'Saudis would agree to IAF flyovers'

Sunday Times: Mossad chief gets Saudi nod for possible attack on Iran; Israel denies report.

meir dagan 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
meir dagan 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Mossad head Meir Dagan assured Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that Saudi Arabia would allow IAF jets to fly over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran's nuclear facilities, The Sunday Times reported. The British paper reported that Dagan held talks with Saudi officials earlier this year on the topic. However, the Prime Minister's Office issued an official denial on Sunday morning, saying the report was "completely false and baseless." The Israeli media has already carried unconfirmed reports that high-ranking officials, including former prime minister Ehud Olmert, held meetings with Saudi officials, but the kingdom has denied the reports. "The Saudis have tacitly agreed to the Israeli air force flying through their airspace on a mission which is supposed to be in the common interests of both Israel and Saudi Arabia," a diplomatic source was quoted in the Times as saying. While Israel has no formal diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, an Israeli source confirmed that the Mossad had "working relations" with the Saudis. Former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, who recently visited the Gulf, said it was "entirely logical" for the Israelis to use Saudi airspace. Bolton, who has talked to a number of Arab leaders, added: "None of them would say anything about it publicly, but they would certainly acquiesce in an overflight if the Israelis didn't trumpet it as a big success." Arab states would publicly condemn a raid when they spoke at the UN, but would be privately relieved to see the threat of an Iranian bomb removed, Bolton said. Referring to the attack on an alleged Syrian nuclear facility in 2007 that Israel is rumored to have launched, Bolton added: "To this day, the Israelis haven't admitted the specifics but there's one less nuclear facility in Syria . . ." A former head of research in Israeli intelligence told the Times that "the Saudis are very concerned about an Iranian nuclear bomb, even more than the Israelis."