Haaretz Tells of “Israeli”-Saudi Relations: Intelligence, Cyber, Economy and Iran on Top of Partnership
Out of context and away from all the internal debate inside the apartheid entity, Haaretz daily chose to shed light on the Saudi kingdom.
Under a file entitled “Saudi Arabia: A Kingdom in Turmoil”, Haaretz detailed the relations between Tel Aviv and Riyadh.
According to Haaretz, “The links between “Israel” and Saudi Arabia are based on security and business interests.”
“For Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Saudis are key in Washington’s efforts to isolate the Iranian regime. The common interest is so strong that Netanyahu was one of the few leaders to publicly defend Saudi Arabia after the killing of Khashoggi last October.”
The daily further highlighted that “the Saudi-“Israeli” relationship finds expression in intelligence coordination as well.”
“Mossad chief Yossi Cohen has met with Saudi officials, and “Israel”, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates regularly share intelligence on the Iranian security threat. In some cases, there is also diplomatic coordination, as has been reported regarding the Saudis’ takeover of the Red Sea islands of Sanafir and Tiran from Egypt.”
“In 2012, a cyberattack afflicted 30,000 computers at the Saudi oil company, Aramco….According to reports in the foreign media, Riyadh responded by forming links with “Israeli” cyber companies. Since then, there has been an increasing number reports of such links, especially as Mohammed has increased his power. According to reports in the foreign media, Saudi Arabia has started issuing special entry permits to “Israeli” businessmen, who can now enter the kingdom without showing a passport.”
A company whose name keeps cropping up in this respect is Herzliya-based NSO Group Technologies. According to some sources, including Amnesty International, University of Toronto-based Citizen Lab and Forbes magazine, offensive tools provided by NSO have been used to track human rights activists, though the company has repeatedly said these allegations are wrong.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that two senior officials with key roles in the kingdom’s relations with Israel have unexpectedly lost these positions. The international community has demanded that the people responsible for Khashoggi’s murder be brought to justice; among the first to run into problems as part of the kingdom’s response were the crown prince’s adviser Saud al-Qahtani and the deputy intelligence chief, Ahmed Asiri.
Currently, the future of “Israel”-Saudi ties depends in part on Mohammed’s ability to stay in power. If the crown prince manages to restore his standing, the chances are better that he can promote reforms and conduct controversial moves in the kingdom, including closer ties with “Israel”.