Biden Administration and Saudi Arabia Engage in Promising Talks for a Strategic Defense Alliance Inspired by Successful Asian Treaties

The United States is currently in talks with Saudi Arabia to establish a mutual defense treaty, similar to the military agreements it has with Japan and South Korea, according to American officials. This move is a key part of President Biden’s diplomatic efforts to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Under this proposed agreement, both countries would commit to providing military support if the other is attacked in the region or on Saudi territory. The terms of these discussions, which are modeled after the strong treaties in East Asia, have not been previously reported.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, considers a mutual defense agreement with the United States as the most important aspect of his talks with the Biden administration regarding Israel, according to current and former U.S. officials. Saudi officials believe that a robust defense agreement would deter potential attacks from Iran or its armed partners, especially as the two regional rivals are re-establishing diplomatic ties.

Prince Mohammed is also seeking assistance from the Biden administration to develop a civilian nuclear program in Saudi Arabia. However, some U.S. officials are concerned that this program could serve as a cover for a nuclear weapons program aimed at countering Iran.

A defense treaty with Saudi Arabia resembling the American pacts with East Asian allies would likely face strong objections in Congress. Many senior U.S. lawmakers, including prominent Democrats, view the Saudi government and Prince Mohammed as unreliable partners who prioritize their own interests over those of the United States and human rights.

Such an agreement would also raise questions about whether President Biden is becoming further entangled in the Middle East militarily. This would contradict the administration’s stated goal of shifting American military resources and capabilities away from the region and towards deterring China in the Asia-Pacific.

The discussions between the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel have primarily focused on Prince Mohammed’s demands. These diplomatic efforts are expected to be discussed further on Wednesday when President Biden meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. President Biden highlighted the benefits of countries normalizing relations with Israel in a speech at the United Nations on Tuesday.

Although the United States has military bases and troops in Japan and South Korea, American officials state that there are currently no serious discussions about deploying a large contingent of American troops in Saudi Arabia under a new defense agreement. As of June, the Pentagon reported having just under 2,700 American troops stationed in the kingdom.

President Biden’s pursuit of a Saudi-Israel deal is a strategic maneuver that would have been difficult to imagine not long ago. During his 2020 presidential campaign, he promised to treat Saudi Arabia as a “pariah.” However, brokering such a deal could have political benefits for Netanyahu’s right-wing government, despite strong criticism from American officials regarding Israel’s judiciary and settlement building in Palestinian areas.

U.S. officials argue that a diplomatic pact between Saudi Arabia and Israel would symbolically defuse tensions in the Arab-Israeli conflict and have geopolitical significance for the United States. They believe that bringing Saudi Arabia closer to the United States would divert the kingdom from China’s sphere of influence and counter Beijing’s efforts to expand its presence in the Middle East.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken publicly stated that the normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel would be a “transformative event in the Middle East and well beyond.” However, he also acknowledged that reaching an agreement between the parties remains a challenging prospect and far from certain.

The State Department declined to provide details on the discussions for this article.

In recent months, White House officials have been briefing influential Democratic lawmakers on the negotiations. The administration would need to convince these lawmakers to approve the treaty in order to secure the necessary 67 votes in the Senate, or two-thirds of the chamber.

Many Senate Democrats have previously voted to limit Washington’s arms sales and security cooperation with Saudi Arabia due to concerns about the Saudi-led war in Yemen and the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Additionally, lawmakers are pressing the Biden administration for answers regarding reports of Saudi border forces killing African migrants attempting to enter the kingdom from Yemen. In August, Human Rights Watch released a report on these atrocities, and it remains uncertain whether American training or weapons were involved in these incidents.

The defense treaties the United States has with Japan and South Korea were established after devastating wars in the mid-20th century and during the height of the Cold War. These alliances were formed to counter the global presence of the Soviet Union.

The first American security treaty with Japan was concluded in 1951 during the U.S. occupation of Japan after World War II, and it was later revised in 1960. This treaty allows the United States to maintain its armed forces in Japan and stipulates that both countries would act together in the event of an attack against either nation in the territories under Japan. Michael Green, a former senior director at the National Security Council, describes these treaties as “pretty ironclad” in terms of U.S. military commitments and nuclear deterrence.

However, Julian Ku, a professor of international and constitutional law, argues that the language regarding mutual defense in the treaties with Japan and other allies in the region is not as strong as commonly believed. He states that the language is intentionally vague to allow for different responses in different circumstances. Therefore, it is conceivable that a U.S. treaty with Saudi Arabia could adopt a similar structure, which does not technically require immediate U.S. action but represents a serious commitment in the event of an attack.

White House and State Department officials have made multiple trips to Saudi Arabia since May to promote normalization, keeping Netanyahu and his aides informed about Prince Mohammed’s demands. Aside from the challenges surrounding a potential U.S.-Saudi security treaty and civil nuclear cooperation, there are also questions about the concessions that Saudi Arabia would request from Israel in relation to the Palestinians. While Prince Mohammed has not publicly addressed this issue, his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, strongly supports Palestinian rights.

Some experts on Middle East policy are urging the Biden administration to refrain from making any deals that would grant Israel excessive leeway in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Denial of responsibility! Vigour Times is an automatic aggregator of Global media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, and all materials to their authors. For any complaint, please reach us at – [email protected]. We will take necessary action within 24 hours.
DMCA compliant image

Leave a Comment