The enemy of my enemy is my friend, so says an ancient Indian proverb. This ancient proverb lays the foundation for what might seem as an incredible alliance between Israel and the Saudis. Iran’s ascendancy in the entire middle east — something which both the Saudis, and especially the Israelis — poses a serious, if not existential, threat to both countries. The increasing role in Iraqi politics, and the Iraqi military, that Iran’s Republican Guards is playing poses a clear threat to the region.
If Iran can turn the Iraqi government into a puppet, which it appears to becoming more and more likely, they will dominate the entire Euphrates river valley, but they will also have a tremendous corner on the oil market. There are estimates that Iraq has up to 300 billion barrels in oil reserves (both proven and unproven estimates); Global Fire Power puts Iran in 4th place in terms of proven oil reserves at over 150 billion barrels of oil. With the growth of fracking in the US, estimates of American oil reserves have seemingly exploded. Nevertheless, the combined total of Iran & Iraqi oil reserves is enlightening as there is more to power than simply military might, which the Iranians recognized over the past couple of years, coming out on the short end of some rather serious economic sanctions — a very apt demonstration of economic power. After President Obama’s nuclear deal, and the dropping of the sanctions, estimates range as high $33 Billion that the US alone gave to Iran! There is nothing like being on the short end of this type of economic stick to teach an opponent the demonstration of power. Combine the rising economic potential that Iran is gaining in the middle east with the exportation of their Republican Guards and all of the military support to Hezbollah, the Houti rebels in Yemen, and the Syrians — and a very clear threat emerges.
For Riyadh and Tel Aviv, an Iran flush with cash and an improving economic infrastructure, the question of working together hardly needs to be asked. Rather, its more how can they work together, not whether they should. The one obvious issue in the midst of this is the Palestinians, and what to do with them. However, it’s becoming more and more apparent that the Saudis would rather see the Israelis with them against the Iranians than they would the Palestinians with them against the Israelis–viewed in this light, it’s a no-brainer.