Press TV & The Times of London – 2010-06-14 00:46:21
‘Saudis to Allow Airspace for Iran War’
TEHERAN (June 12, 2010) — Saudi Arabia has reportedly launched a series of military maneuvers aimed at allowing Israeli jets to use the kingdom’s airspace for an aerial attack on Iranian nuclear sites.
US defense sources speaking on condition of anonymity told The Times on Sunday that Israel has been given overflight clearance by Saudi Arabia and is permitted to use northern Saudi airspace in the event of military confrontation with Iran.
To clear the way for Israeli bombers en route to Iran, Riyadh has reportedly been conducting tests to practice keeping its own jets out of harms way while ensuring that missile systems in the kingdom remain completely deactivated.
“The Saudis have given their permission for the Israelis to pass over and they will look the other way,” one US defense source said on Saturday.
“They have already done tests to make sure their own jets aren’t scrambled and no one gets shot down. This has all been done with the agreement of the [US] State Department,” he added.
Meanwhile, Arab sources reported that Saudi defense officials had made arrangements with Israel in case it decided to carry out its long-stalled military plans against Iran, stating that they both share a mutual hatred for the Iranian government and its nuclear activities.
For years, Israel has threatened to bomb Iran’s nuclear installations. However, the likelihood of any such attack has significantly increased due to Tel Aviv’s growing impatience with international sanctions, which have failed to change Tehran’s stance on its peaceful nuclear issue.
Dodging scrutiny over its own arsenal of up to 200 nuclear weapons, Israel accuses Iran of refining uranium for military purposes.
Iran, however, dismisses the allegation, saying its nuclear activities are solely aimed at peaceful energy production and under close supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Saudi Arabia Gives Israel Clear Skies to Attack Iranian Nuclear Sites
LONDON (June 12, 2010) — Saudi Arabia has conducted tests to stand down its air defences to enable Israeli jets to make a bombing raid on Iranâ€™s nuclear facilities, The Times can reveal.
In the week that the UN Security Council imposed a new round of sanctions on Tehran, defence sources in the Gulf say that Riyadh has agreed to allow Israel to use a narrow corridor of its airspace in the north of the country to shorten the distance for a bombing run on Iran.
To ensure the Israeli bombers pass unmolested, Riyadh has carried out tests to make certain its own jets are not scrambled and missile defence systems not activated. Once the Israelis are through, the kingdom’s air defences will return to full alert.
The Saudis have given their permission for the Israelis to pass over and they will “look the other way,” said a US defence source in the area. “They have already done tests to make sure their own jets arenâ€™t scrambled and no one gets shot down. This has all been done with the agreement of the [US] State Department.”
Sources in Saudi Arabia say it is common knowledge within defence circles in the kingdom that an arrangement is in place if Israel decides to launch the raid. Despite the tension between the two governments, they share a mutual loathing of the regime in Tehran and a common fear of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “We all know this. We will let them [the Israelis] through and see nothing,” said one.
The four main targets for any raid on Iran would be the uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz and Qom, the gas storage development at Isfahan and the heavy-water reactor at Arak. Secondary targets include the lightwater reactor at Bushehr, which could produce weapons-grade plutonium when complete.
The targets lie as far as 1,400 miles (2,250km) from Israel; the outer limits of their bombersâ€™ range, even with aerial refuelling. An open corridor across northern Saudi Arabia would significantly shorten the distance. An airstrike would involve multiple waves of bombers, possibly crossing Jordan, northern Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Aircraft attacking Bushehr, on the Gulf coast, could swing beneath Kuwait to strike from the southwest.
Passing over Iraq would require at least tacit agreement to the raid from Washington. So far, the Obama Administration has refused to give its approval as it pursues a diplomatic solution to curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Military analysts say Israel has held back only because of this failure to secure consensus from America and Arab states. Military analysts doubt that an airstrike alone would be sufficient to knock out the key nuclear facilities, which are heavily fortified and deep underground or within mountains.
However, if the latest sanctions prove ineffective the pressure from the Israelis on Washington to approve military action will intensify. Iran vowed to continue enriching uranium after the UN Security Council imposed its toughest sanctions yet in an effort to halt the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme, which Tehran claims is intended for civil energy purposes only. President Ahmadinejad has described the UN resolution as “a used handkerchief, which should be thrown in the dustbin.”
Israeli officials refused to comment yesterday on details for a raid on Iran, which the Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has refused to rule out. Questioned on the option of a Saudi flight path for Israeli bombers, Aharaon Zeevi Farkash, who headed military intelligence until 2006 and has been involved in war games simulating a strike on Iran, said: “I know that Saudi Arabia is even more afraid than Israel of an Iranian nuclear capacity.”
In 2007 Israel was reported to have used Turkish air space to attack a suspected nuclear reactor being built by Iranâ€™s main regional ally, Syria. Although Turkey publicly protested against the “violation” of its air space, it is thought to have turned a blind eye in what many saw as a dry run for a strike on Iranâ€™s far more substantial — and better-defended — nuclear sites.
Israeli intelligence experts say that Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan are at least as worried as themselves and the West about an Iranian nuclear arsenal.
Israel has sent missile-class warships and at least one submarine capable of launching a nuclear warhead through the Suez Canal for deployment in the Red Sea within the past year, as both a warning to Iran and in anticipation of a possible strike. Israeli newspapers reported last year that high-ranking officials, including the former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, have met their Saudi Arabian counterparts to discuss the Iranian issue.
It was also reported that Meir Dagan, the head of Mossad, met Saudi intelligence officials last year to gain assurances that Riyadh would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets violating Saudi airspace during the bombing run. Both governments have denied the reports.
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