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Potentially Historic Security Agreement Nears Between U.S. and Saudi Arabia

U.S. and Saudi Arabia agreement

The United States and Saudi Arabia are reportedly on the verge of finalizing a historic bilateral agreement, a key priority for President Joe Biden.

This agreement would mark the beginning of a parallel effort to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, with serious implications for regional dynamics.

A meeting between National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, made substantial progress toward this goal.

U.S. and Saudi Arabia agreement would mark the beginning of a parallel effort

The draft agreement, described by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs as “nearly final,” encompasses several components. Firstly, it includes defense guarantees and civil nuclear cooperation between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, aimed at strengthening ties despite growing Chinese influence in the Middle East.

Secondly, it seeks to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, contingent upon addressing the Palestinian issue and achieving a two-state solution.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the importance of calming tensions in Gaza and establishing a credible pathway to a Palestinian state as prerequisites for this component of the agreement.

Given the humanitarian toll on Palestinians in Gaza, Saudi Arabia has insisted on prioritizing Palestinian self-rule in both the West Bank and Gaza.

However, challenges remain, particularly regarding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stance on a Palestinian state. Netanyahu’s domestic political crisis and pressure from coalition members add complexity to the situation.

Some right-wing ministers in Israel advocate for settlement expansion and control over the West Bank and Gaza, complicating negotiations.

In the U.S., there is pressure to finalize the deal before the end of the Congressional calendar. Democrats, skeptical of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, may scrutinize the agreement, while Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, a Trump ally, has been advocating for it.

The potential agreement builds on the framework of the Trump-era Abraham Accords but expands to include Saudi Arabia. While President Trump could pursue a similar deal if re-elected in 2024, it may face Democratic opposition.

Trump has highlighted his regional legacy during his 2024 presidential campaign, suggesting continued interest in Middle East diplomacy.

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