Gulf Allies, Including Saudi Arabia, Provided Critical Intelligence on Planned Iranian Attack

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by Mohammed Omar

April 15, 2024April 15, 2024

Several Gulf nations, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, shared critical intelligence regarding Iranian plans to launch a large-scale attack against Israel. These valuable insights played a crucial role in the success of air defense measures that largely repelled the massive assault.


This secret collaboration has been an ongoing US-led effort, primarily aimed at formulating an informal military alliance to counter looming threats from Iran. Iran launched hundreds of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and drones at Israel over the weekend. However, by Sunday morning, Israeli Defense Forces, with support from the US and other allies, successfully neutralized some 99% of the incoming threats. The few that penetrated the defense shield caused minimal damage.


Jordan’s active part in thwarting drones travelling via its airspace was well documented. But for the first time, it was disclosed that the cooperative activity spanned across regions and included nations without any diplomatic relationship with Israel. According to cited officials, the successful interception of so many drones and missiles could be attributed to Arab nations sharing intelligence on Iran’s scheme and allowing the usage of their airspace, in addition to providing radar tracking.


The involvement of Saudi Arabia, along with other key Arab governments, remains a closely guarded secret.


It must be remembered that April 1 witnessed an alleged Israeli airstrike on a building near the Iranian embassy in Damascus, killing seven members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including two generals. This attack, representing an escalation in the constant conflict along Israel’s northern border, prompted Iran to swear retribution.


Reacting to Iran’s threat, US officials sought help from Arab governments regarding intelligence about Iran’s plans and for countering any potential attack.


At first, Arab governments were leery of assisting Israel due to fears of inciting direct conflict with Iran, facing potential repercussions, and the negative perception of appearing to assist Israel during its conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.


However, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates eventually assented to privately sharing information, while Jordan acquiesced to allow the US and other countries’ military aircraft to use its airspace. The Jordanian government also agreed to use its own jets for interception.


It is revealed that two days prior to the attack, Iranian officials informed Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states of their retaliation plan against Israel, including the attack profile and timing, enabling these nations to secure their own airspace. This information, shared with the US, was instrumental in formulating defense strategies for both the US and Israel.


As the Iranian attack became imminent, Washington authorized the deployment of aircraft and missile defense systems in the region, further coordinating defensive operations between Israel and Arab allies.


This path was fraught with diplomatic challenges, given Israel’s regional isolation, yet succeeded.


In the report, it was stated that launched missiles and drones were tracked in real-time, courtesy of radars in Persian Gulf countries through a US operations center in Qatar. This information was relayed to fighter jets from various countries, stationed over Jordan and elsewhere, and also warships and Israeli missile defense units.


A significant majority of the drones were eliminated mostly by Israeli and US fighters, with contributions from Jordanian, British, and French warplanes.


A high tension moment was experienced when over 100 Iranian ballistic missiles were headed simultaneously for Israel, yet a greater part of these were neutralized by the country’s air defense networks, both within and beyond its borders.


Assessments indicated that about half of the Iranian ballistic missiles either malfunctioned during launch or fell short of their Israeli targets.


Five missiles slipped through the defenses, causing minor damage at the Nevatim Air Base and a taxiway.


The struggle to create military cooperation between Israel and Sunni Arab states against Iran has been a long-term US project. However, formal military alliances are unattainable due to current political scenarios, leading the US to develop an informal regional air defense coalition.


The strategic realignment of Israel from the European theater to the US Central Command in 2021, in conjunction with the Abraham Accords in 2020, was a turning point.


Although clandestine cooperation is believed to exist between Israel and Saudi Arabia, the kingdom has voiced its unwillingness to establish formal ties until a Palestinian state is formed pursuant to a two-state solution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.


An Israeli official involved in the regional security cooperation effort agreed that it was the first time the alliance functioned at full throttle.


The eruption of conflict on October 7, instigated by a major cross-border attack on Israel by Hamas, resulted in 1,200 casualties, mostly civilians, and the abduction of 253 people to Gaza. The threat of a major regional war increases, further solidified by the Iranian assault, with western allies reportedly urging Israel to refrain from retaliation

Lawal AbdulSalam Olawale

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