Published: Mon, November 20, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Israeli minister reveals contacts with Saudi Arabia 'to curb Iran'

Israeli minister reveals contacts with Saudi Arabia 'to curb Iran'

Israel's military chief of staff said in an interview Thursday that his country was prepared to cooperate with Saudi Arabia to face Iran's plans "to control the Middle East".

The Arab foreign ministers' final statement referred to Hezbollah as a "terrorist organization", a branding that drew reservations from Lebanon, according to the head of the Arab League, Ahmed Abul Gheit.

They also tasked "the Arab group in NY to address the security council president to clarify Iranian violations" of a UN Security Council resolution on Tehran's ballistic missiles programme.

While not mentioning Iran by name, he said Lebanon condemned all attacks against Arab nations, but blamed exploitable inter-Arab divisions that allowed global and regional powers to promote their interests.

In a resolution published after the one-day summit wrapped up, the Arab League said that it "does not intend to declare war against Iran for the moment" but warned that "Saudi Arabia has the right to defend its territory".

An Israeli cabinet minister on Sunday said Israel had covert ties with "many" Arab and Muslim states but was obliged not to name them at the other sides' request.

"A decision was taken that Lebanon would be presented by Antoine Azzam, the permanent representative to the Arab League", a source from the ministry told Reuters.

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While Tehran has made no secret of its political support for Houthi, it has repeatedly denied rumors of arming the Yemeni Houthi, with Iranian President Rouhani stating that the Houthis' missile launch at Saudi Arabia's capital was a "reaction to aggression", adding that Riyadh's belief in the Islamic Republic being its "enemy" is a "strategic mistake".

Gulf Arab countries are also anxious about the Islamic republic's support for Huthi rebels in Yemen.

The House of Saud has been losing ground in the multi-religious Mediterranean state, and the Bahraini foreign minister at the Arab League summit called Lebanon's Hezbollah militia "Iran's longest arm in the region".

Lieberman called on the Arab world to follow Egypt's Sadat and make peace with Israel, on the way to countering a shared foe - Iran.

Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has accused Tehran of "direct military aggression" against the kingdom by supplying the Yemen rebels with ballistic missiles.

Increased tensions between Tehran and Riyadh have fuelled speculation that shared interests may push Saudi Arabia and Israel to working together against what they see as a common Iranian threat.

"Iran created agents in the region, such as the Houthi and Hezbollah militias, in total disregard for all global principles", said al-Jubeir.

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