— The Erimtan Angle —

‘Saudi Arabia and Israel are engaged in a campaign of covert diplomacy against Iran. According to media sources, Saudi and Israeli officials have held at least five secret meetings since the beginning of last year [2014] to discuss their mutual interests in the face of Iran. The covert campaign was revealed for the first time on Thursday [, 4 June 2015] [by] the Council on Foreign Relations think tank in Washington. The rare public meeting was held between Dore Gold, the incoming director-general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Anwar Majed Eshki, a retired Saudi general and ex-adviser to Prince Bandar Bin Sultan. Tel Aviv and Riyadh say they’re worried about what they call Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East (05 June 2015)’.

Bloomberg View’s Eli Lake explains that “representatives from Israel and Saudi Arabia have had five secret meetings [s]ince the beginning of 2014] to discuss a common foe, Iran. On Thursday, [4 June 2015] the two countries came out of the closet by revealing this covert diplomacy at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.Among those who follow the Middle East closely, it’s been an open secret that Israel and Saudi Arabia have a common interest in thwarting Iran. But until Thursday, actual diplomacy between the two was never officially acknowledged. Saudi Arabia still doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist. Israel has yet to accept a Saudi-initiated peace offer to create a Palestinian state. It was not a typical Washington think-tank event. No questions were taken from the audience. After an introduction, there was a speech in Arabic from Anwar Majed Eshki, a retired Saudi general and ex-adviser to Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former Saudi ambassador to the U.S. Then Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations who is slotted to be the next director general of Israel’s foreign ministry, gave a speech in English. While these men represent countries that have been historic enemies, their message was identical: Iran is trying to take over the Middle East and it must be stopped”.[1]

Lake goes into more detail as follows: the Saudi general “Eshki was particularly alarming. He laid out a brief history of Iran since the 1979 revolution, highlighting the regime’s acts of terrorism, hostage-taking and aggression. He ended his remarks with a seven-point plan for the Middle East. Atop the list was achieving peace between Israel and the Arabs. Second came regime-change in Iran. Also on the list were greater Arab unity, the establishment of an Arab regional military force, and a call for an independent Kurdistan to be made up of territory now belonging to Iraq, Turkey and Iran. Gold’s speech was slightly less grandiose. He, too, warned of Iran’s regional ambitions. But he didn’t call for toppling the Tehran government. “Our standing today on this stage does not mean we have resolved all the differences that our countries have shared over the years,” he said of his outreach to Saudi Arabia. “But our hope is we will be able to address them fully in the years ahead.” It’s no coincidence that the meetings between Gold, Eshki and a few other former officials from both sides took place in the shadow of the nuclear talks among Iran, the U.S. and other major powers. Saudi Arabia and Israel are arguably the two countries most threatened by Iran’s nuclear program, but neither has a seat at the negotiations scheduled to wrap up at the end of the month. The five bilateral meetings over the last 17 months occurred in India, Italy and the Czech Republic. One participant, Shimon Shapira, a retired Israeli general and an expert on the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, told me: ‘We discovered we have the same problems and same challenges and some of the same answers’. Shapira described the problem as Iran’s activities in the region, and said both sides had discussed political and economic ways to blunt them, but wouldn’t get into any further specifics”.[2]

As always, timing is of the essence. On Sunday, 7 June, the Turkish electorate seems poised to ensure that the Kurdish HDP will enter Turkey’s parliament (TBMM) and in the following weeks and months, it seems very likely that the HDP and the AKP will cooperate to bring the Saudi-Israeli plan to fruition. Israel’s support for the Kurds is well-known,[3] as is the AKP’s proximity to the Wahhabi Kingdom . . . Will the creation of an independent Kurdistan be one of the outcomes of a Turkish-Israeli-Saudi collusion???  Only time will tell???

[1] Eli Lake, “Israelis and Saudis Reveal Secret Talks to Thwart Iran” Bloomberg View (04 June 2015). http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-06-04/israelis-and-saudis-reveal-secret-talks-to-thwart-iran.

[2] Eli Lake, “Israelis and Saudis Reveal Secret Talks to Thwart Iran”.

[3] C. Erimtan, “Real ‘Battle of Iraq’ is only beginning” RT Op-Edge (03 July 2014). http://rt.com/op-edge/170204-real-iraq-battle-beginning/.

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