Reports surface from United Arab Emirates of $250 million deal with Israel that included advanced espionage technology; Systems reportedly deployed and in use.
Reports surfaced Monday that Saudi Arabia recently acquired spy systems and equipment in a $250 million deal with Israel.
The claims first surfaced in United Arab Emirate’s Al-Khaleej followed by Israeli and regional media sources. The deal was reportedly mediated by the Trump Administration and followed numerous secret meetings between Saudi and Israeli officials. It also claimed majority of the systems have been delivered to Saudi Arabia and are already in use.
The arms deal would be Israel’s second with Saudi Arabia in recent months, reports in mid-September claiming Israel sold Saudi Arabia an Iron Dome missile defense system for defense from rocket attacks from Iran’s proxies, the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Saudi media claimed the Kingdom purchased the system from Israel in an arms deal also mediated through the United States and that the system would be operational by December 2018.
Earlier in the year, the Swiss newspaper Basler Zeitung released a detailed report on Israeli-Saudi military coordination and developing diplomatic relations. The report referred to Israel and Saudi Arabia’s relations as “very advanced” and centered mainly on Saudi cooperation with Israel on regional developments, mainly involving Iran, but also on reports it intended to purchase defense systems, the Iron Dome and tanks from Israel.
At least three meetings have been reported between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with Israeli officials since 2017. The last was reported in June of this year, a secret meeting between Netanyahu, the Crown Prince and an UAE diplomat in Amman were reported. Following, meetings were held with White House special adviser Jared Kushner and US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt in Jordan, Egypt, Qatar and Israel, talks centered on the Trump Administration’s peace plan.
In April of 2018, the Crown Prince made history and officially recognized Israel’s right to exist. He also publicly recognized Israel’s growing stance in the region and possible future relations between Gulf states and Israel, stating at the time “There are a lot of interests we share with Israel and if there is peace, there would be a lot of interest between Israel and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.”
As with majority of reports of meetings between Saudi and Israeli officials, both country’s governments have refused to confirm, deny or comment.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal last week, President Trump referred Saudi Arabia as a “good ally with respect to Iran and with respect to Israel.” He claimed it would be a “very big change” and a “strong and positive thing going on in the Middle East for the first time in many years.”
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