Some Israeli politicians express deep satisfaction. Others seem elated about the Saudi attack on Yemen. Should hostility be our natural automatic reflex as Israelis to the Ansar Allah militia, even though we know nothing about it? Ansar Allah is a Shiite faction, which makes it rather obvious that it is yet another franchise of Iran. And if Iran is an enemy of Israel, we can safely assume that any group under its aegis is our enemy, too. We always side with the good guys, and in this case, the good guys are the Saudis.
But the reality is rather different. Western intelligence reports point to the pivotal role played by Saudi Arabia in establishing Sunni militias in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq. Those same militias went on to massacre innocent civilians, often by blowing up car bombs in densely populated areas. Meanwhile in Syria, it was Saudi Arabia that led the war against the Baathist regime, financing those groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and coordinating their ground operations with US and French intelligence agencies. Saudi Arabia had always taken a sophisticated approach. It operated by remote control and simultaneously began a successful public relations campaign. Nevertheless, it has been a key player in practically every bloody conflict in the region for the last decade. Without the impetus that it provides, it's doubtful whether groups like Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria or al-Qaeda in Iraq could have played such a major role in the bloodshed. “You destroyed an entire state just to bring down the Syrian regime,” Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah scolded the Saudis in his Friday sermon March 27.