Israel is ready to exchange intelligence information with Saudi Arabia to confront Iran, says Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot.
“Under US President Donald Trump there is an opportunity to form a new international alliance in the region. We need to carry out a large, comprehensive strategic plan to stop the Iranian threat,” Eisenkot told Saudi newspaper Elaph, according to an article in the Jerusalem Post published on Thursday.
“We are ready to exchange experiences with Saudi Arabia and other moderate Arab countries and exchange intelligence information [to] confront Iran,” Eisenkot said, adding that “there are many shared interests between us and Saudi Arabia.”
The IDF official stressed that expanding Iranian influence is seen as a major concern for both Israel and Saudi Arabia.
“The Iranian plan is to control the Middle East by means of two Shi’ite crescents,” Eisenkot told Elaph. “The first being from Iran through Iraq to Syria and Lebanon and the second across the Gulf from Bahrain to Yemen to the Red Sea. We must stop that from happening.”
In regards to Iranian interests in the region, he said, “there is complete agreement between us and Saudi Arabia.”
Eisenkot specifically highlighted Israeli demands that Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed forces leave Syria – a condition that Russia agreed to work towards in a joint statement issued with the US last weekend.
“Our demand is that Iran, Hezbollah and other Iranian militias leave Syria,” he said. “We have said it publicly that we will not accept the Iranian position in Syria in general, and especially their position west of the Damascus-Suwayda road. We will not allow any Iranian presence.”
The joint US-Russia statement on Syria, issued after Trump breifly interacted with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his trip to Asia, included a commitment from both sides to the elimination of non-Syrian foreign forces operating in the country.