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The New Arab

Saudi Arabia and Arab allies 'band together with Israel' in joint intelligence force

Twenty one countries are taking part in the Amman-based intelligence force [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 October, 2018

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The first show of public cooperation between the two powers, Israel has joined a multi-national intelligence force to fight IS alongside prominent Arab adversaries
Israel is taking part in a multi-national intelligence force, based in the Jordanian capital, alongside Arab powers Saudi Arabia, Egypt and UAE in order to quash the Islamic State group, Israeli newspaper Maariv reported on Saturday.

The task force is constituted of intelligence personnel and special units from 21 countries, who are sharing intelligence information related to the militant organisation, said Yossi Melman, Maariv's intelligence correspondent, quoting the French website ‘Intelligence Online’.

According to the website, the force includes officers from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE and Egypt working alongside Israel, the US, the UK, France, Italy and others.

Named “Operation Gallant Phoenix”, the international force is the first ever public show of military cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia, despite many observers believing there has been covert cooperation between the two powers for many years.

Milman said the Saudi Army chief of staff Fayyad bin Hamad al-Rawaili, met one-to-one with his Israeli counterpart Gadi Eisenkot during a meeting of military heads in Washington last week.

Milman added that Mossad  chief Yossi Cohen had already taken part in a conference in New York discussing means of confronting Iran, alongside the Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir. He pointed out that Israeli weapons dealers, cyber experts and security strategists had made covert visits to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain recently.

Milman also said that Israel’s participation in the multi-national force alongside the Arab countries serves as recognition of Tel Aviv’s ability to provide accurate and important intelligence.

He also pointed out that Jordan is fast becoming the centre for the multi-national force working against IS, after the group’s rise to prominence in neighbouring Syria, adding that Amman’s role reflects the depth of cooperation and long-running ties between Jordan and the West.

Milman added that Jordan and Israel have cooperated in security, military, and intelligence issues for decades, pointing out that Israeli and Jordanian air forces have been taking part in joint military exercises.

He also said that during Eiskenkot has met a number of Arab military leaders during his tenure as Israel’s military chief-of-staff.

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