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Normalization of Iran-Saudi Arabia relations. Brilliant blow from China and Iran to US and Israeli relations with Saudi Arabia

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Iran and Saudi Arabia announced a few days ago a warming of mutual relations. This is the result of a meeting of representatives of these two countries in Beijing with the participation of the Chinese side. Such actions could undermine Israeli attempts to isolate Iran and improve relations with Saudi Arabia, Reuters reported on Sunday. The agreement may also be a sign of diminishing US influence in the region.

The improvement in relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran is undermining the efforts of the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu aimed at isolating Tehran. Time will tell whether this will also prevent him from improving relations with Riyadh or planning a possible military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

READ MORE: Media: Iran and Saudi Arabia will resume diplomatic relations. The effect of talks in China

Meeting of representatives (from left) of Saudi Arabia, China and Iran in BeijingPAP/EPA/NOURNEWS AGENCY HANDOUT

Some experts say the more pressing concern for Israel is that Friday’s deal negotiated by China between the leading Sunni and Shia powers suggests that United States they are reducing their presence in the region just when the Netanyahu government needs American support the most.

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An Israeli official, who asked not to be named, described the improvement in Iran-Saudi Arabia relations as unsurprising and a preliminary process that should not impede any parallel progress towards normalizing relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia. He reminded that Israel has moved closer to the United Arab Emirates, despite the fact that Abu Dhabi is also involved in relations with Iran, which is hostile to Israel. At the same time, Israel continues its campaign of veiled threats to attack Iran itself if it believes diplomacy towards the country has turned out to be a dead end.

US-Israel tensions

Much depends, however, on the attitude of Washington – the architect of the Israeli-Arab peace agreements and the guardian of Israel, which he will not underestimate if the US prohibits military action against Iran.

This is a brilliant move by China and Iran to undermine Saudi-American and Saudi-Israeli normalization of relations. It helps Tehran emerge from its isolation and undermines US and Israeli efforts to build a regional coalition to confront Iran, which is on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons, said Mark Dubowitz, director general of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington.

However, there are tensions in Israeli-American relations. Presidential Administration Joe Bidenwhich has yet to invite Netanyahu to the White House since he became prime minister again in December, has expressed extreme concern about the coalition he has built to win a majority in Israel’s parliament and take over the country.

Netanyahu is also facing unprecedented masses demonstrations in Israel against his proposed judicial reform. Dissatisfaction is so great that some air force reservists announced that they will not appear at regular training, which may be a signal that the combat readiness of the army and its morale have been shaken.

READ ALSO: Israeli president: government should abandon judicial reform

Protests in Israel PAP/EPA/ABIR SULTAN

Alarm bell for Israel

Amos Jadlin, the former head of military intelligence under the previous Netanyahu regime, said the thawing of Saudi-Iranian relations should be a wake-up call.

“The government’s focus on judicial reform, which is tearing apart the nation and weakening Israel across all dimensions, reflects a deep disconnect between Netanyahu and international geopolitical trends,” Yadlin tweeted.

Accusing Netanyahu of “inflicting extraordinary damage to our national security,” Jadlin noted that he should abandon reforms – which critics call an attempt to subordinate the courts to the government – and get closer to President Joe Biden, create strong Israeli-Saudi ties, and resolve Iran’s nuclear program issues together .

This suggests that Jadlin – who was one of the pilots who bombed the nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981 and served as top general during Israel’s 2007 attack on an alleged Syrian reactor – may not take a positive view of Israel’s ability to act on its own against Iran.

“NYT”: Saudi Arabia makes demands on Israel

Eitan Ben-David, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s former deputy national security adviser, said Israel was building the capacity to take the necessary unilateral military action, with U.S. partnership and possible alliances with Gulf states a secondary priority.

He also stated that Saudi Arabia is aware of the key role of the US in the region and the value of bilateral relations with Israel. “Today, too, vigorous efforts are being made to deepen, renew and develop these ties – with US involvement, of course, but also directly,” Ben-David told Israeli public radio Kan.

The New York Times reported over the weekend that in exchange for normalizing relations with Israel, Riyadh wanted help developing a civilian nuclear program and easing restrictions on US arms purchases.

READ ALSO: Biden and von der Leyen want to hit countries circumventing sanctions against Russia

Jadlin warned of Netanyahu, under domestic pressure and at odds with the White House, acceding to such demands “in his willingness to consider the Saudi peace plan an achievement.”

The Saudi Arabian government’s press office did not respond to a Reuters request for comment. Saudi Arabia officially links all activities of the kingdom aimed at normalizing relations with Israel with the solution of the Palestinian statehood issue.

The White House seems to be trying to downplay China’s commitment to improving Iran-Saudi relations. National Security Spokesman John Kirby said the White House believed internal and external pressures, including Saudi Arabia’s successful deterrent against attacks from Iran or its allies, ultimately brought Tehran to the negotiating table.


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