Iran Threat Leads Gulf States to Strategic Convergence with Israel

(Weekly Standard) Lee Smith - Relations between Israel and the Gulf Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have never been warmer. This strategic convergence has been a long time in the making. Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and Israel's former ambassador to the UN, explains the larger context: "Going back to the late 1990s, Saudi Arabia was the primary funder of Hamas....But by 2005, Iran had replaced Saudi Arabia as the primary funder of Hamas, and leading members of the royal family, like Prince Nayef, repudiated the Muslim Brotherhood. This represented a huge shift in Saudi policy, which narrowed the degree of conflict it had with Israel." "The GCC countries face a situation very similar to Israel. Israel is encircled by Iranian-supported insurgencies - Hizbullah to the north, and Hamas to the south. In comparison, the GCC faces an Iranian-backed insurgency in Yemen, an Iranian-backed Shia government running Saudi Arabia's northern neighbor Iraq, while Bahrain's opposition is supported by Tehran, an arrangement that has implications for the Shia community in Saudi Arabia's eastern province."

2013-10-14 00:00:00

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