Title: Saudi Arabia Pursues Military Pact with the US in Exchange for Opening Ties with Israel
Subtitle: Potential Defense Agreement Aims to Strengthen Saudi Security and Diplomatic Ties
McCreary County Record – In a significant move towards reshaping Middle East alliances, Saudi Arabia is actively seeking a military pact with the United States, which would require the US to defend the kingdom, while simultaneously opening ties with Israel. Although the proposed pact may not resemble the NATO-style defense guarantee initially sought, it could resemble agreements currently in place between the US and Asian countries or Bahrain.
Saudi Arabia, not willing to settle for anything less than binding assurances of US protection, is particularly determined to secure such guarantees following the missile strikes on its oil facilities in 2019. The defense pact between Saudi Arabia and Israel would signify a diplomatic victory for President Joe Biden, bringing together two long-time foes. However, the Palestinians’ aspirations for an independent state may not be fully addressed, despite potential easing of some Israeli restrictions.
To secure the proposed pact with the US, Saudi Arabia has made compromises, including shelving its plans for civilian nuclear technology. The US State Department has indicated a broad understanding of a pathway towards normalization between the countries, but specific details regarding the defense pact have not been disclosed.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed support for a peace agreement with Saudi Arabia; however, he faces opposition from far-right coalition parties that reject concessions to the Palestinians. Meanwhile, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) of Saudi Arabia is seeking commitments from Israel to demonstrate his continued support for a two-state solution.
The potential US-Israeli-Saudi alliance also holds implications beyond the Middle East. It could serve as a counterbalance to China’s growing influence in the region, especially after Beijing brokered a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Saudi Arabia’s prior courtship of China was a calculated move to create anxiety and encourage the US to re-engage with the region, seemingly yielding positive results.
Although the proposed defense pact between Saudi Arabia and the US holds potential for strengthening regional security and diplomatic ties, gaining support from lawmakers in the US Congress remains a challenge. Both Republicans and Democrats have previously voiced criticisms and concerns regarding Saudi Arabia’s actions and policies.
As developments unfold, the world watches with anticipation to see how this potential military pact will shape the geopolitical landscape in the Middle East and beyond. The outcome of these negotiations could have far-reaching effects on regional stability and global power dynamics.
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