Hezbollah Says Israel Is Training Saudi Forces

Saudi troops

The deputy chief of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement has said that Israel is training Saudi military forces under the framework of clandestine relations between the two countries.

The senior official, Sheikh Naim Qassem told Lebanese media that Dozens of Saudi military officers are being trained after secret contacts developed into military cooperation.

He said that the secret relations between Riyadh and Jerusalem led to the Saudi decision, as part of the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council, to classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

Press TV reports:

“The Saudis are currently fulfilling the cycle of the Israeli project in public and secret meetings,” Sheikh Qassem was reported as saying.

The cleric touched on Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir’s remarks earlier this month after Egypt transferred control of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.

Jubeir said Riyadh “will honor all of Egypt’s legal and international commitments in regard to the two islands,” in a clear reference to Cairo’s commitments to Israel.

Under the Camp David Accords, signed between Egypt and Israel in 1979, Cairo has undertaken to guarantee freedom of navigation for Israeli ships in the area.

Egypt transferred the sovereignty of the strategic Tiran and Sanafir islands in the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia earlier this month.

Sheikh Qassem said Saudi Arabia “has for years avoided providing aid to the Palestinian resistance or the Palestinian people, and has not cooperated with Iran regarding the interests of the region and its stability.”

Saudi Arabia’s hostile move against Hezbollah and Beirut, including its withdrawal of a $4-billion aid pledge, came after Lebanese Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil refused to back a motion crafted by the kingdom against Iran.

However, some countries fell in line, including Sudan which broke diplomatic relations with Iran.

Later on January 21, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour raised eyebrows, when he said at a conference that “the matter of normalized relations with Israel is something that can be looked into.”

The remarks came three days after Israeli foreign ministry director-general Dore Gold said Israel has contacts with “almost every Arab state.”

On Sunday, the Jerusalem Post wrote that “rather than being isolated, Israel is being incorporated into the Saudi-led orbit.”

“Part of this includes the opening of a mission in Abu Dhabi and increasing contacts in the (Persian) Gulf States,” it said.

“The Saudi-led initiative has its pedigree. During the second intifada Saudi Arabia led a peace plan to grant Israel recognition in the region if Israel withdrew from the West Bank and Gaza,” the paper went on to say.

“In June 2015 the Saudis also told Israelis at the Council on Foreign Relations in the US that Iran was a common enemy,” it added.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Saudi-led states want Israel to help them confront Iran.