Israeli, Saudi and Qatari defense officials held secret talks about Iran

IDF Chief of Staff reportedly met with senior Saudi and Qatari military officials in Egypt.

By World Israel News Staff

The IDF’s Chief of Staff met with senior officials from Gulf Arab states, some of which do not have diplomatic relations with Israel, in secret talks brokered by the U.S. aimed at forming a regional alliance to mitigate Iranian aerial threats, the Wall St. Journal reported on Sunday.

According to the Journal reported that IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi recently met with his Saudi counterpart, Fayyad bin Hamed al-Ruwaili, as well as military officials from Qatar in the coastal Egyptian city Sharm el-Sheikh.

Also present were military officials from Egypt, Jordan and Abraham accords members United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Saudi and Qatari participation is significant, as neither of the countries formally recognizes Israel.

According to the Journal, the officials agreed to share intelligence to warn each other of incoming Iranian aerial attacks, such as UAVs, via phone calls and digital communications.

Although the initial agreements made at the meeting are not official or binding, they signal a willingness from Gulf states to engage with and cooperate with Israel in order to contend with increasing Iranian aerial aggression.

The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) did not confirm or deny the meeting, only telling the paper in a statement that it “maintains a firm commitment to increasing regional cooperation and developing integrated air and missile defense architecture to protect our force and our regional partners.”

Iran “is the primary destabilizing factor across the Middle East,” CENTCOM spokesman Col. Joe Buccino said.

None of the other participating countries commented except for the UAE.

The UAE told the Journal that it was “not aware of any formal discussions relating to any such regional military alliance” and stressed that “it is not party to any regional military alliance or cooperation targeting any specific country.”