I noted with grim appreciation today that Israel and Saudi Arabia appear to be willing to co-operate in a strike against Iran's nuclear program. This doesn't surprise me in the least. Although the two nations are nominally at daggers drawn with each other, both have a common enemy in Iran. The old adage, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend", still applies in the pragmatic politics of the Middle East.
What's also interesting in this equation is a report by the BBC earlier this month that Saudi Arabia may have arranged to obtain nuclear warheads from Pakistan. (It already has the missiles necessary to carry them.) Again, this is hardly surprising. Saudi Arabia wasn't about to sit back and face a nuclear-armed Iran without the means to respond in kind if necessary.
This has been developing for a long time, of course. I draw your attention to three previous articles on this blog:
- From 2009 - What's Iran up to in Egypt?
- From 2011 - The true dimensions of the Egyptian crisis
- From 2012 - If Israel attacks Iran
Both Saudi Arabia and Israel watched those events as they happened, and learned from them. They've had enough. Saudi Arabia has fallen out with the Obama administration over its policies towards Syria and Iran. At the same time, Israel no longer trusts the USA to safeguard its interests, regarding President Obama as 'naive'. Under the circumstances, it's the most natural thing in the world for these two nations - at present the most heavily armed in the entire Middle East - to decide to get together to deal with the single biggest regional threat to them both.
The next few weeks are going to be very interesting. If the Obama administration makes one more mis-step in the Middle East, it might trigger all sorts of sturm und drang in the region.