"Saudi Defense Minister, Prince Salman, was the guest last week of his American counterpart Leon Panetta and, in an unusual step, was also hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama. On the agenda: Iran and the unrest in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia's neighbor and the headquarters of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, the American naval power in the Persian Gulf.The number 3 man in the Saudi ruling house could soon move to the top. He is young and healthy - everything is relative - compared to his half-brother, King Abdullah, 89, and Crown Prince Nayef, 79. The Americans have been working hard for many years to foster ties with the Saudi security forces. The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, headed from 2001 to 2003 a delegation of advisors to the Saudi National Guard.
A thin veneer of stability purchased with oil money covers a well that threatens to swallow a thousand wealthy princes. In a population of 27 million people, 5.5 million do not have Saudi citizenship. The unemployment rate among young people in the kingdom is 30 percent and the literacy rate is only 80 percent.
That is the background to the interesting message directed at Israel through an article published by a Saudi general in the American military magazine Joint Force Quarterly. Since a senior officer, a brigadier general in the royal family, does not pretend not to have the authority to reflect the conservative stand of the regime and does not publish for his own amusement statements and conclusions with diplomatic significance, it seems that Saudi Arabia is thus hesitatingly and conditionally courting Israel.
The condition: that there be movement toward an agreement in the spirit of that promoted by Saudi King Abdullah. If Israel moves in this direction, he wrote as long as a decade ago, Saudi Arabia must express willingness for peace with Israel and influence the rest of the Arab world in this direction.
This time he went one step further. He praised President Shimon Peres and called for "encouraging Israelis, Palestinians and other Arabs to get to know each other at least initially over the Internet while discussing sports, photography and other common interests - including peace prospects."
The general-prince-Ph.d. is His Royal Highness Naef Bin Ahmed Al-Saud, who holds advanced degrees from Georgetown University and Cambridge. His military expertise: strategic planning and special operations, international diplomacy and cyber warfare. When he studied at the National Defense University in Washington D.C., among his classmates was Israel Air Force officer Zeev Snir, now a brigadier general in the IAF reserves, who, at the end of his studies was appointed the IAF's chief procurement officer and currently heads the security establishment's special means branch... (Continue, here)"....