US President Joe Biden is set to visit both Saudi Arabia and Israel, with many speculating that a normalization deal between the two Middle East regimes will be top on the agenda. According to all signs that we have received, is there any indication that Riyadh will sign a normalization deal with Tel Aviv & what will this mean?
On Wednesday, Joe Biden is scheduled to fly to Tel Aviv, where he will meet Israeli leaders, before heading off to Riyadh in order to participate in discussions with Saudi officials. In the lead up to his visit, the King of Jordan, Abdullah II, has endorsed the idea of a Middle East NATO, whilst Tel Aviv has been proposing a joint air defense pact in order to defend against Iran. Most prominently, however, has been the question of Saudi normalisation with Israel.
Whilst Saudi Arabia has long maintained, on an official level, that it will not normalize ties with Israel until there is a political solution to the Palestinian issue, this has not stopped Riyadh from inviting Israeli intelligence officials and others to the Kingdom on secret visits. Nor did it prevent Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, from allegedly playing a crucial role in the so-called “Abraham Accords”, under which Bahrain, the UAE, Sudan, and Morocco normalized ties with Tel Aviv, according to former Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
Any deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia would not be a “peace deal”, but primarily an economic one. This is because Riyadh and Tel Aviv are not at war and have already normalized ties with each other under the table. All that is now left is an official declaration to bring things out of the dark. Similar was the case when Manama and Abu Dhabi normalized ties. Except, in the case of Saudi Arabia, normalizing ties with Israel has the real potential to cause political unrest, hence, it is a touchy issue for Saudis.
Robert Inlakesh Archive
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