Long-time Middle East watchers (like the Czar) will note that the Saudis’ willingness to cooperate with Israel against Iran is, in fact, entirely within character. Saudi Arabia and Iran are bitter, deadly rivals who see each other as their main rival for power in the Muslim Middle East, though this fact is often lost in the “Muslims vs. Everybody” narrative an unfortunate number of people buy.
Their rivalry has only intensified given the Islamic Republic’s rise to regional power (and claims to universal Islamic supremacy). More recently, given the evident waning of American will in the region, many of the Sunni Arab states, not just the Saudis, have begun fearing the rise of a “Shi‘ite Crescent” with Iran as ringleader, Hezbollah as catspaw, etc.
The Saudis have believed that the Iranians intend to destroy them at least since crazy Juhayman’s takeover of the Great Mosque at Mecca (and, no, the Volgi hasn’t yet read Trofimov’s book, though he researched the siege extensively many years ago and at least at that point, many Saudis suspected it was an Iranian ploy backing indigenous Saudi radicals).
Gormogon readers have surely notedwith the depth of bigotry between Sunni and Shiite Iraqis. Take your Volgi’s word, it pales between the hatred the Saudis and the Iranians have for each other, for a whole spectrum of reasons: religious (obviously), geopolitical (whose Gulf is it anyway?), even cultural—snobbish Persian sophisticates vs. Clampettesque bumpkin arrivistes—etc. etc. etc.
Iranian hegemony over the Persian Gulf—their ability to close the Straits of Hormuz—is only deterred by the U.S. Navy, and if Iran gains an upper hand in the Gulf, the Saudis’ ability to get much of their oil (particularly from the oil-rich Eastern Provinces) to world markets is destroyed (at least temporarily). Ra’s Tanura, which was at one point (and still may be) the world’s largest oil port, and other Gulf termini don’t even have to be attacked by Iran, which can simply keep tankers from getting in and out. This threat is potentially mortal to Saudi Arabia. And, as said, they hate the Persians going back decades—if not longer.
So, Israel and the Saudis, allies of convenience? Why not? One might even see a slight dip in anti-Semitic religious propaganda out of Riyadh—though perhaps more likely would be a CYA uptick to keep their street cred (probably with back-channel apologies to the Israelis). We shall see.
Don’t ask impertinent questions like that jackass Adept Lu.