Israeli National News is reporting that a member of the Saudi Royal family visited the State of Israel in secret to discuss advancing regional peace between the Jewish state and the Arab world. Various sources have identified the Saudi royal as Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the Defense Minister of Saudi Arabia and heir apparent to the throne. To be sure, some of the discussions involved an effort to revive peace talks with the Palestinians. However, a couple of other reasons exist for an Israel Saudi Arabian rapprochement.

The Iranian threat

The threat posed by Iran, with its support for terrorism and its pursuit of a nuclear arsenal, has focused the Arab Gulf States on where their interests actually reside. The long war with Israel has not brought the Arab states any benefits, indeed quite to the contrary. When Barack Obama was still president, he pursued a fantastically ill-advised attempt at establishing détente with the Islamic Republic of Iran. At that point, the Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia, started to reach out to Israel to create a secret alliance of convenience. Israeli military power and Saudi money and the geographic position have become a potent counter weight against Iran’s drive to reestablish the Persian Empire in the Middle East.

An economic alliance in a post-OPEC world

The other development that is driving Israel and the Gulf States together is the end of OPEC dominance in the Oil And Gas markets. The fracking boom has free the United States from dependence on oil and gas imports and has made that country a net fossil fuel exporter. The growth of renewable energy is also bound to cut into market share for petroleum products.

Hence, Saudi Arabia and the other Arab Gulf States are moving into technology investments as a way to keep their economies potent. Oddly enough, Israel has become a kind of Middle Eastern Silicon Valley, with a host of high tech start-ups sprouting up. Saudi money married to Israeli expertise is a natural arrangement that could cause a boom of prosperity to arise in the region.

The bottom line

Naturally, the initial steps for such an alliance have to be taken gingerly and clandestinely. Hatred of Israel has become engrained in the cultures of many of her Middle Eastern neighbors. If the populations of the Arab states are suddenly called upon to regard the Israelis as friends, the process may be a little wrenching for some. Most remember the price that Egyptian President Anwar Sadat paid for making peace with Israel, which was to be assassinated by his own troops. Neither Crown Prince bin Salman nor anyone else wants to be a martyr for peace.