Can Israel Save the Saudi Royal Family From Itself?

Rumors have been swirling over the past few days about what appears to be a secret visit by the Saudi Crown Prince to Israel.

“A prince from the Royal Court visited the country in secret over the past few days and discussed the idea of pushing regional peace forward with a number of senior Israeli officials,” the IBC reported, citing the Russian Sputnik media outlet.

This rumor was further strengthened by both Arab media and Israeli media claims.  While it is highly doubtful that the Saudi Crown Prince actually made a secret visit to Israel, the idea that the Saudis are busy trying to find a way to strengthen ties with Israel is not beyond the pale of reason.

The Saudi Royal Family is in the middle of a serious transition away from their terrorist backing past. Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is a far more worldly personality than his predecessors and sees his role as steering the Kingdom away from the wahhabism it has been associated with.

Despite his growing power there are many leaders within the Saudi Kingdom who are opposed to the many changes that the Crown Prince is trying to bring to the Kingdom.  Although the traditional leadership has allowed to back channel covert relations with Israel, these have been for the sole purpose of pushing back on Iran. The Crown Prince seems to be pushing for a far more open relationship.

Trump: Saudi Arabia has a “very positive” feeling toward Israel 

President Donald Trump made history in his foreign trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel, by forcing the Saudis to allow Air Force 1 to fly directly from Riyadh to Israel. The meetings in Riyadh left the President with the impression that the Saudis are now willing to open to the point where he made the now famous line: “Saudi Arabia has a ‘very positive’ feeling toward Israel.”

So the question remains why is the Crown Prince so bullish (at least behind the scenes still) on forging a relationship that goes beyond defense with Israel?

The answer the lies in his realization that not only is Israel not going anyway, but it is the key for the Sunni Arab states to connect in a far more broad way to the wider world.  While the Sunni block has been busy fomenting jihadism and selling oil, Israel has been developed into a global leader in innovation that has growing connections to India, China, Africa, and other developing regions.  Not to mention its reputation as a leader in military technologies.

With jihadism becoming dangerous to its own masters and oil running out, the Crown Prince knows he must pivot and change in order to survive. While peace between Israel and the “Palestinians” remains elusive, peace between Saudi Arabia and Israel may very well reshape the Middle East in a way that can change the nature of Israel’s relationship to the Sunni world.


The Five Things That May Make Trump’s Push For Peace Not So Crazy

Although most observers think Trump’s drive for peace between Israel and the “Palestinians” is far fetched, there are indications that he may not be so crazy after all.


Iran looms over both Israel and the Gulf Sunni Arabs

With the Iranian army now on the door step of Northern Israel as well as taking over Southern Iraq and menacing the Gulf Arabs, the Sunni Arabs understand that Israel needs to eb openly included in dealing with this menace.

Sunni Oil Leverage is Over

With increased shale oil production and alternative energy sources overtaking foreign oil imports in the USA, American dependency on foreign oil is waning.  This means that Arab oil holds less sway on geo-political issues.  Given this the Arab countries are willing to cut a deal now before all of their influence if finished.

Israel Has Become a Tech Super Power

While the Arab states relied on oil to shape their economies, Israel invested in hi-tech and has now become a global center for technology and innovation exporter.  This has allowed it to develop relationships with countries like China and India giving it more clout on the international arena.

Palestinians Have Become Annoying to Everyone

As the Arab leaders in the region realize that extremism has become a threat to their very existence, the Palestinians are increasingly seen as obstinate in their demands which are becoming stuck in the past.  For the Saudis and the Gulf States, economy and security far outweigh the need to placate the Palestinian street.

Abbas Needs a Deal Before He Becomes Irrelevant

With each passing year Abbas and the Palestinian Authority become increasingly irrelevant. Their people are fed up and many are leaving.  The PA is ripe with large scale graft and everyone knows it. Without a deal Abbas will be remembered as an  old failure by everyone, most of all the residents of the Palestinian Authority.

With Trump flying Air Force 1 from Riyadh to Israel thus breaking down a major barrier between the two countries as well the President becoming the first sitting President to visit the Western Wall, there appears to be real movement. It can be assumed that Trump is ready to push for a regional framework instead of one that focuses only on the Israeli-Palestinian “conflict.” By placing the regional issues into a broader context, creative solutions to longstanding issues are expecting to be floated.

Trump may not succeed, but his attempt is not built on mere slogans, but rather a confluence of real world issues that are rapidly changing who is friend and who is foe.