The Obama administration’s attempts to normalize relations with Iran triggered a series of realignments in the Middle East, not the least of which was a de facto alliance between the Israelis and Saudis. While the two countries have been cooperating behind the scenes on security matters for a number of years, never in the history of post-colonial geopolitics has a Sunni majority state openly advocated for policy goals sympathetic to the Jewish State. Until now.
In an unprecedented speech delivered to Jewish organizations in New York in late April, Saudi Prince Mohammad Bin Salman directly criticized the Palestinian leadership, suggesting that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and others responsible for negotiations with the Americans and Israelis have “missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals.”
It is about time the Palestinians take the proposals and agree to come to the negotiations table or shut up and stop complaining,” he added.
Notably, the remarks came after the Trump administration’s announcement that it was relocating the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that was strongly opposed by Riyadh.
But the fact is, Saudi Arabia’s support for the Palestinian cause is now solely symbolic. This isn’t just mere speculation. Prince Salman admitted so himself when he stated that Palestinian statehood is no longer a priority for his country.
With Iran’s bloody proxy warfare wreaking havoc in the region, the Saudis appear far more concerned with curbing the Shia power’s expanding sphere influence in the region, lest it compromise the sovereignty and security of the Gulf States.
From Syria to Lebanon to Yemen, Tehran’s tentacles have a far reach. Indeed, there’s hardly a conflict in the Middle East that Iran isn’t somehow involved with.