The Israeli-Saudi Labyrinth
The recent increase in strategic coordination between Israel and Saudi Arabia brings to the forefront Israel’s role in bolstering the national security of the House of Saud. This coordination has become particularly critical for Riyadh, due to the erosion of the U.S.’s posture of deterrence as lethal Iranian threats to Saudi Arabia worsen.
While the blossoming Jerusalem-Riyadh coordination is consistent with short-term Saudi national security interests, it is inconsistent with the overarching Islamic, Wahhabi worldview of the Saudi regime, which considers the Jewish state to be illegal, a usurper and a provisional entity in “the abode of Islam,” as documented by Saudi school textbooks and religious sermons. Could the enemy of Israel’s enemy (Iran) become Israel’s friend?
Israel’s strategic added value to Saudi Arabia has been demonstrated repeatedly since the 1967 Six-Day War. Israel’s devastation of the pan-Arab, pro-USSR, anti-U.S. and anti-Saudi Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser stopped the latter’s military offensive in Yemen, which was aimed at invading and toppling Saudi Arabia and other pro-U.S. Arab regimes in the Persian Gulf.
In 1970, Israel mobilized its military to the joint Israeli-Syrian-Jordanian border, forcing a swift rollback of the pro-USSR, anti-U.S., anti-Saudi Syrian invasion of Jordan, which intended to bring down the pro-U.S. Hashemite regime and to proceed to destabilize Saudi Arabia.
In 1981, Israel’s strike on Iraq’s nuclear infrastructure — carried out by Israeli planes which flew unchallenged through Jordanian and Saudi airspace — snatched Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other pro-U.S. Arab regimes from the lethal jaws of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, also sparing the U.S. a nuclear confrontation (or grave humiliation) in the 1991 First Gulf War.
In 2007, Saudi Arabia cheered on the destruction of Syria’s nuclear infrastructure, which removed the imminent threat to Saudi stability and provided a tailwind to Riyadh’s efforts to topple the pro-Iran (“apostate”) Shia Assad regime.
In 2014, Saudi Arabia, along with all pro-U.S. Arab countries, blamed the July/August Hamas-Israel war in Gaza on Hamas, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization (which has traditionally challenged the legitimacy of the House of Saud) and an ally of Iran. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the Saudis regard the Palestinians as a potential subversive element, especially since the 1990 cooperation of Mahmoud Abbas and Yasser Arafat with Saddam’s occupation of Kuwait, the triggering of a series of civil wars in Lebanon, and the 1970 Palestinian collaboration with Syria’s invasion of Jordan. The $100 million in annual Saudi foreign aid to the Palestine Liberation Organization has been suspended since the 1990 betrayal of Kuwait.
Now in 2015, the Saudi regime considers Israel its most effective ally in the face of a potential self-destructive U.S. agreement with the ayatollahs, siding with Israel’s stance on Iran, as stated by the editor-in-chief of the House of Saud-owned daily, Al Arabiya: “President Obama, listen to Netanyahu on Iran.” Like Israel, the Saudis focus on the ayatollahs’ actions since 1979 — and not on the moderate talk in Lausanne. Iran’s behavior has been rogue, subversive, supremacist, megalomaniacal, apocalyptic, anti-U.S., deceitful and violently intolerant of “apostates” (e.g., Saudi Arabia) and “infidels.” Like Israel, the House of Saud is convinced that a constructive agreement must be preconditioned upon a dramatic transformation of the nature of the ayatollahs, and that the military option must be on the table as the most effective means to prevent war.
Notwithstanding the expansion of the Iran-based Israeli-Saudi strategic dialogue and moderate Saudi policy pronouncements, Saudi Arabia’s short-term national security interests have yet to impact its Wahhabi worldview, which rejects the “infidel” and considers a Jewish sovereignty in the Middle East unacceptable.
According to a multiyear Hudson Institute study of Saudi school textbooks — which are also disseminated to Saudi controlled mosques around the world, including in the U.S. — the Saudi education system indoctrinates children with religious intolerance and violence, creating fertile ground for recruits to Islamic terrorist organizations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Chechnya, Syria, Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Africa, Europe and America. Most of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudi.
Until it was recently overtaken by the ayatollahs, the Saudi royal family was the
leading supporter of Islamic (Sunni) terrorism. Covert ties with terror organizations are still sustained today via Saudi businessmen and “charitable organizations.” The Policy Department of the European Parliament concluded: “The risks posed by Salafi/Wahhabi terrorism go far beyond the geographical scope of the Muslim world. The attacks on New York, Washington, D.C., London and Madrid remind us of this….”
Saudi children are instructed that “Jews and Christians are enemies of the believers” (“Hadith,” ninth grade textbook, p. 149), “The struggle against Jews and Christians will endure as long as God wills” (“Hadith,” ninth grade textbook, p. 148) and that “the apes are the people of the Sabbath and the swine are the infidels of the communion of Jesus” (“Monotheism,” eighth grade textbook, p. 42). They are taught that “The whole Muslim nation is engaged in a jihad against international Zionism, manifested by the state of Jewish gangs called Israel, established on Palestinian land” (“Islamic History,” eighth grade textbook, p. 105) and that “Jews will not leave Palestine except by jihad” (“Islamic World,” 12th grade textbook, p. 126).
Could the enemy of Israel’s enemy become Israel’s friend? Nothing more than a fleeting, tenuous “friend,” unless the House of Saud dramatically transforms its core Islamic ideology and hate-filled education system, which perpetuate the rejection of the Jewish state as the kingdom simultaneously benefits from short-term national security coordination with the “infidel entity.”
This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.