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Middle East , Foreign Relations

Israel and Saudi Arabia Consider Setting Up Joint Military Headquarters; CIA Director Mike Pompeo

December 04th - 2017

The United States' two primary Middle Eastern allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia, have continued to strengthen their military cooperation in the face of common adversaries such as Syria, Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia. Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in California CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Saudi Arabia was working directly with Israel to confront "challenges" the two faced in the region, indicating that the two were likely to set up set up "a joint military headquarters" in the near future.

With closer cooperation among their client states strongly favoring U.S. interests, Pompeo advised Israel and Saudi Arabia to continue to strengthen military ties. He said that better relations between them would allow them to both work more closely with the United States - coordinating to further American interests against regional adversaries which could possibly even lead to the formation of a formal coalition in future. The CIA director stated: "It is incredibly important that in the Middle East, where we have failed states, where you have ISIS, where you have Iran, that we have got to develop a stronger coalition of countries that are willing to work together to confront these challenges."

Pompeo advocated for "a strong coalition that can operate - frankly I think with a joint military headquarters... that can basically work together to try to provide stability." A longtime Western client state, Saudi Arabia has never faced Israel in a war and the two have a long history of jointly opposing the enemies of the West in the Middle East - from the Arab Nationalist bloc in the 1950s and 1960s to Iranian and Russian partners across the region today. Indeed, Saudi Arabia previously granted Israel permission to use its airspace to strike Iranian targets, while Israel also made use of Saudi airspace to strike Iraqi targets in the 1980s.

As both Saudi Arabia and Israel are close partners of the Western bloc, there is little cause for conflict between them. The foreign policies of both nations are largely recipients of the same influences - with the goal of maintaining the Western bloc's position as the hegemonic power in the Middle East and subduing state and non state actors opposing this. Iran and Syria are leading examples of such opponents of Western hegemony against which Saudi Arabia and Israel have proven useful instruments of the Western bloc's foreign policy. Saudi-Israeli cooperation is thus highly likely to continue to strengthen in future, possibly incorporating the United Arab Emirates and Jordan as well. With interoperable Western arms, both being two of only three nations relying on the F-15 air superiority fighters for the bulk of their aerial warfare capabilities, while other US clients rely on the less capable F-16, joint aerial drills simulating strikes on Syrian, Iranian or Hezbollah targets could well commence in future under a joint Western backed Arab-Israeli command.

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