Saudi Arabia is seeking to buy Israeli defense systems and working with Israel to prevent Iran's expansion in the Middle East, according to the Swiss newspaper Basler Zeitung.
Basler Zeitung reported on Monday (January 8) a "secret alliance" between Saudi Arabia and Israel, intended "to restrain Iran's expansion in the region, despite the absence of any official relations between the two countries."
The paper said the two countries are cooperating significantly in the areas of military issues and security on strategic issues, despite the fact that they have no open diplomatic ties.
"For the time being, Riyadh rejects any official normalization of relationships with Israel as long as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not resolved and normalization has not been publicly declared by Arab countries and thus there will be no exchange of ambassadors," Pierre Heumann, the newspaper's correspondent in Israel said in his report.
"There is an intensive secret cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel in order to achieve the main goal of curbing Iran's expansion project and undermining its regional ambitions," Heumann said. He added that "there exists indeed military cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Tel Aviv."
According to Middle East experts, the unifying security factor that has animated Israel and Saudi Arabia to intensify military cooperation is the Iranian regime's "jingoism in the Middle East".
"Both want to hold back the regional ambitions of Iran," wrote Heumann.
The Swiss daily also claimed that Riyadh requested Israel examine the possibility of acquiring, including through a third party, anti-tank defense systems and the Iron Dome anti-missile system.
According to the newspaper, "Riyadh seeks to intercept missiles coming from Yemen. Observers from Tel Aviv and Riyadh are confirming that cooperation between the security services of Israel and Saudi Arabia is very advanced, although Saudi Arabia has been officially denying any sort of cooperation with Israel," as the newspaper put it.
The Swiss newspaper also said "the Saudi elite has abandoned its fears of overt contact with representatives of Israel long time ago." CIA Director Mike Pompeo announced in early December last year that Saudi Arabia is working directly with Israel and other Sunni countries in the field of fighting terrorism.
Recently, there were several reports of Israeli and Saudi officials meeting, though neither side disclosed the topics discussed. The Swiss report claims that in October, intelligence officials from both countries met in order to tighten cooperation, and discussed holding an additional meeting with intelligence leaders of both countries.
The newspaper pointed out that a number of Saudi prominent figures met up with Israeli officials in public. In October, the two former Intelligence chiefs in Israel and Saudi Arabia met to exchange views about the US policy in the region. The newspaper noted that former Saudi Intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal held talks with former "Mossad" chief Efraim Halevy. Al-Faisal was even ready to participate with his Israeli counterpart at a symposium at the Jewish Community Centre in New York.
Israeli General's interview
In November, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot gave an interview to the Saudi Arabian news site Elaph, stating that "the real and greatest threat in the region is Iran, which has three important issues that need to be acted upon.
The first is its nuclear programme, which has been temporarily frozen, but there is no doubt about Iran's intentions to achieve nuclear capabilities.