The Persian Gulf War marked a new era in American power projection. According to Brookings Institute this American way of war is under threat from sophisticated anti-access and area denial systems such as ballistic and cruise missiles, submarine, mines, and cyber or anti-satellite attack.
To maintain American freedom of action, the US Navy and US Air Force developed the US Air-Sea Battle (ASB) concept in 2010. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert and US Air Force chief General Norton Schwartz discussed the new ASB Doctrine in the 21st Century Defense Initiative at Brookings May 16th in Washington, D.C.
Admiral Greenert was the first senior American commander to put on public record the measures for repelling Iranian cruise missile attacks on US aircraft carriers deployed in the Persian Gulf. A critical element in the concept is to identify alternate airfields for which a squadron of F-22 stealth jets was stationed at the Al Dhafra air base in United Arab Emirates in late April.
The new operational concept is closely applicable to American tactics for defending the Persian Gulf nations – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman against possible Iranian aggression as the Gulf Cooperation Council member states takes its first unification steps to shore up its defenses against the threat.
Debkafile military sources report a series of military exercises observed in Mediterranean, Red Sea and Persian Gulf in the last ten days practiced the new American doctrine which is designed to make the most of tightly coordinated operations by air, land, sea, undersea, space and cyberspace capabilities for defeating those of the enemy. The Israeli exercise, which ended May 13, drilled operating in unison with their American counterparts under the same doctrine.
On the day that Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal warned Iran not to meddle in the evolving Saudi-Bahraini union, the large US Amphibious Ready Group, 24th MEU, led by the USS Iwo Jima with 2,200 Marines aboard put into Jeddah, the Saudi Navy’s Red Sea command port.
It was the first time since the 2001 Gulf War that the Saudis had permitted US naval and air units of this size to anchor in one of their ports and allowed American military personnel to show themselves in its streets.
In Jordan, the United States is leading what it described as the “largest military exercises in the Middle East in 10 years”, Agence France-Presse reports. Code-named Eager Lion 2012- over 12,000 soldiers are taking part in the war games, representing 19 countries, including Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Qatar, Britain, France, Italy, Spain and Australia.
Israel – despite having extensive security agreements with Jordan – was not invited to participate in the exercises. Several Arab nations participating in the drill are still formally at war with the Jewish state.
Fueled by Iran nuclear threat, Arab uprisings and unrest in Bahrain, the headquarters of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet; Saudi Arabia’s unusual step in joining the coalition with Israel is not only a matter of convenience but of necessity.
It is against this background of the evolving threats that significant shifts in strategic security hesitatingly become inevitable and plausible excuse for the Saudi controversy. And who would have thought Saudi Arabia’s foe- Israel, could be its friend in the near future? Of course, it is only matter of time that this shared crisis will turn out to be the best opportunity, for better or worst.
Nobody knows except the House of Saud under King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Saudi Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz could make a gutsy difference to make this a reality.
In fact, Saudi Arabia’s position remained unchanged, as the dashing hopes of progress towards peace between Israel and the Palestinians is contingent upon the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, the return of refugees as well as the continuing US commitment to defend the Gulf countries against the threat of a nuclear armed Iran.
Open source military reports indicate that Israel and Saudi Arabia are forming an alliance against Iran, after the leadership in both countries had become estranged from Obama White House.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and King Abdullah’s mistrust of President Barack Hussein Obama as a credible and reliable ally is quixotically understandable.
Following Obama’s humiliation of Egypt’s long-time ally President Hosni Mubarak, calling for him to step down in the face of the student protests; the Saudis also became upset at the US apparent refusal to help fight off Bahraini uprisings, incited and well coordinated by Shiite Iran.
To significantly preserve their survival and political independence, Israel and Saudi Arabia needs strategic cooperation to succeed against the Iranian threat. But for now, America’s waning influence in the Greater Middle East is superseded by the urgency of finding common ground between allies and enemies.
For the sake of an important intellectual argument, conventional wisdom dictates that an Israel-Saudi alliance is good in theory but from strategic standpoint, a secret alliance would be more practical.
This covert Israeli-Saudi alliance already exists within the broader framework of US-NATO alliance against Shiite Iran and its regional allies, Hamas in Gaza, Hizbollah in Lebanon and Syria. The previously unthinkable alliance with Israel is also formed through strategic cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the Arab sheikhdoms in the Persian Gulf.
Speculation aside, the only logical outcome of this diplomatic and military alliance would be an air strike by Israel against Iran’s nuclear facilities, if Iran is hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons while it continues to dupe the West.
While divisive unseen political forces will never cease to exist between the Islamic Kingdom and the Jewish state, Pentagon has been heavily arming its Middle Eastern allies to protect American interests and to preserve regional peace and stability.
With this in mind, the removal of Iran’s hegemony from an attack by Israel would incontestably benefit Saudi Arabia. With Saudi Arabia on its side, Israel should grasp the opportunity for ending the festering Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
President John F. Kennedy’s speech in Indianapolis fifty years ago well summed it up: “When written in Chinese the word crisis is composed of two characters. One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.”