Saudi-Israel alignment, editorial Daily Times JULY 31, 2018
As the United States of America moves across the global map, reversing many international efforts made by its former President Barack Obama, it is on the brink of engineering a treaty that will shake the Middle East down to its tectonic plates. As anti-Iranian policies and sentiments reach new heights under Donald Trump’s leadership, reports of an unlikely alliance between Saudi Arabia and Israel have been surfacing since last year.
The world is shifting, and in this case not along socio-religious lines, rather it’s carving its way to new Middle Eastern alliances, solely based upon economic gain. Many hold crown prince Muhammad bin Salman responsible for the assumed shift in Saudi foreign policy and yielding real power instead of King Abbas. It was only last year that Prince Salman cracked down on many members of the royal family and state officials, under the guise of ‘corruption’- which many have speculated was only to quash dissenting views on Kingdom’s policies.
The United States is keen to orchestrate a deal between these two Middle Eastern powers. It will be interesting to see how Saudi Arabia is able to justify a mere recognition of Israel as a nation, let alone push a peace treaty, while the question of Palestine is still unresolved. How will Saudi Arabia, the keepers of the Kab’ah, and rulers of Islam’s holiest lands, and previous front-runner in anti-Israel discourse, justify a budding friendship with Israel, while other Muslim nations such as Pakistan refuse to acknowledge its existence?
After the Arab Peace offering to Israel in 2002 — negotiations between Israel and the Muslim world have reached more or less a stand still. Israeli Prime Minister’s former advisor on national security Yaacov Nagel said that Riyadh was more focused on teaming up with Israel against Iran, “They just have to say there is an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, they don’t care, they don’t give a damn about what will be in the agreement”.
What has been stalling the ultimate deal however does not seem to be Saudi hesitation towards the response of the Muslim world — in fact it is Jared Kushner, the inexperienced senior advisor and son-in-law of Donald Trump who has been unable to bring anything tangible to the table in the past eighteen months.
However long the United States may take under the leadership of its inexperienced government, one thing is clear: Saudi-Israeli interests are aligned, whether against Iran or for a better economic deal. And the region is about to undergo policy shifts that could jeopardize peace in Middle East for a long time to come. Published in Daily Times, July 31st 2018.