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In the Middle East, Strange Times Make for Strange Bedfellows

Nov 24, 2017 | 15:43 GMT
A map of Saudi Arabia and Israel

The budding relationship between Saudi Arabia and Israel carries great risks -- to the kingdom's crown prince most of all.

(OMERSUKRUGOKSU/iStock)

There was a time when Saudi Arabia considered its enmity for Israel to be a mainstay of its power. But the shifting tides of geopolitics are steadily undercutting the value of conflict between the two. Perhaps nowhere is this change clearer than in an appearance last week by Israeli defense chief Gadi Eisenkot on a Saudi-owned TV station. During the Nov. 16 interview, Eisenkot declared Israel's readiness to share intelligence with Saudi Arabia on Iran. Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz later reinforced his colleague's comment, confirming that Israel's ties with the kingdom were getting stronger. Despite their natural hostility, the two countries have a long history of working together behind the scenes. In fact, their quiet cooperation is one of the worst-kept secrets in the Middle East. Nearly 70 years after the Jewish state was founded, however, the Gulf kingdom's new strategic needs -- and a diminished appetite for continued acrimony...

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