, may be a decisive asset. The investigative news site Middle East Eye recently documented the existence of regular, secret flights between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv although Israelis are banned from travelling to the UAE.

When reading over the above, it occurred to me that those proposing the twinning of Amsterdam with Tel Aviv must be either completely ignorant of world affairs, or in a good Dutch tradition, already think they know who is going to be the winner in the Middle East.

Kees van der Pijl

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