Is Israel seeking role as leader of the Sunni bloc?
Leaked cable shows Israel told diplomats to support Saudi Arabia’s war of words with Iran and Lebanese group Hezbollah. Israel has instructed its overseas embassies to lobby their respective host countries in support of Saudi Arabia and its apparent efforts to destabilise Lebanon, a recently leaked diplomatic cable shows.
The cable appears to be the first formal confirmation of rumours that Israel and Saudi Arabia are colluding to stoke tensions in the region.
Sent by the Israeli foreign ministry and disclosed by Israel’s Channel 10 news this week, the cable demanded that diplomats stress Iran and Hezbollah’s engagement in “regional subversion”.
That closely echoes accusations Riyadh levelled against Tehran and the Lebanese faction in recent days.
Analysts have noted that diplomatic moves by Israel to intervene directly in a seemingly internal Arab matter are “very rare”.
Yossi Alpher, a former adviser to Ehud Barak when he was Israeli prime minister, called the cable “extremely presumptuous”.
“Do the Saudis really need Israel to put in a good word for them in capitals around the world?” he told Al Jazeera.
But others believe Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, who also heads the foreign ministry that issued the cable, may be looking to gain from an uptick in uncertainty in the region : > JONATHAN COOK