Biden Aides Discuss Asian Pacts as Model for Saudi Defense Treaty
Despite U.S. fatigue over Middle East wars, the White House sees a security agreement resembling those with Japan or South Korea as an incentive for Saudi Arabia to normalize relations with Israel.
American and Saudi officials are discussing terms of a mutual defense treaty that would resemble the robust military pacts that the United States has with its close allies Japan and South Korea, a central component in President Bidens high-stakes diplomacy to get Saudi Arabia to normalize relations with Israel, according to U.S. officials.
Under such an agreement, the United States and Saudi Arabia would generally pledge to provide military support if the other country is attacked in the region or on Saudi territory. The discussions to model the terms after the treaties in East Asia, considered among the strongest the United States has outside of its European pacts, have not been previously reported.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabias de facto ruler, regards a mutual defense agreement with the United States as the most important element in his talks with the Biden administration about Israel, current and former U.S. officials said. Saudi officials say a strong defense agreement would help deter potential assaults by Iran or its armed partners even as the two regional rivals re-establish diplomatic ties.