02:26 GMT +324 September 2018
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    Saudi Defence Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud

    Under Crown Prince’s Rule, Saudi-US-Israel United by Anti-Iran Interests

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    Cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia is reaching new heights under the Kingdom’s new de-facto ruler, Mohammad Bin Salman. Lawrence Davidson, a retired history professor at West Chester University, joins Fault Lines on Radio Sputnik to discuss the emerging nexus.

    (Interview begins at 94:37)

    ​One example of the countries cozying up to one another was elucidated by Ami Dor-on, a senior nuclear commentator at Israel's Homeland Security department (iHLS), which receives some funding from the US defense contractor Raytheon. Dor-on spoke to the news outlet Arabi21 for a report revealing that Israel was handing over nuclear secrets to Saudi Arabia, united by the intention to make sure that, if Iran develops nuclear weapons, it will not be the only country in the Middle East to have them. 

    That information is just the beginning, Dor-on suggested. "It can be assumed that Israel may take the initiative to develop Saudi Arabia's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons," he said, "given the growing Saudi-Israeli relations."

    Though the states seem like unlikely allies, given that Saudi Arabia has historically supported other Arab powers in their struggles against Israel, the shifting geopolitical situation sheds new light on the nature of the alliance.

    "If you bring in Iran and the Shiites into the equation then all of the sudden you get a connection," Davidson told Fault Lines hosts Lee Stranahan and Garland Nixon. "It's a religious thing. It's like the Protestants and the Catholics in the Reformation. The Sunnis see the Shiites as apostates; they're evil and they're the enemy. And so the Israelis have this obsession with the Iranians, and so that's what brings them together."

    Davidson emphasized how the new leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United States are driving the changing dynamic. "I mean, the United States of course, particularly under this present administration, is so solidly in the Israeli camp that the Saudis, who are also very dependent on the United States for their defense, have simply said, ‘OK, well, the Israeli issue just has no way of being solved under the present conditions.'" 

    Salman's new administration deviates significantly from previous rulers in the House of Saud, in that his view of Israel is far less hostile. Leaders like him "don't have the memory or the outlook of past generations, which saw the Zionist incursion into the Middle East as a Western colonial incursion — so for instance, this new crown prince, bin Salman, I mean he's a young guy," Davidson pointed out.

    That's a dramatic departure from generations past. The first King of Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, "was a total opponent" to the formation of the Israeli state, Davidson noted. "In any case, there's also the fact that the Arabs have failed to get rid of Israel, or get rid of the Zionist movement, and so they don't know what to do about it. So what bin Salman says is, ‘OK, we'll make our peace with these guys and then we'll ally with them against a new enemy — or actually, an old enemy. An enemy that's just as, if not more, important to us than, say, the Zionists were to previous generations." 

    (File) Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman waves as he meets with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 11, 2017
    © REUTERS / Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court

    Davidson pointed to similarities between the two Middle Eastern states: while non-Jews are not considered full citizens in Israel, Saudi Arabia's Shiite minorities are treated similarly, and both claim a pretense of divinity grants them the right to the land they stand upon.

    Another similarity is that the US population hardly raises an eyebrow to the abuses conducted by either the so-called Jewish state or the Saudi Monarchy, which is "amazing," Davidson said, "because if you look at the history of Saudi Arabia in relationship to, say, al-Qaeda, or al-Nusra, or any of these al-Qaeda offshoots, they're very supportive of them."

    Of the 19 terrorists who hijacked planes on September 11, 2001, crashing them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, 15 were from the Saudi kingdom and "some people in the Saudi government assisted, financially and otherwise, some of the people involved in the 9/11 attack," Davidson pointed out.

    "So if you put it all out there, you would think that an American citizen would have a real violent reaction to our climbing into bed with these guys, but I guess it's a function of ignorance and the media stays away from it," Davidson told Fault Lines.

    The lack of uproar is partially a direct result of the wealth of the two nations and their willingness to spend huge sums on their US lobbying arms. "I think that the money that they spend is selectively applied, and a lot of it goes for influence in the Congress and the political parties, and also maintain a base where they have an established support," Davidson said.

    "But it's interesting, what happens with the ‘mass media' is more absence than application. In other words if you look at CBS or NBC or even PBS, or even Fox for that matter, it's not — you're not going to get that kind of daily consensus or mention of the Israelis as our allies, it's more just not there."

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