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Saudi Arabia, Israel Talks For Shared Airspace Against Iran Denied By Saudis

Huffington Post   First Posted: 08/06/09 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 02:35 PM ET

Israel

Following Vice President Joe Biden's statements in an interview on ABC's "The Week"--which many believe to amount to a tacit condoning of a hypothetical Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear sites--Times Online is reporting on secret talks between Israel and Saudi Arabia over the possible use of Saudi airspace. From Times Online:

The head of Mossad, Israel's overseas intelligence service, has assured Benjamin Netanyahu, its prime minister, that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran's nuclear sites.

...
The Israeli press has already carried unconfirmed reports that high-ranking officials, including Ehud Olmert, the former prime minister, held meetings with Saudi colleagues. The reports were denied by Saudi officials.

Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have formal diplomatic ties. However, Israel has been known to engage in secret talks with nations it does not have relations with. In the 2008 book Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States National Iranian American Council co-founder and president Trita Parsi outlines a long history of exactly such secret dealings, except in the past it has actually involved Israel and Iran (under the Shah), rather than Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Moreover, Iran and Saudi Arabia are considered to be the two most powerful players competing for influence in the region, making the possibility for a strange-bedfellow relationship with Israel not totally inconceivable. And by the Wall Street Journal's account, the pro-Western March 14 coalition's victory in Lebanon in June served as a proxy victory for Saudi Arabia over Iran.

Nevertheless, Saudi Arabia is explicitly denying all such reports that it would allow Israeli Defense Force aircraft to use its airspace, telling AFP, "Of course this is not true. We don't have any kind of relationship with the Israelis."




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