NewsMiddle EastUS woos MBS to snatch Saudi-Israeli peace deal

    US woos MBS to snatch Saudi-Israeli peace deal

    Discussions have been underway for several months between the American administration, the Saudi monarchy and the Palestinians in order to outline the contours of an agreement with Israel, echoing the Abraham Accords signed in 2020 under the aegis of the United States. , between several Arab countries and the Hebrew State. Could this perspective call into question the detente between Riyadh and Tehran? Decryption with Karim Sader.

    6 mins

    In full detente with Iran, Saudi Arabia is participating in talks with the American administration on an agreement aimed at establishing diplomatic relations with Israel.

    According to an article published Wednesday September 6 by the Financial Times, American and Palestinian officials traveled to Riyadh to discuss this possibility in exchange for Israeli concessions to the Palestinians and American security guarantees for the petromonarchy.

    The outcome of these talks, which have been underway since June, remains uncertain. Negotiations face various obstacles, including uncertainties over the far-right Israeli government’s willingness to make concessions to the Palestinians and demands from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to return to the international stage after his quarantine following the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

    To measure the chances of seeing such an agreement succeed and understand what would happen to the detente between the Saudis and Iranians, France 24 interviewed Karim Sader, political scientist and consultant specializing in Gulf countries.

    France 24: Saudi Arabia is participating in discussions with the American administration, behind the scenes, on an agreement aimed at establishing diplomatic relations with Israel. Doesn’t this balancing act by Riyadh risk calling into question the recent detente with its regional rival Iran, a declared enemy of the Jewish state? ?

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    Karim Sader: I do not think so. Because for the moment, the Saudis and Israelis are still far from reaching an agreement. And then this relaxation is precious for Iran which seeks to emerge from its diplomatic isolation, at a time when the armed groups affiliated with it are in difficulty, whether it is Shiite Hezbollah, very politically isolated in Lebanon, or the Houthi rebels. , who are seeking a way out of the crisis in Yemen. Tehran also wants to obtain recognition of its regional role through an agreement with Riyadh. For his part, with this balancing act, MBS, a crown prince who is preparing his enthronement, seeks to establish a kind of great understanding, regional peace and stability, to create a favorable economic environment. He wants to be the instigator of this climate. It aims to put an end to the conflicts and traditional divisions that have shaped the region. Will he really succeed? That’s another question. Still, the mere mention of a possible agreement with Israel serves his personal agenda. Considered a pariah after the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, he is courted from all sides, notably by Washington. Not only to sign an agreement with Israel, but also for its ability to influence oil prices and to speak with several actors while the world is in the midst of geopolitical reconfiguration.

    However, this balancing act could one day force him to choose between signing an agreement with Israel or preserving a climate of detente with Iran. What would then be Saudi Arabia’s strategic priority? ?

    Even if there remain fundamental issues to be resolved, the rapprochement with Iran, if confirmed, is beneficial and very important for Riyadh. Because so far, the Shiite Islamic Republic has shown that, in a logic of confrontation or crisis, it is always the one that gains the upper hand over the Sunni petromonarchy. Tehran has, through its affiliated groups in the region, a capacity for nuisance that it has been able to create and install over the years to the detriment of the Saudis. Facing Iran, the latter lost indirectly on the Syrian ground, on the Lebanese ground and on the Yemeni ground. So ultimately, the game of conciliation and diplomacy advocated by MBS is the only one where Riyadh has something to gain. Iran will be less dominant in a stabilized and economically prosperous region than in a divided region. Especially since detente would mute a Sunni-Shiite divide which has poisoned relations in the Middle East for decades and which, above all, until now, always benefited non-Arab powers, that is to say Israel, the Turkey and… Iran.

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    Ultimately, it is the Americans who are most eager to see the Israelis and Saudis shake hands as the end of Joe Biden’s term approaches. Like any American president who wants to ensure his re-election, he wants to strike a major diplomatic blow. Democratic strategists, who want to erase the legacy of Donald Trump who tore away the Abraham Accords, are pressing the Saudis as much as possible. But the pace of the agenda is different for everyone and it seems that MBS, who also has to wait for his father to bequeath him power, is in no hurry to sign.

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    For what ? What are the obstacles to signing an agreement with Israel ?

    MBS wants peace with Israel, but he appears in no hurry to sign with the most right-wing government in the history of the Jewish state, which itself would be reluctant to make concessions. Above all, the Saudi crown prince will not wish to sign without pledges and guarantees being granted to everyone, starting with the Palestinians. The Biden administration has understood that to obtain the initials of Saudi Arabia, it will be necessary to make the text acceptable to them. Hence the talks that brought together Americans, Palestinians and Saudis. But we already know, because discussions have already taken place, that certain Palestinian demands have been rejected, namely the recognition of a Palestinian state by the UN. The sidelining of Jordan, which has not been invited to participate in the current negotiations, makes it a little difficult to materialize this “mega agreement” as they call it. Moreover, by looking closely at the Abraham Accords, MBS was able to see, three years later, that the signatory countries recorded only limited benefits. So there is no rush for Saudi Arabia, a large country demographically and the guardian of Islam’s holy sites, which cannot easily digest a rapprochement with a state considered an enemy for decades. The symbolism is much stronger than for its neighbors who have taken the plunge. So, in the meantime, the Saudi crown prince is pledging, negotiating, agreeing to talks and raising the stakes to buy time, but signing the deal is another matter.

    Source: France 24

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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