SAUDI Arabia seems keen on signing a security pact with the United States, and normalisation of ties with Israel may well be a bargaining chip in this regard. The nature of agreement Riyadh wants to have with the United States is like the one Japan signed after World War II under which the US guaranteed military support in case Japan’s sovereignty was at risk.
On its part, the current US adminis-tration wants to build a case ahead of presidential elections in 2024, and a deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel may give it the material to do that. However, such an agreement is apparently hard to achieve.
Even if the US government, led by Joe Biden, agrees to the security pact, Congress is likely to block it, and a razor-thin division in Senate is not likely to be of any help. With China to counter on the global stage, the Americans do not seem too keen on getting invested in the Middle East.
Going soft on Israel would also force Saudi Arabia to face reaction within the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which will potentially weaken the strength of the Islamic world at large. There are conundrums one must consider.
Shahab Dad Baloch
Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2023