Israel ready to cooperate with Saudi to face Iran | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 17, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 06:40 AM, November 17, 2017

Israel ready to cooperate with Saudi to face Iran

Israel's military chief of staff yesterday said in an interview that his country was prepared to cooperate with Saudi Arabia to face Iran's plans "to control the Middle East."

His comments were the latest sign that behind-the-scenes links between Israel and Gulf countries may be occurring due to Iran, their shared enemy, even though they do not have formal diplomatic ties.

"We are ready to exchange experience with the moderate Arab countries and exchange intelligence information to face Iran," Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot was quoted as saying by Elaph, a news website run by a Saudi businessman.

Asked whether any information had been shared recently with Saudi Arabia, he said "we are ready to share information if necessary. There are many common interests between us and them."

Israel's army confirmed the contents of the rare interview with Arabic-language media.

According to Israel's army, it was the first interview of its kind since 2005.

Sunni Muslim powerhouse Saudi Arabia has long been at loggerheads with Shia, non-Arab Iran but friction has spiralled recently.

Earlier this month, Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri announced from Saudi capital Riyadh that he was quitting, citing Iran's "grip" on his country.

The leader of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia group supported by Iran, has accused Saudi Arabia of pressing Israel to launch attacks against it.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made similar allegations this week.

Eisenkot said in the interview that "we have no intention of initiating a conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon and reaching a war, but we cannot accept strategic threats to Israel there.

"I am very happy with the calm on both sides of the border, which has lasted 11 years. On the other hand, we see Iranian attempts to escalate."

"With President Donald Trump, there is a chance for a new international alliance in the region and a major strategic plan to stop the Iranian threat," Eisenkot said.

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