TEL AVIV – Israeli Mossad chief Meir Dagan went on a secret visit to Saudi Arabia in recent weeks to discuss the threat of Iran, according to informed Arab security sources.
The security sources did not disclose specifics of the discussions except to say the topic was Iran, which is accused of building a nascent nuclear program.
Saudi Arabia does not maintain an open diplomatic relationship with Israel. But the Sunni Muslim country, together with Egypt, Jordan and other so-called moderates, is threatened by the growing influence of Iran, dominated by Shiite Islam.
There have been multiple reports of Saudi cooperation with Israel on the Iranian nuclear issue.
In 2009, it was reported Dagan met Saudi intelligence officials to gain assurances that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets violating Saudi airspace during any raid on Iran’s nuclear plans. Both governments denied the reports.
In recent weeks, Internet rumors claimed Israel dropped off military equipment in Saudi Arabia. Some unsubstantiated reports even claimed Israel was building a secret military base in Saudi Arabia for use in a future conflict with Iran. Those reports are inaccurate, according to Israeli military officials speaking to WND.
Still, Sunni Arab countries have not disguised their fear of a nuclear Iran.
Earlier this month, the United Arab Emirates’ Washington ambassador publicly expressed support for a U.S. attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
“We cannot live with a nuclear Iran,” the envoy, Yousef al-Otaiba, reportedly said at a conference in Aspen, Colo.
Otaiba was quoted as saying he “absolutely” wanted the U.S. to use force to halt Iran’s nuclear program.
Last December, WND quoted an Egyptian intelligence official stating Saudi Arabia is cooperating with Israel on the Iranian nuclear issue.
The official said Saudi Arabia had been passing intelligence information to Israel related to Iran. He affirmed a report from the Arab media, strongly denied by the Israeli government, that Saudi Arabia has granted Israel overflight permission during any attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
The Egyptian official previously told WND that Prince Saud Al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, has been involved in an intense, behind-the-scenes lobbying effort urging the U.S. and other Western countries to do everything necessary to ensure Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons. Such weapons would threaten Saudi Arabia’s position of influence in the Middle East.
The Egyptian official said his country believes it is not likely Obama will grant Israel permission to attack Iran.
He spoke about the efforts of other Arab countries to oppose an Iranian nuclear umbrella but did not comment on Egypt’s own position on the matter.
Egypt last year granted Israel permission to conduct naval exercises off Egyptian coastal waters. The military drills clearly were aimed at Iran.