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Iran accused Saudi Arabia of allowing Israel to use its territory in preparation for attacking Iranian nuclear sites. The allegation could not be independently confirmed, and the Saudis deny cooperating with the Israeli military.

 

The Israeli daily, the Jerusalem Post said reports that the Israeli military had established a base in Saudi Arabia originated with Iranian and Israeli news outlets. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Ha'aretz were among Israeli media carrying the reports credited to Fars, the semi-official Iranian news agency. The Fars report was also picked up by international outlets such as UPI. The reports said the Israeli base is about five miles from Tabuk in northwest Saudi Arabia.

 

The Islam Times said Israeli airplanes landed at an international airport and Israeli soldiers unloaded military equipment on 18 and 19 June. Saudi officials reportedly canceled commercial air traffic and, one traveler told the Islam Times, paid to put up passengers in nearby four-star hotels to prevent them from expressing anger. The report could not be independently corroborated.

 

June 25, 2010

 

 

Analysis and Forecast: Increasing Risk

 

Whether the reports are true or not, the fact that they came from the Iranian side will automatically mean that Shiites in the Eastern Province in Saudi Arabia will likely believe them. If Iran is indeed attacked, it is very likely that this will automatically lead to civil unrest in areas in Saudi Arabia with significant Shiite populations, mainly in the south and east. However, the greatest risk is in the oil-rich Eastern Province, which is close to other GCC states with significant Shiite populations, including Bahrain.