13 July 2014
Long gone are the days when Saudi Arabia was the only Arab country that had designed its visa rules to bar Jews from entering the kingdom and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al Faisal gave visiting U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger the Protocols of Zion, a 19th century anti-Semitic tract, as a gift. Saudi Arabia still declines to forge official ties with Israel as long as it refuses to withdraw from territories it conquered during the 1967 war. But perceptions of common threats have expanded long-standing unofficial ties to the point that both the kingdom and Israel feel less constrained in publicly acknowledging their contacts and signaling a lowering of the walls that divide them.
As states, Saudi Arabia and Israel share few, if any common values, despite some cultural values that are common to Wahhabism, the austere form of Islam adopted by the kingdom, and ultra-orthodox Jews. But they increasingly have common interests. Both states perceive Iran, particularly an Iran that is a nuclear power, as an existential threat and share a determination to defeat the Muslim Brotherhood as well as Al Qaeda-inspired groups and defend as much of the political status quo in the region as possible against change that threatens to replace autocratic regimes with ones dominated by Islamist militants.
… James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies as Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, co-director of the Institute of Fan Culture of the University of Würzburg and the author of the blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, and a forthcoming book with the same title.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 15/07/2014