Israeli minister reveals contacts with Saudi Arabia 'to curb Iran'

Elias Hubbard
November 20, 2017

Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera's senior political analyst, said Saudi Arabia had convened the Cairo meeting in a bid to "consolidate its position in a divided Arab region", hoping that there will condemnation of Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon, as well as of the Houthis.

Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran have soared since Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri's shock resignation on November 4, citing Iran's "grip" on his country and threats to his life.

Ibish said that given the mutual threat perceptions shared by Israel and Gulf Arab countries, it is unlikely that covert ties aren't developing.

"Iran-made missile, which [recently] targeted Saudi Arabia's capital city Riyadh, was a clear message about the hostility of Iran", Gheit added.

Hariri flew to Paris Saturday and vowed to return to Lebanon to attend celebrations marking the country's independence day on November 22.

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said that his country will not stand idle or hesitate in defending its people and national security.

"We are not declaring war on Iran at this stage", Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said.

Bahrain's Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa said the Iranian-backed Hizballah was "in total control" of Lebanon.

While the Arab foreign ministers deliberated in Cairo, Iran's growing power across the region was on display in Syria.

"Showing leniency toward Iran will not leave any Arab capital safe from those ballistic missiles", he said. It gave no details.

"Iranian threats have gone beyond all limits and pushed the region into a unsafe abyss", Gheit said.

Issuing a statement on the 40th anniversary of the historic visit by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to Israel, Liberman tweeted "I call on leaders in the region to follow the path of President Sadat, come to Jerusalem and open a new chapter, not just in terms of Israel's relations with the Arab world, but for the entire region".

Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Saturday called on the Arab world to normalize ties with the Jewish state and to present a united front against Iran's belligerence in the region.

The Saudi draft is unlikely to win the support of everyone in the Arab League.

Saudi Arabia has ratcheted up pressure on Iran, accusing Tehran of trying to expand its influence in Arab countries, often through proxies including the Lebanese Shia Hezbollah group.

The Saudis said that a missile fired from Yemen was intercepted on November 4 before it hit any targets.

Saudi Arabia says Iran is providing Yemen's Houthi rebels with missiles that have been used in attacks against the kingdom.

Bahrain has also blamed Iran for the pipeline fire.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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