Saudi Arabia Won't Let Israel Cross Airspace To Attack Iran
U.S. officials have reportedly warned Israel that Saudi Arabia will support Iran should the Jewish state launch an attack on Tehran.
Analysts said Israel was keen to strike before Iran moves its uranium enrichment facilities, crucial to the development of nuclear weapons, to the heavily fortified Fordow facility.
Yedioth Ahronoth said American officials passed to Israel a message from Riyadh that reads: "Saudi Arabia would shoot down any Israeli aircraft in its airspace on their way to Iran."
Saudi Arabia has refused to recognise Israel since the state was founded in 1948.
In 2010, Saudi Arabia's UK envoy, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf, said: "It is illogical to allow the Israeli occupying force, with whom Saudi Arabia has no relations whatsoever, to use its airspace."
Israel strike jets would have to take lengthy detours to avoid Saudi airspace - either a northerly loop route via Turkey and Syria, or a more direct flight over Jordan andIraq.
Although the New York Times recently claimed that the Jordan-Iraq route was Israel's preferred option, it was not known whether Jordan would allow Israeli jets to fly through its airspace.
Israeli officials said the US is simply trying to dissuade Israel from launching a unilateral attack.
Many analysts still maintain that Saudi Arabia, which is equipped with American-made fighter jets, would allow Israel to cross its airspace, but only if the military operation is coordinated with the White House.
Barak remained unfazed by the Saudi threat saying it "will not change Israeli plans."