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Saudi Arabia has rejected media reports that it will allow Israel to use its air space to pound Iranian nuclear facilities.

 

According to a statement issued by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Riyadh has never permitted Israel to use its airspace to launch air strikes against Iran.

 

"Saudi Arabia has noticed some false claims in some sections of the British media that it has permitted Israel to launch attacks on Iran using its airspace," The Daily Times quoted the statement, as saying.

 

The statement further added that Saudi Arabia has a clear strategy of not allowing any country to use either its airspace or its soil against any other nation.

 

The London Times newspaper had reported that following the UN Security Council's imposition of new sanctions on Tehran, Saudi Arabia had agreed to allow Israel to use a narrow corridor of its airspace to shorten the distance for any bombing.

 

June 12, 2010

 

 

Analysis and Forecast: Increasing Risk

 

Despite the Saudi denial, the news will have been picked up and will likely be used by both Shiites in the Kingdom as well as Al Qaeda supporters. If Israel does indeed strike Iran, the already alienated Shiite population in Saudi’s Eastern Province will likely fiercely rise to express their opposition to the alleged Saudi complicity in the attack. In addition, Al Qaeda will use this as evidence that the Saudi regime is conspiring against fellow Muslims, even if the target this time is Shiite Iranians. Therefore regardless of the truth of the report, it is likely that it will strengthen opponents of the Saudi regime, both Sunni and Shiite and will likely bring them closer together, particular if Iran is attached by Israel. This will threaten the stability of the Kingdom, include the oil-rich Eastern Province, which is inhabited by a large Shiite population.

 

Saudi Arabia has therefore found itself in a very precarious situation, having to express opposition to its traditional opponent Iran very carefully to avoid an internal backlash.