Yedioth Achronoth reports thatÂ Saudi Arabia has informed Israel that it would shoot down any Air Force aircraft crossing its airspace en route to Iran.
The warning was relayed via the United States, during talks with Obama administration officials in Jerusalem.
Senior Israeli officials have claimed that the Americans are leveraging the Saudi threat in an attempt to dissuade Israel from launching a unilateral offensive on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Some sources estimate that Saudi Arabia, which is equipped with American-made fighter jets, would have allowed Israel to cross its airspace if the latter would have coordinated its military operation with the White House.
The New York Times has claimed that Israel will prefer to use a direct route that passes over Jordan and Iraq. Foreign commentators have estimated that the Jordanians will turn a blind eye, yet others have said that Amman might consider the act a breach of its peace accord with Israel. Two other possible routes are over Turkey and Syria, or a longer route along the Red Sea.
While Washington is trying to stall any military attack against Iran, The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the United States was pushing its Gulf allies to set up a regional missile defense system aimed at protecting strategic areas including military bases and infrastructure from an Iranian attack.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told representatives from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that the more can be done “to defend the gulf through cooperation on ballistic missile defense.
“Sometimes to defend one nation effectively you might need a radar system in a neighboring nation,” she said, adding, “But it’s the cooperation – it’s what they call ‘interoperability’ – that we now need to really roll up our sleeves and get to work on.”