Pompeo: Saudis, Israelis Working Together

Pompeo: Saudis, Israelis Working Together
CIA Director Mike Pompeo has confirmed Israel has been working with Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Muslim-majority Arab countries to combat Islamist terrorism.

According to a report from The Jerusalem Post, Israel and Saudi Arabia—and other Sunni Muslim-majority Arab countries—have been working together on an anti-terrorism initiative.

The article quotes CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who said:

"We’ve seen [the Saudis] work with the Israelis to push back against terrorism throughout the Middle East, to the extent we can continue to develop those relationships and work alongside them—the Gulf states and broader Middle East will likely be more secure."

According to the article, former CIA Director and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta urged the Sunni states to join with Israel, the U.S., and Turkey to form a “joint operations center”—what previous reports have likened to a “Middle East NATO”—to directly confront Islamist terror groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, as well as Iran. He said:

"It is incredibly important that in the Middle East, where we have failed states, where you have ISIS, where you have Iran, that we have got to develop a stronger coalition of countries that are willing to work together to confront these challenges. The US can’t do it on our own, obviously the Saudis can’t do it on their own, these other countries can’t do it on their own. But together in some kind of coalition of countries—of Arab countries working with the US, working with Israel, working with Turkey, to build a strong coalition that can operate—frankly I think with a joint military headquarters that can target the terrorists in that region, that can basically work together to try to provide stability where is necessary in these countries."

While Israeli officials have confirmed cooperation with Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries, the Sunni states have been reluctant to admit they are cooperating with the Jewish state.

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