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Mideast Realignment: Could Iran Unite Arabs and Israelis?

Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2006

JERUSALEM -- When Israeli newspapers shook the newsstands in late September with word that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Saudi Arabian officials -- perhaps even the Saudi King -- had held face-to-face talks, not everyone was shocked at the revelation. The two countries have no formal relations. In fact, the official enmity is such that Saudi law, as that of most Arab states, bars anyone with a passport showing an Israeli stamp from entering the country. Still, a handful of Middle East observers were not surprised to hear of possible talks between Israel and the Kingdom. That's because they predict a major realignment will reshape this region.

The cause of this gradual but far-reaching political transformation is fear of Shiite Iran by Sunni Arabs. As a result, the traditional enemy of Arabs, Israel, could gradually begin developing a subtle but powerful alliance with Sunni Muslim regimes in the Arab world. ...

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