Although according to a report by Israels Haaretz Service a member of the Saudi royal family – Saudi envoy to the U.K. Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf – has since issued a denial and reiterated Saudi Arabia’s rejection of any violation of its territories or airspace, the UK Times Online reported saturday quoting an unnamed U.S. defense source that “In the week that the UN Security Council imposed a new round of sanctions on Tehran, defence sources in the Gulf say that Riyadh has agreed to allow Israel to use a narrow corridor of its airspace in the north of the country to shorten the distance for a bombing run on Iran.”
“To ensure the Israeli bombers pass unmolested, Riyadh has carried out tests to make certain its own jets are not scrambled and missile defence systems not activated. Once the Israelis are through, the kingdom’s air defences will return to full alert.”, continues the Times article.
“The Saudis have given their permission for the Israelis to pass over and they will look the other way,” said a US defence source in the area. “They have already done tests to make sure their own jets aren’t scrambled and no one gets shot down. This has all been done with the agreement of the [US] State Department.”
Sources in Saudi Arabia say it is common knowledge within defence circles in the kingdom that an arrangement is in place if Israel decides to launch the raid. Despite the tension between the two governments, they share a mutual loathing of the regime in Tehran and a common fear of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “We all know this. We will let them [the Israelis] through and see nothing,” said one.
The four main targets for any raid on Iran would be the uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz and Qom, the gas storage development at Isfahan and the heavy-water reactor at Arak. Secondary targets include the lightwater reactor at Bushehr, which could produce weapons-grade plutonium when complete.
The targets lie as far as 1,400 miles (2,250km) from Israel; the outer limits of their bombers’ range, even with aerial refuelling. An open corridor across northern Saudi Arabia would significantly shorten the distance. An airstrike would involve multiple waves of bombers, possibly crossing Jordan, northern Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Aircraft attacking Bushehr, on the Gulf coast, could swing beneath Kuwait to strike from the southwest.
The Times article goes on to note that “Passing over Iraq would require at least tacit agreement to the raid from Washington. So far, the Obama Administration has refused to give its approval as it pursues a diplomatic solution to curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Military analysts say Israel has held back only because of this failure to secure consensus from America and Arab states. ”
Both Israel and the United States have rattled sabers at Iran for years.
In January 2006 Hussein Sharifi, a retired Iranian military officer who served in the Iranian Imperial Army and Islamic Republic Army and now resides in the United States, in response to what had been even before then threatening comments and psychological warfare against Iran, wrote an article published by Payvands Iran News titled What is the response of Iran to the U.S. or Israelis threat? as an attempt to outline what Iran’s response would be to any attack on it’s territory by either Israel or the U.S.:
“We know they have a plan,” [said] Jamshid who has a political post in the Basij paramilitary organization, “We have many plans too. Every country has different plans for offense or defense of her country. A few months after the invasion of Iraq, George Bush, who was euphoric of his quick victory asked Donald Rumsfeld to devise a plan for attacking Iran. For this plan they needed the help of Iranians expatriates in the U.S.. We could get a great deal of intelligence regarding the American units and commanders, intentions, in addition to finding a lot about their structures and weaponries.”
When I asked them what Iran would do if the U.S. was serious in attacking Iranian nuclear sites, Hussein said, “Then they open hell’s gates towards themselves,” and smiled. When I asked him to elaborate more, he continued, “In the papers there is always talk about air attacks on Iranian installations by Israel or the U.S.
This type of psychological warfare is used to divert our attention. We know for a fact that no two Western wars are similar and we are sure that the Israelis would not risk an air attack. We know there are at least three possible scenarios of attacking these sites, including using their submarines in the Persian Gulf, commandos from the sea, or Mojahedin Khalgh trained in Israel and Azerbaijan to destroy the Bushehr nuclear power plant from the inside, but these are only plans.
We have even more plans for how to confront them as well. This is a game of chess and we have practiced many different scenarios.”
Ali, another revolutionary guard, smiled and responded, “We have indicated directly and indirectly that with the first bullet shot at Iran, the map of the Middle East will be changed forever. Many American puppet regimes and dictators will fall and there will never be a government like what is now in Israel. The Apartheid system in Israel will be dismantled and a democratic government which embraces Jews, Christians, and Moslems equally will come to power. Millions of Palestinians will return home and millions of European and American migrants will return back from Palestine to their countries.”
When I mentioned the immense firepower of the U.S. and the chemical, biological, and nuclear arsenal of Israel Hussein smiled and said, “We are ready, bring them on.” Then after chuckling he said, “We have our sensors in place in the U.S., Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, and most Arab countries. We know ahead of the time when they are coming, and since Mr. Bush has given American democracy along with the preemptive strike as the right of everybody in the world, we are going to use it and use it effectively. We are present in most of the military briefings of the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq. As soon as we see that it is imminent we hit them and hit them hard…
Whether the U.S. or Israel attacks us, we will consider it as Israeli attack since we know how much power they have over the U.S. political and decision-making system.” If the attack happens, that will trigger the nuclear efforts of Iran. We will definitely go underground and speed up nuclear weapon production, since there will be no choice except to have them and have them soon. Right now we do not need nuclear weapons which are a liability rather than an asset, because we do not have hostile enemy which we cannot smash when we want to. The country has been able to stand on its feet for the last 2,500 years and will do so in the future. Look at the last war we had with Iraq, which by the way, was shortest war we had during the last 200 years.”