Two sources for rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and the Jewish State of Israel …

Israel and Saudi Arabia: Is the Enemy of My Enemy My Friend? | INSS – Dec. 2013 |

Recent reports and commentaries have suggested that a rapprochement between Israel and Saudi Arabia is underway. Indeed, both countries are eager to prevent Iran from achieving military nuclear capability and would like to curb Iranian attempts to attain regional hegemony. In addition, both are perturbed by recent developments in US policy, particularly the reluctance to use force against Iran and Syria, and signs of a gradual shift away from the problems of the Middle East. However, in spite of the convergence of interests between Israel and Saudi Arabia, full normalization is not on the agenda as long as there is no significant political breakthrough between Israel and the Palestinians. At the same time, there is a wide range between full diplomatic relations and a total lack of contact, and the two countries can take advantage of this.

With the publication of the Fahd initiative in 1982, Saudi Arabia abandoned, at least officially, the policy that had until then rejected Israel’s right to exist. Following the Madrid conference in 1991, a certain rapprochement took place between the two countries, and they participated in five working groups to deal with regional issues water, the environment, economics, refugees, and arms control. The Abdullah initiative of 2002, the basis for the Arab Peace Initiative, [included Iran!] went a step further, promising Israel “normal relations” with the Arab and Muslim world if it met a number of conditions.

More below the fold …

Israel initially rejected the initiative as a basis for dialogue with the Arab world, though subsequently a number of senior Israeli officials, including President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, expressed support for the positive aspects of the initiative while mindful of the problematic issues (e.g., normal relations were made contingent on completion of the peace process, a withdrawal to the June 4, 1967 lines, and a solution of the refugee problem on the basis of UN General Assembly resolution 194).

Apart from the Abdullah initiative, Saudi Arabia has remained on the sidelines of attempts to promote the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians (and Syria as well). Perhaps, then, the initiative was intended to counter the kingdom’s negative image following the attacks of September 11, 2001. Oman and Qatar, which are generally outside the consensus in the Gulf Cooperation Council, had formal – albeit partial – relations with Israel. Israel had diplomatic missions in both countries that were ultimately closed in the wake of the second intifada and Operation Cast Lead.

Rapprochement with Israel carries a heavy price tag for Riyadh | Middle East Monitor – Nov. 13, 2017 |

Riyadh is convinced that rapprochement with Israel is the cornerstone of its desperate attempts to achieve any victory for Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman before he officially takes the throne. Many Arabs did not believe the Israeli Prime Minister’s statements over recent years that there was a great understanding between Israel and a major Arab country; they were a clear reference to Saudi Arabia.

Observers believe that Riyadh has lost the battle with Tehran in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The Saudi stalemate in Yemen cannot be said to be close to a resolution, unless Riyadh makes painful concessions; if they are made, then the Saudis cannot claim that the objectives of Operation Storm of Resolve have been achieved. However, among the ruling elites in Saudi Arabia, there are some who believe that relief will come from Tel Aviv. The Israelis believe that the opportunity to attack the exhausted Hezbollah may not come again so easily; were they to eliminate the Lebanese movement it would be a serious blow to Iran. Saudi Arabia is enthusiastic about this and is trying to remove any cover for Hezbollah by encouraging the resignation of Saad Hariri as Prime Minister of Lebanon.

Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner [profile NYT], is the godfather of the Saudi-Israeli rapprochement. In an unannounced visit by Kushner, during which he met Bin Salman, the US envoy proposed the establishment of formal relations between Riyadh and Tel Aviv. Israeli calculations – which are very close to Kushner’s — are based on the assumption that the more tension there is between Riyadh and Tehran, the more that the Saudis will converge with Tel Aviv. It is no secret that this would gain Israel some much-desired “legitimacy” from Saudi Arabia, with all the religious symbolism that would represent; at the same time, the Palestinians, who still live under the world’s sole remaining colonial occupation, would not gain anything.

Crown Prince Salman who turns the other cheek to Israel’s existence and the cruel occupation of Palestinian land, can not accept dissent, Iran is enemy number one and the KSA will work with the US of Donald Trump, Jared Kusner and Greenblatt in addition with Israel’s Netanyahu, Lieberman and Bennett to overthrow the Islamic regime in Iran. Clearly the tiny Kingdom of the desert sees the well educated Iranians as a serieus threat. Everyone absolves the Saudi Kingdom for the Al Qaeda jihadists rooted in the Wahhabist religion that sowed terror across the globe: from New York WTC / Washington DC, Western Europe, Russia’s Caucasus, through the MENA states, SE Asia, Indonesia and Southern islands of the Philippines.

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed freed after ‘settlement’ | AFP/Dawn |

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was released on Saturday after nearly three months in detention following a “settlement” with authorities, as a sweeping anti-corruption campaign targeting the kingdom’s elite winds down.

Prince Alwaleed, dubbed the Warren Buffett of Saudi Arabia, was the most high-profile detainee among 350 suspects rounded up since November 4, including business tycoons and ministers, who were held in Riyadh’s luxury Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

The prince was released following an undisclosed financial agreement with the government, similar to deals that authorities struck with most other detainees in exchange for their freedom.

“The attorney general this morning approved the settlement with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal,” paving the way for his release, a government source said without disclosing figures.

When asked whether the prince was still the head of his publicly listed Kingdom Holding Company, the source replied: “For sure.” A business associate confirmed to AFP that the tycoon had been released. The Saudi information ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

Billionaire Prince Al-Waleed released: sources | Gulf News |

In his first interview since his arrest .. #Al-Waleed bin Talal: He still insisted on his innocence of any corruption:

In his first interview since he was taken into custody in November, Prince Alwaleed told Reuters he was continuing to maintain his innocence of any corruption in talks with authorities. He said he expected to keep full control of his global investment firm Kingdom Holding Co without being required to give up assets to the government.

Asked by Reuters about the anti-corruption investigation, he said, “That’s the big title: anti-corruption. But many people left here with no charges at all – zero. Clearly because I am involved in so many projects nationally, regionally, internationally, so many interests, so I told them: `Please, take your time. Look at everything. I have nothing to hide.”

Speaking about rumours he said he was upset with, Alwaleed noted: “I saw them [rumours] on the BBC and others, that Alwaleed was sent to some other place, the main prison, and that he’d been tortured. All lies.

“It’s very unfortunate … I was planning to do an interview when I got out … But I decided to accelerate the process and accept this interview today because these various rumours took place. They’re unacceptable completely. They are just a bunch of lies.”

The wealthy prince and the $10m donation to mayor Giuliani for the 9/11 monument I New York …

Citing Comments on Attack, Giuliani Rejects Saudi’s Gift | NY Times – Oct. 12, 2001 |

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said yesterday that the city was rejecting a $10 million donation from a wealthy prince from Saudi Arabia who criticized the American government’s policies in the Middle East.

The donor, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Alsaud, was one of many foreign visitors who have gone to ground zero with the mayor since the trade center attack last month. Yesterday, the prince, who is the chairman of the Kingdom Holding Company and was No. 6 in July on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people, attended a memorial service at the site with Mr. Giuliani. There, he gave the mayor a check for $10 million for the Twin Towers Fund, a charity set up by Mr. Giuliani primarily for survivors of uniformed workers who died.

Mr. Giuliani initially accepted the check, as he has several others from government and private industry leaders. With the check was a letter from the prince, in which he expressed his condolences for ”the loss of life that the city of New York has suffered.”

The letter continues, ”I would also like to condemn all forms of terrorism, and in doing so I am reiterating Saudi Arabia’s strong stance against these tragic and horrendous acts.”

But the letter did not say what a news release attached to a copy of the letter did:

    “However, at times like this one, we must address some of the issues that led to such a criminal attack. I believe the government of the United States of America should re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance towards the Palestinian cause.”

The release attributed the statement to the prince. The sentiment reflected the tack the Saudis have generally taken, condemning the Sept. 11 attack while trying to be supportive of the Palestinian cause.

    “Our Palestinian brethren continue to be slaughtered at the hands of Israelis
    while the world turns the other cheek,” the release read.

The mayor, who was told of the news release just moments before his daily briefing but after receiving the check, was visibly annoyed by it.

”I entirely reject that statement,” Mr. Giuliani said. ”That’s totally contrary to what I said at the United Nations,” he added, referring to his address on Oct. 1.

Keif El Hal: First Saudi Feature Film   by marco @EuroTrib on Nov 12th, 2006

The company that produced the movie, Rotana, is owned by the King of Saudi Arabia’s nephew, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.  Talal may be in it for the money, but it seems like the prince, a vocal supporter of women’s rights who hired the first female airplane pilot in Saudi Arabia, may truly care about the issues portrayed and dealt with in this film.

The film’s Saudi associate producer, Haifa al-Mansur, the “highest profile Saudi woman involved in films”, had made a controversial documentary which “caused an uproar among the hard-line clerical elite”, as in it “a reformist cleric declares that it is not mandatory for women to cover up their faces.”

I was not aware that King Abdullah was initiating “reforms”, but according to Ms. Mansur:

    Mansur said she was optimistic about her country’s prospects in the light of reforms
    initiated by King Abdullah and wants to continue making films in Saudi Arabia.
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