Thu, 29 Jul 2010 16:55:43 GMT
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah begins a tour of Jordan, Syria and Egypt in a bid to ease the tensions in Lebanon and discuss Arab unity.
However, many analysts question the real intentions of King Abdullah's visit to the Arab countries.
The following is a transcript of Press TV's interview with Ali al-Ahmed, director of the Institute of Gulf Affairs (IGA), regarding Saudi Arabia's past relations with Israel and its recent bombing of Northern Yemen.
Press TV:According to a Saudi minister, King Abdullah quoted that he knows, “the problems facing the Arab world.” He embarked on this visit to discuss ways to strengthen inner Arab relations and achieve Arab unity. Do you think that is the whole truth and will it be a successful visit?
al-Ahmed:Well I think the kingdom is trying to consolidate its allies in the region, and is trying to organize the region for its own interest. Regarding Arab unity, I don't think this is a Saudi policy at all. Because we have seen what happened in Yemen, and that was not an issue of unity. The Saudis bombarded Northern Yemen and did more damage than Israel did to Gaza in terms of the amount of weapons and bombs used. So this is not an issue of unity this is an issue of Saudi Arabia trying to convince Syria to join in the pro-American bloc in the Middle East: mainly Egypt, Jordan and some other Persian Gulf States. So this is part of the overall effort on the Saudi government with the US to push against Iran and its allies in the region, and maybe try to prepare for some type of military action against Iran. I don't think it will come to that. But this is what the Saudis are hoping to do: to isolate Iran through putting pressure on Syria and Lebanon.
Press TV: King Abdullah speaks of the peace process, “To establish a just and comprehensive peace in ensuring the legitimate rights of the Palestinians.” Such things have been said for years by the Saudi leaders. I mean is the outcome expected to be any different this time around?
al-Ahmed: I don't think a different outcome will happen and let's just remember in 2009 when the Gaza attack occurred. Saudi Arabia was in support of the Israeli attack on Gaza and they were not totally against it. We see this policy continuing to happen. Saudi Arabia wants Israel to pressure Palestinian groups like Hamas which it doesn't like. Saudi Arabia is on the side of Israel. And you have probably heard the story of the chief of the Mossad in Israel meeting with Saudi Arabia in secret. That is not the first time the Saudis and Israelis have met so there is some kind of coordination between the two sides.
Press TV:I'd like to stay with what you just mentioned. There is word of Saudi Arabia allowing access for Israeli planes if Israel were to attack Iran and as you just mentioned the Israeli Mossad chief visited Saudi Arabia for talks. How probable is it that the relationship is growing and that King Abdullah's Arab unity tour was more about that than anything else.
al-Ahmed: It was about that for sure. The Saudi government has always for the last 50 years put in mind the relationship with Israel. It was not really a hostile relation; it was a relation of convenience. In the last 20 years or so, they have had cooperative contacts. For example we know that the former Saudi ambassador to Washington had secret meetings and communications; not only in the last few years but it dates back over 20 years ago. So they have this relationship of convenience because we see that Saudi Arabia has not contributed to any effort that is against Israel in terms of a military attack. They have always avoided that but you see them very active in Yemen, Pakistan, Iraq and other countries. You don't see them doing anything militarily against Israel because of their special relationship. It is a private relationship but it has been highlighted with the meeting between King Abdullah and Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, in 2008 in New York. So this is something that has been done on the highest levels of both governments.
Click to view image: 'Saudi Arabia, Israel's secret relations'
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