Diplomatist Magazine Diplomatist April 2018 - Page 37

MIDDLE EAST NOTEBOOK There are many common interests between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Iran aims to take control of the West Asia, creating a Shi'ite crescent from Lebanon to Iran, and then from the Gulf to the Red Sea, must be prevented. Houthis which are considered as an international terrorist organization by Israel and Arab countries. When the Syrian uprising began in 2011, the Saudi- Emirati provided vast financial and weapon support to anti-Ass ad militants and sided with the Sunni force who promoted regime change as they saw this as an opportunity to deal with Iran and its ally in the region. However, Iran and its crucial strategist-Hezbollah which also control key seats in Lebanon’s parliament prevented Saudi-Emirati’s ultimate goal in the country. As Iran and Hezbollah became more visibly involved in the Syrian war, Israel as well has fl exed its military muscles in recent years as the regional balance of power has pitched further in favour of its most bitter adversaries in the region. Israel fears that Syrian confl ict might spread like a poisonous gas from Damascus to Golan Heights, an area of key strategic importance. Lt.-Col. (res.) Mordechai Kedar, a researcher at the Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies says that Israel “cannot tolerate the Iranians and its tentacles, like Hezbollah, to establish themselves on the Golan”. 1 For Israel, the question isn’t what the Assad regime is doing, but is that are Iran and Hezbollah trying to create Hezbollah-land’ on Israel’s border to cause a threat to the security of their state. Israel’s nightmare of Iran’s infl uence in Syria and its connection with regional Shitte groups in Iraq such as Golan Liberation Unit” who had vowed to liberate the Golan Heights from Israeli troops under any circumstances and Iranian effort to establish strong bond with Turkey has led to unthinkable coalition between Israel and Saudi-Emirati in defense of their status quo. Israeli which previously shared a fraught relationship with the Gulf countries and used to refuse to communicate through diplomatic channels are now willing to share their modern resources and intelligence to challenge Iran’s growing infl uence in the region. Another major factor that led to Israel and Saudi-Emirati alliance is the diminishing role of United State in West Asia and allotting its place to new Arab-Israeli alliance along with UAE and Egypt that will seek to dominate the region. The alliance was further strengthened by Trump and his Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner who share similar objectives, especially to scrap JCPOA nuclear deal and isolate Iran in the region. i As a matter of fact, the Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, Lt. General Gadi Eisenkot recently stated that ‘With President Donald Trump, there is an opportunity for a new international alliance in the region and a major strategic plan to stop the Iranian threat. Israel is ready to share intelligence, (with Saudi Arabia), if necessary. There are many common interests between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Iran aims to take control of the West Asia, creating a Shi'ite crescent from Lebanon to Iran, and then from the Gulf to the Red Sea, must be prevented’. ii The new Saudi-Israeli alliance attempted to destabilise Lebanon by forcing Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri to resign and blaming Iran-Hezbollah for the country’s misery. As a matter of fact, the declassifi ed document revealed that Israeli leaders were urging its ambassadors to support Saudi’s effort to expel Iran backed Hezbollah from the Lebanese government and politics. iii However, due to growing resentment against Saudi from across the world and Trump’s indecisive policy in West Asia led Israel to take a step back for now. Most of the analyst was of the understanding that Israel-Saudi strategy in Lebanon was miscalculated, but the ultimate intention in stirring Lebanese political instability was to push international communities to keep Hezbollah under severe observation. Similarly, in Yemen confl ict, Israel and Saudi-Emirati are now in greater alignment than ever before. The greater point of alignment is on Yemen, where Iran and Hezbollah backed Houthi’s captured country’s capital and strategic ports in and near Bab-al-Mandab strait, one of the most crucial waterways in West Asia at the expense of Israeli and Saudi strategic interests in the region. Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Diplomatist • Vol 6 • Issue 4 • April 2018, Noida • 35