Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Israeli-Saudi shady relations

Caught in the act: a revealing image, a stunning fact or an outstanding statement.

In its September 25, 2006’s edition, the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, claimed that the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met a Saoudi dignitary in order to debate on Iran and Lebanon. The daily newspaper implied that Ehud Olmert would have met the prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Jordan. As a Personal friend of the Bush family (photograph: meeting at the White House in August 2002), prince Bandar has held, for more than 20 years, the post of Saoudi ambassador in the United States, and is today Secretary-General of Saoudi National Security Council. Both of the two States’ governments contradicted these assertions in an ambiguous way. Indeed, Ehud Olmert refused to answer the questions related to this meeting, but greeted the king Abdallah’s "wisdom and sense of responsibility".

To be reminded that the Prime minister Fouad Siniora has, during the Israeli attack against Lebanon, played a dubious game and is nowadays accused of treason by Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, Hassan Nasrallah’s Hezbollah, Nabih Berri’s Amal and Ali Quanso’s SNSP. And yet, Mr Siniora is the authorized representative of the main companies of Hariri’s clan, within the board of directors of which sit- besides Saad Hariri and his sister Bahia- the father, the brother, the two sisters, the spouse, the brother-in-law etc. of the Prime well as the Prince Abdel Aziz of Saudi Arabia.

This information accredits a little more the part played by Saudi Arabia in the israeli-Lebanese war: Riyadh would have looked on a military operation against the Hezbollah favourably, on condition that it does not damage the common properties of the Hariri clan and the Saoudi royal family. Especially since Saudi Arabia exerts an influence over the Muslim world thanks to the conservative wahhabite organizations, opposed to the Shiite revolutionary organizations like Hezbollah.

Throughout the Cold war, the United States, under the impulse of Robert Strausz-Hupé, then of Henry Kissinger, have leanet in the area on the triangle: Israel-Saudi Arabia-Turkey. The White House administration tried to create a free trade area there. Even if this period is gone by, the ties between the three countries remain intimate. Thus, trading between Israel and Saudi Arabia increased by 30 % these five last years.