US doubts Israeli-Saudi normalization agreement possible: NYT
An NYT report highlights the Biden administration's increasing attempts to mediate a Saudi-Israeli normalization agreement despite not viewing a deal as likely.
The New York Times reported on Saturday that the US has doubts that an Israeli-Saudi normalization agreement is possible but has chosen to step up efforts to achieve one nevertheless.
The newspaper highlighted US President Joe Biden's administration's increasing attempts to mediate an agreement in recent months, with Washington holding frequent meetings with both sides, as Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan are heavily active in the process.
The Times revealed that US Mideast envoy Brett McGurk led this week a mission to the region to discuss the issue and that following his visit to Riyadh earlier this month, Blinken held a 40-minute phone conversation with Israeli occupation Prime Miniter Benjamin Netanyahu about the "Saudis' requirements" for an agreement.
The report mentioned that some American officials believe the prospects of an agreement are fewer than 50%.
Nonetheless, the newspaper quoted Martin Indyk, former US envoy to "Israel", as saying that "Biden has decided to go for it, and everyone in the administration now understands that the president wants this."
It reminded that Saudi Arabia has requested that the United States assist it with civilian uranium enrichment, as per officials. Two sources told The Times that other requests by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman include US promises to defend the country in case of an attack and the lifting of some restrictions on military sales to Riyadh.
Elsewhere, The New York Times report noted that another roadblock to a normalization agreement would be the US Congress, where arms sales to Saudi Arabia and enrichment deals would be difficult to pass. Nevertheless, Israeli support could help push a deal through.
Netanyahu also considered in an interview for Sky News that a potential Israeli normalization deal with Saudi Arabia would be "a quantum leap forward" and "would change history."
However, the Israeli occupation Prime Minister said he cannot ensure that an agreement would be reached since "it is up to the Saudis," but that he "certainly hopes[s] so."
According to Netanyahu, Saudi Arabia "is the most influential Arab country, not only in the Arab world — I think also in the Muslim world."
It is noteworthy that Saudi authorities have repeatedly stated openly that they will not normalize ties with the Israeli occupation until a Palestinian state is established.