Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saudi Arabia gives Israel clear skies to attack Iran

It's been an eventful week for Iran.  On Wednesday, the U.N. Security Council passed a fourth sanctions resolution meant to stifle Iran's nuclear activity. Friday, Russia announced its plan to freeze delivery of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Iran. And today, this, from The Times (UK):
Saudi Arabia has conducted tests to stand down its air defences to enable Israeli jets to make a bombing raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities, The Times can reveal.

In the week that the UN Security Council imposed a new round of sanctions on Tehran, defence sources in the Gulf say that Riyadh has agreed to allow Israel to use a narrow corridor of its airspace in the north of the country to shorten the distance for a bombing run on Iran.

To ensure the Israeli bombers pass unmolested, Riyadh has carried out tests to make certain its own jets are not scrambled and missile defence systems not activated. Once the Israelis are through, the kingdom’s air defences will return to full alert.

“The Saudis have given their permission for the Israelis to pass over and they will look the other way,” said a US defence source in the area. “They have already done tests to make sure their own jets aren’t scrambled and no one gets shot down. This has all been done with the agreement of the [US] State Department.”

Sources in Saudi Arabia say it is common knowledge within defence circles in the kingdom that an arrangement is in place if Israel decides to launch the raid. Despite the tension between the two governments, they share a mutual loathing of the regime in Tehran and a common fear of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “We all know this. We will let them [the Israelis] through and see nothing,” said one.
It has long been the conventional wisdom that Saudi Arabia would not interfere with an Israeli airstrike on Iran, but to see it in print with confirmation, albeit anonymously, from the U.S. State Department is quite extraordinary.

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