The ‘strange’ relationship between Saudi Arabia and Israel
In the aftermath of the signing of the historic Iranian nuclear deal, the entire Middle East region was filled with mixed moods. A situation that has led to a rapid and predictable redefinition of the system of intra-regional alliances and balances. In this context of full changeability and complexity, what for years appeared to be one of the most unlikely situations, namely the establishment of an Israeli-Saudi axis, has taken place. Although the two countries do not maintain official diplomatic relations, in recent years Tel Aviv and Riyadh have embarked on a common path of rapprochement, guided and aimed solely at containing the Iranian threat. According to justinshoes, the reciprocal tensions with the American ally were inserted to favor this passage, increasingly oriented towards favoring a detente with Iran and guaranteeing a moderate reintegration of the same into the international community. The long months of negotiations on Iranian nuclear power convinced Israel and Saudi Arabia to make their anti-Iranian position public, speaking in April 2015 at an official debate organized by the USA Council on Foreign Relations think tank. On that occasion, the director of the Israeli foreign ministry, Dore Gold, and the retired general and former adviser to Saudi prince Bandar bin Sultan, Anwar Majed Eshki, held a firm official position against the possible nuclear deal, motivating it as a threat. to the internal security of the two countries and of the entire region. What is configured as an alliance of convenience, not devoid of contradictions, could therefore only be the first step in a chain reaction in Middle Eastern political relations.
Tensions in the al-Saud family
Although in continuity with the dynastic tradition, which saw in the succession to the throne only the sons of the founder of the national state Abdul Aziz al-Saud, the appointment of Salman as the new Saudi ruler represented an important turning point in the delicate balance within the family real. Indeed, the late King Abdullah’s previous choice to point to Muqrin (former intelligence chiefnational) as his successor to the throne, preferring it to the more quoted Salman, had favored an encystment of some cracks that had already emerged in the numerous royal family, again on matters of inheritance. On the one hand, the family branch linked to the so-called ‘seven Sudairi’, that is the restricted clan of the seven children of the founder of the Saudi state and of which Salman himself belongs, on the other hand, the ‘new generations’ represented by former heir to the throne Muqrin and the princes Turki al-Faisal and Talal bin Abdul Aziz. Even if for the moment Salman’s faction seems to have emerged victorious from this clash, it is not excluded that new frictions may arise in the near future. establishment, effectively opening a season of political instability.
The plight of the Saudi Shiites and the al-Nimr case
There are about 2.5 million Shiites in Saudi Arabia, of Arab origin and mostly of the duodec-hand rite (or Imamite), like the Iranian Shiites. This community lives in the east of the country, in the Eastern Province, a territory rich in oil resources that overlooks the Persian Gulf exactly opposite the Iranian coast. Since the Khomeinist revolution in Iran in 1979, the attitude of the Saudi authorities towards them has always been suspicious, for the fear that the local Shiites were a sort of ‘fifth column’ in the service of Tehran. A condition, this, exasperated also by the conceptions of the ulema, who have always defined the Saudi Shiites rawafidh (deniers), as they are considered apostates. With the onset of the Arab Springs in 2011, the condition of profound political marginalization and social inequality of the Shiite community became more acute, so much so that many Shiite activists took to the streets to denounce their ‘discrimination’ from public and political life. national. Faced with the increase in minority claims, the central government first declared the demonstrations of dissent illegal, then refused dialogue and, finally, repressed all forms of opposition. The arrest, which took place on July 8, 2012, and the execution of one of the main Shiite dissidents in the Saudi government, the religious Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, falls within this context.