October 6, 2023

IntelBrief: Is a Saudi-Israel Normalization Deal Inevitable?

AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed

Bottom Line Up Front

  • To cement Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic recognition of Israel, the United States is reportedly prepared to offer the kingdom a security guarantee similar to those it has signed with Japan and South Korea.
  • While these Indo-Pacific alliances are among the strongest U.S. security commitments outside of NATO, experts say the United States retains flexibility in how and under what conditions it must defend its allies in Asia.
  • Reports of U.S. offers to help develop a civilian Saudi nuclear energy program have prompted concerns that this could one day allow Saudi Arabia to obtain nuclear weapons, which could lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
  • Despite Riyadh’s repeated public assurances, the deal may come without any significant progress for the Palestinian cause, which Saudi Arabia has historically championed (at least rhetorically).