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US in talks to broker defense pact with country Biden called a ‘pariah’


Daily Caller News Foundation

The Biden administration is in talks to broker a mutual defense pact with Saudi Arabia that could help normalize the country’s relations with Israel, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The unprecedented deal would guarantee military support between the United States and Saudi Arabia if either nation is attacked on Saudi territory, mirroring a similar agreement the U.S. has with South Korea and Japan, according to the NYT. The deal is likely to face bipartisan congressional blowback as Saudi Arabia, a country that President Joe Biden once promised he’d make a “pariah,” has been accused of a number of human rights violations and organizing terror operations.

The deal could help create a bond between Saudi Arabia and Israel, two former rivals who do not have formal diplomatic relations, according to the NYT. Biden is expected to discuss the relationship, as well as concerns over Israel’s sweeping judicial reform, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Friday that a Saudi-Israeli relationship would be a “transformative event in the Middle East and well beyond,” but also admitted convincing the two countries to enter such an agreement is “a difficult proposition,” according to the NYT.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) believes a mutual defense pact with the U.S. is of the highest importance in his negotiations with Biden about a Saudi-Israeli relationship, according to U.S. officials who spoke to the NYT. MBS is also petitioning Biden to help Saudi Arabia bolster its civilian nuclear program.

The potential defense pact and Biden’s ongoing negotiations with MBS have sparked criticism from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, the NYT reported. Saudi Arabia has been accused of a number of “deplorable” human rights violations, including torture and abuse in detention centers, prolonged arbitrary detention and legal corruption, according to a report from Human Rights Watch.

Saudi Arabian officials have credibly been accused of helping assist in the 9/11 terror attacks that killed thousands of Americans. These accusations were, in part, confirmed through declassified information that one of their agents corresponded with two Al Qaeda hijackers prior to the attack.

U.S. officials remained concerned that Saudi Arabia’s civilian nuclear development, which MBS has implored Biden to accelerate, is a front for a nuclear weapons program to counter Iran, the NYT reported. Iran has acquired enough enriched uranium to develop ten nuclear weapons in four months, according to the Institute for Science and International Security.

The White House and State Department did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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