Survey: Saudis Consider Iran Their Top Enemy, Not Israel


saudi-arabias-king-salmanThe Saudi public is far more concerned about the threats of Iran and the Islamic State than Israel, an opinion poll conducted by the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, has found.

53% of Saudis named Iran as their main adversary, while 22% said it is the Islamic State and 18% said Israel.

A quarter of the poll’s respondents said Israel and Saudi Arabia should join forces to fight Iran together.

Meanwhile, since the beginning of 2014, representatives from Israel and Saudi Arabia have had five secret meetings to discuss a common foe, Iran. On Thursday, the two countries came out of the closet by revealing this covert diplomacy at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. Anwar Eshki and Dore Gold presented identical messages: Iran is trying to take over the Middle East and it must be stopped. Saudi Arabia and Israel are arguably the two countries most threatened by Iran’s nuclear program, but neither has a seat at the negotiations.

Gold said, “Our standing today on this stage does not mean we have resolved all the differences that our countries have shared over the years, but our hope is we will be able to address them fully in the years ahead.”

The five bilateral meetings over the last 17 months occurred in India, Italy and the Czech Republic. One participant, Shimon Shapira, a retired Israeli general and an expert on the Lebanese militant group Hizbullah, told me: “We discovered we have the same problems and same challenges and some of the same answers.”

Saudi Gen. Eshki notably called for an independent Kurdistan to be made up of territory now belonging to Iraq, Turkey and Iran.

{ Israel}