Thursday, June 24, 2010

Iranian News Agency Reports Israeli Air Force Helicopters in Saudi Arabia

If this story is true, it portends major international developments. According to Haaretz, the semi-official Iranian news agency FARS has reported that that Israel Air Force helicopters recently landed at an airport in Saudi Arabia, of all places, and unloaded equipment intended for attacking targets in a Muslim state.

The HaAretz story continues:
This follows last weekend's reports of an American fleet passing through the Suez Canal, triggering fears that the United States and Israel were preparing for an attack on Iran, with Egypt's cooperation, the Arabic language newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi said.

If the Obama Administration has successfully and secretly assembled a coalition including Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, for an attack on Iran, I would have to take back everything I have ever said regarding the futility of President Obama's outreach to the Islamic world, his antipathy to Israel and the timidity of his foreign policy. Indeed, a combined U.S. and Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear installations, with Saudi and Egyptian cooperation, seems breathtakingly risky. Consider the likely backlash by the Saudi and Egyptian people against their own governments, if those governments were to participate with the U.S. and Israel in an attack on a Muslim state.

However, I remain skeptical of the accuracy of the report. One need only recall the pains that former President George Herman Walker Bush took to keep Israel on the sidelines during the first Gulf War, to the point of ordering Israel not to retaliate against Iraqi missile strikes. Would the Obama Administration be any more likely to welcome Israeli active military participation in an anti-Iranian coalition?

Therefore this story may be no more than an Iranian pre-emptive propaganda strike, aimed at the Saudi and Egyptian governments.

Still, it is undeniable that the Saudi and Egyptian regimes fear and hate Iran, and its influence on proxies such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, even more than they hate Israel. [IAF Helicopter Photo credit: Tal Cohen]


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