Saudi Arabia remains resolute in its pursuit of a military agreement with the United States, a deal that would involve the U.S. safeguarding the kingdom in exchange for Saudi Arabia establishing diplomatic relations with Israel. This determination to secure the pact holds, even if Israel does not make significant concessions in support of Palestinian statehood, according to information provided by three regional insiders familiar with the negotiations.
This potential pact might not reach the level of unbreakable defense commitments akin to NATO, which Saudi Arabia initially sought when discussions first arose between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. President Joe Biden during Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia in July 2022.
Alternatively, according to a U.S. source, it could resemble the treaties the United States has in place with several Asian nations. If gaining congressional approval for such an agreement proves challenging, it might follow the model of the U.S. accord with Bahrain, where the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is stationed. Notably, this type of arrangement would not necessitate congressional endorsement.
To enhance the appeal of any prospective deal, Washington could consider bestowing upon Saudi Arabia the designation of a Major Non-NATO Ally, a status already conferred upon Israel, the U.S. source added.