An earlier version of this paper was presented at the June 8-9, 2009 conference entitled “Israel and the Arab States: Parallel Interests, Relations, and Strategies,” jointly held in Jerusalem by the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. Members of the new Israeli government have entertained the notion of an Israeli-Arab realignment vis-a-vis Iran. This article argues that such hopes are bound to be disappointed. They rest on a Realist understanding of Middle East international politics that fails to take into account the role domestic considerations and identity politics play in foreign policy decisionmaking. While Riyadh is undisputedly concerned about Iranian power projection in the region, improved relations with a U.S. administration that is more open to its concerns and an increasingly diverse set of international security links mean that it does not feel the need to endanger domestic and regional legitimacy by openly engaging Israel without any perceived progress along the parameters outlined in the Abdallah initiative of 2002.
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