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Israel's silent partner?

There may be common interests shared by Jerusalem and Riyadh, but there is no "alliance" on the horizon.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal speaks during a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (not pictured) in Riyadh November 4, 2013. Kerry on Monday played down any rift with Saudi Arabia, saying relations between the two countries were strategic and enduring and that both agreed negotiations were the only way to stop Syria's civil war. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser (SAUDI ARABIA - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX14ZTC
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One of the most interesting discussions currently underway in the Arab discourse pertains to how Israel and Saudi Arabia have increasingly similar interests. The two countries have never had a formal relationship, but they sometimes find themselves in the same boat. They are both close to Washington, but these days that relationship has chilled somewhat. They both have a common enemy, Iran, and a common ally, Egypt, which is both valuable and unstable. And each of them, in their own particular arenas, is fighting the threat posed by jihadist organizations.

Have these common interests also stepped up the ladder to a level of secret cooperation between them? Rumors about this have been making the rounds for a few years now, both in Israel and elsewhere. During the Second Lebanon War, the foreign press published claims that the Saudis worked with Israel to coordinate the landing of planes with humanitarian aid at the Beirut airport, which was vulnerable to Israeli attacks. After the assassination of senior Hezbollah official Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus in February 2008, newspapers identified with Hezbollah professed that an Arab state had helped Israel carry out the assassination. As an avid supporter of the Palestinian struggle for independence, Saudi Arabia may have had good reasons to deny its contacts with Israel, but it had even better reasons to establish those contacts.

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