Biden Trying To Broker Huge Deal Between US, Israel, And Saudi Arabia

It would complete the re-alignment of the Middle East along new lines.

Written by Jack Elbaum

What’s happening: Over the past few months, chatter about a possible deal between the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia has been heating up. According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have agreed on the “broad contours” of such a deal, which is expected to be finalized within the next nine to 12 months.

Zoom in: The deal would entail normalization and the establishment of diplomatic ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis would also have to distance themselves from China.

  • What else?: In exchange, the U.S. would likely provide a security guarantee against Iran to Saudi Arabia and Israel while giving the Saudis the go-ahead for a supervised civilian nuclear program and advanced weapons.

  • On the other side: Israel would have to agree to substantive concessions to the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank, in order to preserve the possibility of a two-state solution. (Saudi Arabia would face backlash from other Arab countries without it.) Depending on what the proposed concessions were, some predict that Israel may not agree to this

What’s in it for America? The U.S. is pursuing this deal to gain displace China’s diplomatic influence in the region, isolate Iran, and put pressure on Israel’s right-wing government. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, wants to ensure the U.S. stands firmly in its corner with respect to the threats posed by Iran.

  • Notable: Israel is eager for a deal because a better relationship with Saudi Arabia, as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman notes, “would open the way for peace between Israel and the whole Muslim world.” But the potential concessions with Palestinians could also fracture the country’s right-wing coalition.

Why this matters: A re-alignment of the Middle East along new lines, most simply characterized by those who are pro-Iran or anti-Iran, is happening. The Abraham Accords, in which Israel normalized relations with United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco, began the formal shift. However, Israel-Saudi Arabia normalization would complete it.

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