Sunday, June 13, 2010

Are The Saudis Onboard For Israel Air Raid?

An update now to last Saturday’s post: “Israel, Iran and the Summer War”. The Times of London reported on Saturday that Saudi Arabia and Israel have struck a secret deal where the Saudis will basically “stand-down” their national air defense system over the northern part of the country to allow the Israeli Air Force a corridor to fly through on their way to attack nuclear sites in Iran. Rumors of Saudi assistance in an Israeli strike have been circulating for some months now, the Brookings Institution war game scenario of an Israeli raid on Iran even speculated that the Israeli Air Force might set up a secret refueling base in the Saudi desert (the target sites in Iran are at the far edge of the IAF’s operational range).

Since Saddam Hussein’s removal from power, Iran’s influence in the Persian Gulf has grown steadily, thanks in part to now no longer having to worry about getting involved in another war with their long-time adversary, Iraq (the two countries spent most of the 1980s engaged in a bloody, but ultimately fruitless, war). Iran’s growing power has not sat well with the Saudis, who like to see themselves as the big player in the Gulf, which is why they would likely be willing to let Israel use their airspace to launch an attack on Iran. The Times article should be seen as more evidence that an Israeli air strike against Iran this summer is becoming more and more likely.
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