Opinion

by Hichem Karoui

 

Since the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel signed the Abraham Accords, US and Israeli policymakers and observers were looking toward the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), expecting it to be the next on the list of Arab countries having declared relationships with the entity that occupies the Arab land of Palestine. However, the Abraham Accords are not a success in light of the Palestinian plight in Gaza and the unleashed criminal Israeli fascism, condemned by the world population with continual demonstrations since October 2023. I don’t know any Emirati citizen – and I know many – who is proud of his government’s peace with Israel after Gaza. So, why should the Saudis be more lucky? Because they did not sign yet any agreement with the fascist government of Israel. This is my opinion; it doesn’t bind anybody else but me. ( I’m talking about GEW Reports & Analyses teams).

Does this mean there are no relations between the Saudis and Israel? Not at all. Secret ties exist, and the GEW Intelligence Unit will soon publish a report. I just want to attract the attention of our readers to some facts, as we published yesterday a report on the new UAE-Israel relations. The reports we publish, authored by either GEW Intelligence Unit or GEW Reports and Analyses Team, are objective and impartial. They are not based on opinions but on data analysis and facts. That’s why I take the freedom to write my opinion in the blog.

Here are the facts:

The secret relationship between Saudi Arabia and Israel may evolve to have significant geopolitical implications for the Middle East. These implications extend beyond bilateral ties and have far-reaching consequences for regional dynamics and power struggles.

Firstly, the establishment of overt diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel would be a monumental shift in the Middle Eastern geopolitical landscape only after the recognition of an independent Palestinian state, not before. The region has been characterized by a deep-rooted animosity towards Israel since its establishment in 1948, with Arab nations viewing it as an occupier of Palestinian territories. The Arab-Israeli conflict, marked by multiple wars and ongoing tensions, has shaped regional politics for decades. A diplomatic breakthrough between Saudi Arabia and Israel, if based on mutual respect for Palestinian rights, could benefit the region.

The US-Israeli belief is that the potential normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel would not only affect bilateral ties but also reshape alliances and influence other countries’ stances towards Israel. While several Arab states, notably Egypt and Jordan, have already established diplomatic relations with Israel, Saudi recognition would carry significant weight due to its role as the custodian of Islam’s holiest sites in Mecca and Medina. Other Arab countries, who have long followed Saudi Arabia’s lead on regional affairs, might follow suit, reassessing their policy towards Israel and potentially looking to forge diplomatic ties as well. This potential ripple effect could reshape the region’s political landscape and redefine alliances that have persisted for years. However, this seems to be right now a pipedream. That would be true only if the Palestinian people regained independence and sovereignty on their land, not before.

Secondly, Saudi-Israeli cooperation in countering Iranian influence has the potential to reshape the balance of power in the Middle East, according to the US view. Both nations view Iran as a common regional threat due to its pursuit of nuclear weapons, destabilizing activities, and support for proxy militias across the region. This is no longer true, given the Chinese mediation that resulted in a reconciliation between Iran and the KSA.

 The USA thinks that closer cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel allows for increased intelligence sharing, joint military exercises, and coordinated strategies to counter Iran’s regional ambitions. This alignment of interests could significantly impact regional dynamics and Saudi Arabia’s position as a leader in the Arab world. But is Iran the enemy of Saudi Arabia or the enemy of Israel and the USA? The confusion is easy, and the Saudi leaders have been trapped in it for decades. Today, they wake up.

Furthermore, the Saudi-Israeli relationship has implications for ongoing regional conflicts, notably the Arab-Israeli conflict and the broader Israeli-Palestinian issue. According to the US view, the prospect of Saudi Arabia recognizing Israel could signal a significant shift in the broader Arab stance towards Israel, potentially encouraging other Arab nations to reconsider their approach. They omit to say it could also trigger a general revolt in Muslim-majority countries against the Saudi regime and also inside the kingdom.

 Only Israel’s readiness for the recognition of an independent Palestinian state could provide a fresh impetus for peace negotiations and a possible resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Saudi Arabia’s influence and financial resources could support Palestinian state-building efforts and facilitate peace talks, but first, stop the genocide in Gaza. Bring Netanyahu and the war criminals who govern Israel to the law court.

In addition to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Saudi-Israeli relationship influences other regional struggles, such as the Yemeni Civil War and the Syrian conflict. Cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel, after recognition of a Free Palestine, could lead to joint efforts in resolving all other conflicts. With their respective political, military, and economic influence, both countries could work towards stabilizing the region and finding political solutions. But right now, such cooperation would appear sinful to millions of people because of the Palestinian plight. It is crucial to consider the potential opposition from other regional players who may perceive this cooperation as a threat to their interests, particularly Iran, which has significant influence in both Yemen and Syria through its proxies.

Moreover, the geopolitical implications of the assumed Saudi-Israeli relations extend beyond the Middle East itself and warrant the attention of major global powers. The United States, for instance, has traditionally been a crucial ally to both Saudi Arabia and Israel (actually more to Israel than to Saudi Arabia). Closer ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel could provide an opportunity for the U.S. to further its interests in the region and reshape its approach to the broader Middle East. In recent years, the U.S. has actively sought to foster closer ties between Arab nations and Israel as part of its broader strategy for stability and cooperation in the region. However, it failed to advance the peace agenda in Palestine and gave Israel a free hand in the genocide in Gaza.

Conclusion: the Middle East is not ready to accept a Saudi-Israeli open relationship. In the present time, a revolt could burst out in the KSA and most of the Muslims of the world would condemn the Saudi government if it fails to see where are the interests of the Muslims. Besides, who will go on the pilgrimage under the Israeli flag?

Think about it.

I stop here.

Beyond Diplomacy: Unraveling the UAE-Israel Nexus

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Saudi Arabia and Israel

16 March 2024