Israel-Saudi Normalization Isn’t Worth the Price of Allowing Iran to Go Nuclear

A recent trip by the American national security adviser to Saudi Arabia is but one piece of evidence that the White House is trying to broker an agreement between Jerusalem and Riyadh. To Enia Krivine, such an agreement, despite facing “myriad but surmountable challenges,” would be a “boon to regional stability and security” as well as “consistent with U.S. interests.” Yet any deal would necessarily result from three-way negotiations, and involve concessions on all sides. Krivine fears the Biden administration might ask for too much:

Saudi Arabia is seeking a NATO-level defense treaty with America, U.S. approval of a civilian nuclear program, and advanced missile-defense capabilities from the U.S. military. The Biden administration is asking for an end to the Saudis’ involvement in the war in Yemen, a massive Saudi aid package for the Palestinians, and the curtailment of Saudi-China relations. If Washington and Riyadh agree to these terms, Saudi Arabia would normalize ties with Israel, while the Jewish state would make concessions to the Palestinians.

[At the same time], the emerging picture of what the Biden administration is negotiating with the mullahs in Tehran . . . would reportedly allow the Islamist regime to continue enriching uranium to 60-percent purity in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief. Yet 60-percent-enriched uranium is only a short turn of the screw to weapons-grade, constituting 99 percent of the effort needed to reach that threshold. Iran would undoubtedly channel any sanctions relief to its expeditionary forces in the region, threatening both Israel and the Saudis.

The U.S. is the lynchpin of any future normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia. The Biden administration should doggedly pursue normalization because of the benefits it would bring to America and our regional allies. At the same time, the administration must abandon talks with Iran and apply maximum pressure on the mullahs to halt their race towards nuclear weapons. Above all, Washington should not expect Israel to accept a normalization agreement with the Saudis as a consolation prize for a bad Iran deal.

Read more at JNS

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy


What Is the Biden Administration Thinking?

In the aftermath of the rescue of four Israeli hostages on Friday, John Podhoretz observes some “clarifying moments.” The third strikes me as the most important:

Clarifying Moment #3 came with the news that the Biden administration is still calling for negotiations leading to a ceasefire after, by my count, the seventh rejection of the same by Hamas since Bibi Netanyahu’s secret offer a couple of weeks ago. Secretary of State Blinken, a man who cannot say no, including when someone suggests it would be smart for him to play high-school guitar while Ukraine burns, will be back in the region for the eighth time to urge Hamas to accept the deal. Why is this clarifying? Because it now suggests, here and for all time, that the Biden team is stupid.

Supposedly the carrot the [White House] is dangling in the region is a tripartite security deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Which would, of course, be a good thing. But like the stupid people they are now proving to be, they seem not to understand the very thing that led the Saudis to view Israel as a potential ally more than a decade ago: the idea that Israel means business and does what it must to survive and built itself a tech sector the Saudis want to learn from. Allowing Hamas to survive, which is implicitly part of the big American deal, will not lead to normalization. The Saudis do not want an Iranian vassal state in Palestine. Their entire foreign-policy purpose is to counter Iran. I know that. You know that. Everybody in the world knows that. Even Tony Blinken’s guitar is gently weeping at his dangling a carrot to Israel and Saudi Arabia that neither wants, needs, nor will accept.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Antony Blinken, Gaza War 2023, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship