Anti-Iran alliance keeps Saudi Arabia silent against Israel

YUSUF SELMAN İNANÇ @yusufsinanc
Istanbul
Published

Israel has added to its series of mass killings in Palestine and the Arab countries, primarily the Gulf States, are silent and their statements are halfhearted. The only country really raising its voice against Israel's aggression is Turkey.

As droves of Palestinians gathered on Monday to protest the U.S.'s decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, more than 60 of them were killed and thousands were wounded. They had streamed to the fence separating Gaza from Israel for the climax of a six-week demonstration against the U.S.'s move and also to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nakba or "big catastrophe."

U.S. President Donald Trump's recent decisions to pull his country out of the nuclear deal with Iran and to mend and further the ties with Saudi Arabia seem to have resulted in silence against the Jerusalem decision.

During the era of former U.S. President Barack Obama, Iran enjoyed the opportunity to be considered as a legal actor in the region while Trump views Iran as the main sponsor of terrorist groups. Because Obama had launched an era of détente with Iran, Saudi Arabia had its worst relations with the U.S. However, after Trump ascended to the post in the White House that policy has changed rapidly.

Besides, King Salman's son, Crown Prince Mohammed also was eager to take sides with the U.S. and to make some economic and social reforms in order to strengthen their economy. The new crown prince is also known for his soft stance towards Israel.

The two countries, namely Israel and Saudi Arabia, consider Iran the biggest threat to themselves. Saudi Arabia believes Iran funds certain groups in Yemen as well as in Syria and Iraq while Israel claims Iran and its proxies or supporting groups, like Hezbollah, are existential threats to its soil.

The results in Lebanese elections have distracted the two countries as well. Hezbollah and its coalition won the majority in the country's parliament. When considered Saudi Arabia was not happy even with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, the result was a blow.

Israel and Saudi Arabia agree that Iran must be stopped and its power must be curbed at any price. Saudi Arabia's attempt to depose Hariri last month by forcing him to resign and keeping him in Riyadh for a while until France stepped in was considered a move against Iran.

Through intervening in Lebanon's domestic politics and aiming to appoint an anti-Iran administration, Saudi Arabia, in untold cooperation with Israel, tried to create a block against Iran and its proxy Hezbollah.

It is noteworthy that Saudi Arabia considers Hamas as dangerous as Israel since it believes the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliations are direct threat to itself.

Trump's attempts to concentrate the two countries on an alliance over an anti-Iran stance seem to have been fruitful so far.

On the recent incidents the king and his government made a weak statement. The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted the council of ministers saying, "The Kingdom rejects the American administration's decision to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem. This step represents a significant prejudice against the rights of the Palestinian people, which have been guaranteed by international resolutions. The government of Saudi Arabia has already warned of the grave consequences of such an unjustified move."

Yet, as seen, there was no reference to the mass killings on the Gaza border. Under the leadership of the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel seem to be in an undeclared alliance against Iran. Hezbollah and Hamas are also common enemies of the two countries. Therefore, the latest incidents and mass killings seem not to be bothering Saudi Arabia.

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