LONDON: Saudi Arabia has conducted tests to disable its air defences to enable Israeli jets to make a bombing raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
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.
“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 aren’t scrambled and no one gets shot down. This has all been done with the agreement of the (US) State Department.”
Once the Israelis are through, the kingdom’s air defences will return to full alert.
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.
Riyadh denied the report yesterday, calling it “false” and “slanderous,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.
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. The targets lie as far as 2,250km from Israel. An open corridor across northern Saudi Arabia would significantly shorten the distance.
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.
THE TIMES & AFP