EXPLAINER | Why Netanyahu is Keen on a US-Saudi Security Deal

Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: US Department of State, via Wikimedia Commons)

To ensure Saudi-Israeli normalization, Netanyahu wants Washington to sign a security deal with Saudi Arabia. But why?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking a security pact with the US as part of the normalization deal with Saudi Arabia, Israeli and US media reported.

The sought deal would focus on deterring Iran from making Saudi’s ambition to obtain nuclear weapons “unnecessary”.

Axios reported that Netanyahu spoke about this during his last phone call with US President Joe Biden in July.

Broader Deal

According to Axios, Netanyahu sees a US-Israeli security agreement as something that could be signed in the context of the broader deal the US is attempting to reach with Saudi Arabia, including a Saudi-Israel normalization agreement.

Meanwhile, The Times of Israel disclosed that Saudi Arabia wants a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)-style agreement that deploys the US to defend it when attacked.

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The Biden administration did not accept this request but agreed to discuss what some US officials call an “article 4.5 commitment” — a security guarantee that would fall short of Saudi expectations but still be significant, a US official explained.

The Wall Street Journal conveyed in a report published on Wednesday that US and Saudi officials have agreed on broad terms for a potential Israel-Saudi deal.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the proposed deal would see the US issue major security guarantees to Saudi Arabia, Riyadh take significant steps to distance itself from China and Israel proceed towards creating an independent Palestinian state.

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US officials have privately acknowledged that opponents of Palestinian sovereignty — who make up a clear majority of Netanyahu’s government — will complicate efforts to secure a normalization deal.

The Wall Street Journal report also stated that Riyadh had expressed concerns about securing a deal with the current far-right Israeli government coalition.


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