This, of course, comes after reports that Saudi Arabia granted Israel permission to use its airspace to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities. Taken together, the two stories make clear that the Saudis’ purported willingness to cooperate with the Israelis against a common enemy does not mean Israel is any safer in the Saudi vision for the region in the longer run — even after Israel were to assume all the risks (including jihadist retaliation) for thwarting Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “‘Saudi king says Israel, Iran don’t deserve to exist’,” from YNet News, July 3:
Saudi Arabia on Friday denied a report in French daily Le Figaro, according to which Kind Abdullah told the French Defense minister that “two states in the region do not deserve to exist: Israel and Iran”.
A Saudi official told the government-controlled Saudi Press, “This is untrue altogether”, and expressed bewilderment at the French paper’s willingness to make such charges without verifying the details.
The official added that Saudi Arabia’s position was “clear”.
According to the Le Figaro report, King Abdullah made the comment during a June 5 meeting with French Defense Minister Herve Morin, just days after Israel’s deadly takeover of a Gaza-bound flotilla.
The report emphasized that “military and diplomatic elements” confirmed that king did in fact make the comment.
Last month Saudi Arabia denied a report in the London Times that Riyadh was planning to allow Israel to use its airspace in order to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.
King Abdullah met this week with US President Obama in an attempt to present a united front on Iran’s nuclear program and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. At the end of their meeting, the two declared the “importance of moving forward in a swift and bold way in securing a Palestinian homeland.”
However, after the meeting, Lebanese paper An-Nahar reported that despite the warm statements made by Obama and King Abdullah in the White House, a difference of opinion between the two emerged on a number of different issues, including the sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program, the situation in Iraq, and the peace process.
American sources told the newspaper that Saudi Arabia “is not convinced that economic sanctions on Iran will succeed and is interested in knowing what alternatives the president’s administration has.”