Israel VS Saudi Arabia? (February 2016)

The Israelis have been cooperating with the Saudis against the Iranians, with the Russians and the Egyptians against the Turks, and with the Americans they have been supporting the Kurds. The recent improvement in the Turkish-Saudi relations, in order for the two countries to form a common army which might enter Syria in order to attack Assad, Russia and Iran, can be a problem for the Israeli-Saudi relations, especially in case the Turks and the Saudis do actually enter Syria.

Map 1 Syria

Map of Syria.JPG

If the Saudis and the Turks enter Syria and attack Russia, the Israeli-Russian cooperation will be a problem for the Saudis. As you can read at the following Haaretz article, during the Munich peace talks for Syria, the Israeli Defense Minister said that Iran is a threat for both Israeli and the Arab countries of the Gulf, and that the Israelis and the Saudis are working together against Iran. Then Prince Turki bin Faisal al Saud, the former Saudi intelligence chief and former Saudi Minister of Interior, said that shaking Israelis hands never did the Palestinians any good. See Haaretz article.

I think the improvement in the Turkish-Saudi relations is a big problem for the Israelis, given it shakes Israel’s cooperation with Saudi Arabia. If the Saudis and the Turks fight side by side against the Russians in Syria, won’t the Saudis have to follow Turkey’s foreign policy in Gaza and West Bank? After all Turkey is the strongest military power of the Muslim world and she is the leader of the new Sunni alliance. There is of course one limitation for Saudi Arabia because aligning with the Turks in Gaza would hurt her relations with Egypt too, and not only with Israel.

The problem for Israel is actually worse given that hundreds of thousands of refugees have entered Jordan, a Saudi ally, and among them there are definitely ISIS fighters. Therefore Erdogan might soon be able to use ISIS too against Israeli, through Jordan and the West Bank.

Map 2 Israel

Map Hezbollah Hamas ISIS.JPG

seehttps://principiodelfin2000.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/map-of-israel.jpg

Due to the Gaza’s naval blockade by Israel and Egypt, Hamas cannot be properly armed by Turkey, Qatar and Iran, and it is not a big threat for Israel, at least not in comparison to Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon, which can be armed by Iran a lot easier through Syria. For the moment the Israelis can align themselves with the Russians and the Egyptians, because Hezbollah is the big threat, and Hezbollah is mainly using Russian weapons. But if ISIS gets to Jordan and the West Bank, if it is not already there, Erdogan will be able to attack Israel from the West Bank, and there is not a blockade there. Therefore a strong Sunni Islamist front can arise in West Bank, similar to the strong Shiite front at Southern Lebanon.

The worst scenario for the Israelis would be to have the Russians threatening that if they do not cooperate with them they will unleash Hezbollah in South Lebanon, and Erdogan threatening them that if they do not cooperate with him he will unleash ISIS in West Bank. And all that is happening at a time when the Americans are fighting with the Turks over ISIS and the Kurds of Syria, and therefore it will be harder for them to use their influence over Turkey, and at a time when the Americans are fighting with the Russians in Ukraine, and therefore they will not be able to use their influence over Russia either. The Middle East is on fire and if Turkey and Saudi Arabia do indeed enter Syria and attack Russia things can get a lot uglier.

The good thing for the Israelis is that for the moment the Egyptians and the Turks are still enemies, and therefore the Israelis and the Egyptians are together on the naval blockade of Gaza, and the Israelis do not face a third major front. It is true that the Egyptians are Saudi allies, and after the Egyptians discovered their huge gas field (Zohr) in August 2016 there were some talks between the Egyptians and the Turks. But it is not easy for Sisi and Erdgogan to work things out. But things change so fast, so who knows what comes next.

“Yaalon: Israelis Secretly Meeting With Officials From Gulf States ‘In Closed Rooms”, February 2016

http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-1.703206?utm_content=%24sections%2F1.703206&utm_medium=EMAIL&utm_source=SMARTFOCUS&utm_campaign=1339605&utm_term=20160214-15%3A02

10 thoughts on “Israel VS Saudi Arabia? (February 2016)”

  1. Iakovos, One thing that I like very much about you is that you consistently demonstrate your strategic insight into such world affairs. Do you happen to play chess? To me, it often looks like you are playing three dimensional speed chess and often are able to correctly anticipate some potential events. One thing in this article that I’m not sure I understand – “Therefore Erdogan might soon be able to use ISIS too against Israeli, through Jordan and the West Bank.” Can you expand on what you mean by this? Off Topic – I don’t have a subscription to Harretz – as I’ve thought that it is a *very* liberal publication (and while I am liberal concerning social issues, I am very conservative regarding foreign policy. So, do you find it a useful resource? It’s not cheap!

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    1. Thank you once more Nancy. Haaretz is very left for me too, but I like it a lot when it comes to foreign policy. But I am also subscribed for free at Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post. I like all of them but I prefer Haaretz.

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    2. I mean that if ISIS becomes strong in Jordan, given Turke’s influence over ISIS, and given Jordan is a Saudi ally, and given that Turkey and Saudi Arabia are improving their relations, Erdogan could use ISIS to attack Israel from West Bank, in the same way and with the same potency that Hezbollah attacks Israel from South Lebanon.

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  2. You should ignore my question above if the following is the answer: “But if ISIS gets to Jordan and the West Bank, if it is not already there, Erdogan will be able to attack Israel from the West Bank, and there is not a blockade there. Therefore a strong Sunni Islamist front can arise in West Bank, similar to the strong Shiite front at Southern Lebanon.” You are correct –
    Hezbollah & ISIS are already infiltrating the West Bank.
    http://www.algemeiner.com/2016/01/29/hezbollah-is-recruiting-west-bank-palestinians-to-kill-israelis/
    http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2016/02/hezbollah-tries-to-shift-attention-to-the-west-bank.php
    In the last few months some of the terrorists/attackers of Israeli citizens have proven to have ISIS affiliations.
    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/middle-east-unrest/isis-inspired-palestinian-militants-arrested-west-bank-israel-n279646
    I too, find it hard to believe that Israel would agree to end the Gaza blockade, as you mentioned several weeks ago, even IF Turkey agreed to send Hamas Islamists packing, but I keep reading that Israel & Turkey are making progress. I read this week that Jordanian politicians have made serious threats to King Abdullah if he proceeds with the oil deal he made with Israel. What a mess!

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    1. What oil deal? I know in the past the Saudis said they would consider selling oil to Israel, maybe even exporting oil from Israel (Saudi Arabia-Jordan-Israeli). But for the time being the Saudis do not even recognize Israel. I do not know anything about the oil deal you are talking about. Do you have a link?

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  3. ISIS & Hezbollah is already in the West Bank, as you mentioned.
    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/middle-east-unrest/isis-inspired-palestinian-militants-arrested-west-bank-israel-n279646
    http://www.algemeiner.com/2016/01/29/hezbollah-is-recruiting-west-bank-palestinians-to-kill-israelis/
    http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2016/02/hezbollah-tries-to-shift-attention-to-the-west-bank.php
    As you mentioned weeks ago, I too, can’t imagine Israel agreeing to end their blockade of Gaza; even if Erdoğan agreed to send the Hamas/Islamist contingent packing, but I keep reading news reports that they are making progress…
    I’ve also recently read that many members of the Jordanian parliment have threatened to topple the government if King Abdullah proceeds with the gas deal with Israel.
    http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Jordanian-MP-threatens-to-topple-government-over-Israeli-gas-import-444549
    What a mess!

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