Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secretly flew to Saudi Arabia to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo this past Sunday. Was it about coordinating an Iranian assassination?
Was a secret meeting between the United States Secretary of State, the prime minister of Israel, and the murderous Saudi Crown Prince a breakthrough between the two Middle Eastern nations with no official ties? Or was it the precursor to the assignation of Iran's top nuclear scientist and planning meeting for a full-scale attack on all of Iran's nuclear program(s)?
President Trump has been threatening to prevent Iran from ever getting its hands on nuclear weapons. Yet, experts expect them to reach the "break out" point in the nuclear program that would allow them to build nuclear weapons in 3 months or less, given their current weapons-grade uranium production.
The Saudi's and Israeli's may have been bitter enemies, but they both share a deep wariness of the danger Iran possess to both their existence. So a compromise and opening of relations between the two countries may become a reality. Neither nation can afford, much less the rest of the Sunni states in the middle-east region afford to allow Iran to become a nuclear weapons power.
The covert meeting between the three countries in the Saudi city of Neom on Sunday night was an "incredible achievement," Education Minister Yoav Gallant said in an interview with Israeli radio on Monday. The interview seemed to confirm the trip's reports despite a Saudi official's denial and Netanyahu's refusal to comment or confirm the meeting.
Education Minister Yoav Gallant, a member of Netanyahu's Likud Party, said in an Israeli Army radio interview…
"The fact that there was a meeting and it was disclosed to the public, even if half-officially for now, is very important in every respect."
The trip marked the first known meeting of an Israeli leader in Saudi Arabia. It reflects the emerging alliance between countries opposed to Iran and its version of Islam. Opposition to Iran is the cornerstone of President Donald Trump's Middle East strategy and has served as the impetus for a string of diplomatic deals between Arab states and Israel.
Discussions centered on issues including the normalization of ties and Iran, but no agreements were reached, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a senior Saudi government adviser it didn't name.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran's most prominent Iranian nuclear scientist, was seen as a driving force behind Tehran's disbanded effort to build a nuclear weapon nearly two decades ago was assassinated Friday outside Tehran. A targeted ambush may indicate the meeting in Saudi Arabia between Netanyahu, Pompeo, and Mohammed bin Salman was also about the assassination.
Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, described the attack on the scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, as the work of "state terror" and implicated Israel as having a possible role. However, it's more likely that the assassination was a coordinated strike using underground Iranian resistance forces.
The killing of Fakhrizadeh — on the road in Damavand east of Tehran — was the third high-profile attack to shake Tehran's leadership in less than a year. The Iranians have reason to believe they are in a war with Israel, the United States, and Saudi Arabia, even if it is a cold war at this point.
The Washington Post is reporting that…
"In January, a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad killed Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, Iran's most powerful military commander and head of its special-operations forces abroad. According to a U.S. official in August, Israeli agents acting on behalf of American officials assassinated a senior al-Qaeda official in Tehran."
"Fakhrizadeh was once at the pinnacle of Iran's nuclear program, including an effort to develop nuclear arms that U.S. intelligence says was scrapped in 2003. But his latest role was less directly involved in Iran's nuclear sites, including an energy-producing reactor and extensive centrifuge labs to enrich uranium."
"While Fakhrizadeh had been a key figure in Iran's bomb program, "that work is all in the past, and there is no reason to expect that if Fakhrizadeh is gone, it would have any effect on Iran's current nuclear program," said Paul Pillar, a 28-year veteran of the CIA and a senior fellow at Georgetown University's Center for Security Studies."
"Still, the attack showed apparent holes in Iran's security and intelligence networks — nearly a decade after a spate of targeted bombings and gun ambushes killed at least four people with links to Iran's nuclear program."
Top Iranian nuclear scientist assassinated near Tehran