Secret cahoots more likely with Jordan than Turkey

Analysts find it difficult to believe that Turkey would cooperate with Israel on any attack on Iran or anything seen as facilitating one.

April 23, 2013 02:39
2 minute read.
Jordan King Abdullah

Jordan King Abdullah 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Two recent unconfirmed reports that Israel is secretly cooperating with Jordan and Turkey to safeguard its regional interests do not necessarily mean anything. The Sunday Times reported that Jerusalem will offer Ankara advanced defense systems in return for use of the Akinci air base for Israel Air Force training for a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. And Le Figaro reported that Israel has an open skies agreement with Jordan to fly drones over its airspace and into Syria, in order to monitor developments and attack if necessary.

Analysts find it difficult to believe that Turkey would cooperate with Israel on any attack on Iran or anything seen as facilitating one. The main reason behind such thinking is that the Islamist government of Turkey is fundamentally at odds with Israel from an ideological standpoint, and any cooperation in aiding an attack by Israel on a Muslim country seems highly unlikely.

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The rumor regarding secret military cooperation with Jordan seems more likely, as there have been a number of reports regarding such cooperation in the past, as well as one about a secret visit by Israeli leader Binyamin Netanyahu to Jordan for a meeting with King Abdullah II earlier this year.

Richard Weitz, a senior fellow and director for the Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute, told The Jerusalem Post, “I do not consider these rumors credible. They remind me of those false reports about Azerbaijan agreeing to let Israel use its bases for an attack on Iran.”

On the subject of possible cooperation between Israel and Sunni Arab states against Iran, Weitz does not rule out any covert cooperation, but definitely does not see any Arab country openly cooperating with Israel.

“No Arab government would openly support such an attack, and many would fear its regional consequences,” he said.

Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Post, “The idea that the Israelis are working with the Turks on an intervention in Iran does not seem likely, but I do not rule it out completely.”

He said that he did not know if the rumor about covert Israel- Jordan cooperation on Syria was true, but it seemed possible.

“We know the Israelis and the Jordanians have close cooperation, more than most people realize. They see their fates as intertwined.”

King Abdullah is feeling threatened by the Arab uprisings, and the Islamist opposition in the country has been increasingly bold.

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s visit and the closing of a major arms deal for advanced weaponry that could aid an Israeli attack on Iran, along with statements that Israel can decide for itself whether to attack, were seen as concrete evidence that Israel has a stronger credible threat against Iran. Hagel’s visit could represent a green light for an Israeli attack on Iran.

Asked about this, Schanzer said he is not sure that this was a green light, but said, “If the US is not willing to join Israel in military operations, my understanding is that the Israelis will turn to the US for what has been described to me as “the shopping list,” in order to pull off a successful operation.”

“The US may be seeing this as a compromise to help Israel prepare, not only militarily, but also psychologically,” he said, insinuating that Iran is getting the message.

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