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Israel and Saudi Arabia vs Iran

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recently vowed to "pursue terrorists until they are wiped from the face of the earth" as officials from 40 Muslim countries gathered in the first meeting of an Islamic counter-terrorism alliance.

"In past years, terrorism has been functioning in all of our countries... with no coordination" among national authorities, Prince Salman, who is also Saudi defense minister, said in his keynote address to the gathering in Israel SA vs IranRiyadh according to reporting by The Economic Times.

"This ends today with this alliance."

The alliance is largely, although not exclusively, Sunni-majority or Sunni-ruled countries.

And it notably excludes Saudi Arabia's arch-rival, Shiite-dominated Iran, as well as Syria and Iraq, whose leaders have close ties to Iran.

The recent meeting coincides with an escalation in tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, particularly over wars in Syria and Yemen and the political structure of multi-confessional Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of supporting armed groups across the Middle East, including Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah and Yemen's Houthi rebels.

"The pillar of this coalition is inclusion," said Saudi General Abdulelah al-Saleh, the alliance's acting secretary general, playing down the exclusion of the three countries.

"Our common enemy is terrorism, not any religion, sect or race,” said General al-Saleh, however, one cannot help but see a clear anti-Iranian tilt to the alliance and its goals.

Indeed, the meeting of the alliance comes hard on the heels of a ratcheting-up of the rhetoric between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

“But we learned from Europe that appeasement doesn’t work. We don’t want the new Hitler in Iran to repeat what happened in Europe in the Middle East,” Salman told The New York Times.

Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of sending aid to the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Salman also told The New York Times the war in Yemen was “going in its favor.” The war, which has raged since 2015, has pitted a Saudi-led coalition backed by the U.S. against the Houthi rebels and forces loyal to Yemen’s ousted president.

Mamdouh Al Muhaini, Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya News Channel’s digital platforms, says the Hitler analogy is apt:

The Iranian regime does not differ from Nazi Germany or any totalitarian regime with expansive ambitions. Containment to it means weakness and gradual surrender and it only increases its greed.

This is what the Obama administration did when it signed the nuclear agreement for the purpose of integrating it with the world order. All the agreement did was worsening its ego and brutality.

The strategy of the “new Hitler” is close to Hitler’s regime. It is based on the policy of divisions inside Arab and Islamic countries by claiming it defends persecuted segments. It then infiltrates the country and extends its influence. We have seen this in Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq.

It also uses propaganda, as per totalitarian regimes’ traditional approach, to spread lies which followers and sympathizers market to depict a semi-democratic image of a regime that calls for peace and rapprochement when in fact it is an invading power that supports terrorist militias and uses fake religious slogans to market itself. It is also a tyrannical regime that relies on an extremist ideology and adopts the doctrine of recruitment and blind obedience.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s description of Khamenei as “the new Hitler” is a reminder to western countries and Arabs of the failed policy of containment as learnt from Chamberlain’s experience, which many seem to have forgotten when it almost changed the face of the world forever.

While the hot rhetoric coming from Saudi Arabia seems to be getting all the news, the really important development is a new atmosphere of quiet cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Deutsche Welle reports that in mid-November, Gadi Eizenkot, the chief of general staff of Israel's defense forces described, in broad terms, how he viewed his country's relations with Iran on one side and Saudi Arabia on the other.

Eizenkot explained that Israel was prepared to share information as well as intelligence material with moderate Arab states in order to counter Iran. He answered the question of whether Israel had already shared intelligence with Saudi Arabia by quoting from a letter of intent: "We are prepared to share information when necessary. We have many common interests." He did, however, make one thing crystal clear: Iran is viewed by Israel as the "greatest threat to the region."

Whether the growing anti-Iran coalition in the Middle East will solidify into a real counterweight to a potentially nuclear armed Iran remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: The battle with Israel and Saudi Arabia on one side and Iran on the other is heating up and the United States cannot be a passive observer.

George Rasley is editor of Richard Viguerie's A veteran of over 300 political campaigns, he served on the staff of Vice President Dan Quayle, as Director of Policy and Communication for Congressman Adam Putnam (FL-12) then Vice Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, and as spokesman for Rep. Mac Thornberry now-Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

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