Israel and Saudi Arabia are in full agreement about Iran's intentions, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot tells Elaph, noting the two states have never fought each other.
A Saudi newspaper published an unprecedented interview on Thursday with the Israeli military chief, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot. It marks the first time any senior Israel Defense Forces officer, let alone the chief of staff, has been interviewed by a media organization in Saudi Arabia, which does not have diplomatic ties with Israel.
In the interview to the Saudi online newspaper Elaph, Eisenkot called Iran the “real and largest threat to the region.” He said Israel and Saudi Arabia are in complete agreement about Iran's intentions.
He also noted that Israel and Saudi Arabia have never fought each other.
Eisenkot said that Israel's military situation has never been better. He said that was why it is “highly regarded by the moderate countries in the region.”
Israel's military chief accused Iran of trying to destabilize the region by building weapons factories and supplying advanced arms to guerilla and terrorist organizations across the Middle East.
“Iran seeks to take control of the Middle East, creating a Shi'ite crescent from Lebanon to Iran and then from the [Persian] Gulf to the Red Sea.”
“We must prevent this from happening,” he added.
Eisenkot said Israel has no intention of initiating an attack on Hezbollah in Lebanon. “We see Iranian attempts at bringing about an escalation, but I don't see a high chance for this at the moment.”
He cautioned, however, that local flare-ups could “lead to a broad strategic conflict.”
The interview follows the news that broke two weeks ago of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s tumultuous resignation, and the wave of arrests of Saudi princes, ministers and businessmen – along with direct public threats by Saudi Arabia, and Israel aimed at Iran and Hezbollah.
Eisenkot also commented on the Middle East policies of the American and Russian governments. He said he welcomed U.S President Donald Trump’s announcement that it is necessary to put an end to the Iranian ballistic missile program and Iran’s growing hold in Syria and Iraq.
“I view it as hope for the region,” he said.