Security Experts See U.S.-Saudi Security Pact as Unlikely

(Diplomatic-Substack) Laura Rozen - U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, NSC Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk, and White House energy advisor Amos Hochstein traveled to Saudi Arabia to consult with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday to discuss a U.S.-Saudi security pact and prospects for Israel-Saudi normalization. But several regional security experts say the U.S. is unlikely to extend the Saudi kingdom a treaty-type security guarantee. The Middle East Institute's Firas Maksad said Thursday, "There's unrealistic expectations on both sides....This is not something that the Saudis can flip the switch and deliver on without some concrete steps from the Israeli side." Yet Israeli Prime Minister "Netanyahu risks his coalition if he is to attempt anything of significance towards the Palestinians, and the Palestinians themselves are in disarray....This new push for normalization, because...the U.S. administration would like to deliver before next year, is, I feel, divorced from the political reality on the Israeli/Palestinian side." Moreover, a defense alliance with the Saudis is "unrealistic, given the political context here in the U.S., particularly on the Hill, where Saudi Arabia remains deeply unpopular. To be able to deliver a treaty...anything that would need to be ratified by Congress, is just completely divorced from reality," Maksad said. David DesRoches, professor at the National Defense University, said a U.S. defense pact with Saudi Arabia "is a fantasy." The president "would not even submit a U.S.-Saudi mutual defense treaty to the Senate.... Bottom line: what's discussed can't be delivered."

2023-07-31 00:00:00

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