Risky promises: Biden's Saudi normalization may cost Israel dearly

Opinion: The US government brokers a circular agreement: Saudi Arabia benefits, Israel broadens its Middle Eastern ties and, in exchange, Iran's nuclear initiative is safeguarded; How much are we willing to risk in order to expand the Abraham Accords?
Dr. Doron Matza|
I am very much in favor of normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia, as I imagine everyone is, but we mustn't fool ourselves into believing that this is a move that comes without a price tag.
<< Follow Ynetnews on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok >>
Read more:
Media reports constantly mention the quid-pro-quo that Saudi Arabia is interested in, namely a civilian nuclear program, (for starters) some sort of an advancement in the Israeli-Palestinian realm, as well as American armament.
2 View gallery
נשיא ארה"ב ג'ו ביידן
נשיא ארה"ב ג'ו ביידן
President Joe Biden is working to broker a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia
(Photo: AFP)
As one might recall, American weapons and military equipment were given to Egypt after the historic peace accord with Israel, and that was also the case for the United Arab Emirates following the signing of the Abraham Accords. It's clear for everyone to see that there is a deal going on, just as there was with the Moroccans who gave peace and received American recognition when it comes to Western Sahara.
That's how peace works. It is not some Walt Disney fantasy, but a business in which each side benefits in one way and compromises in another. It is often sold to the public with much fanfare and so much sugar coating that you are likely to be diagnosed with diabetes. It's okay, though, because that's the way the world works.
However, in this particular instance, what's given in return cannot simply be summed up as tactical benefits for the Saudis, but a strategic move. Those who wish to reap the benefits for this normalization issue are the Americans, and more specifically the Biden administration, which acts, speaks and thinks a lot like the Obama administration used to. That is the crux of the matter, because American interests in the Middle East do not align with Israel's strategic ones.
This is a gap that perfectly explains the cold shoulder Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently experiencing from President Biden. Make no mistake, it's not judicial reform or some obscure apprehension about any sort of legislation emanating from the Knesset. After all, Israeli democracy is several times more vibrant than its American counterpart.
2 View gallery
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman
(Photo: Reuters)
It's the interest that has completely altered in comparison to the Trump era. The Americans wanted out of the region even back then and their way to get it done comprised of two distinct moves. First was building the framework for the Abraham Accords as a coalition of several nations, thus further enhancing their own prowess, American military might and all.
The second stage involved taking the ayatollahs down by imposing severe financial sanctions that guaranteed that even if Iran were to become a nuclear state, it would still remain a decrepit, god forsaken, poor nation, much like North Korea. In other words, it will not be a superpower because superpowers are countries that possess both military and financial might, just like Israel and many others.
Courtesy of Joe Biden, this approach was completely revamped. As far as he's concerned, an agreement with Iran is paramount, regardless of whether or not it has destructive meaning in regional terms. It is what keeps Netanyahu awake at night, and with Biden fully aware of this he began formalizing a sophisticated move that would sell the Iranian nuclear pact to Israel, in exchange for developing and expanding the Abraham Accords, which would mean Saudi normalization and possibly include other Muslim nations, such as Indonesia.
Dr. Doron MatzaDr. Doron MatzaPhoto: Courtesy
Practically speaking, the Biden administration did not only completely make a 180 turn in the Trump approach toward Iran, but completely flipped the Abraham Accords and expanded them, as a hostage of a newly designed nuclear pact. What they're saying is simple – We will bring Saudi Arabia to the table in exchange for Israel relinquishing the Iranian nuclear pact issue. That is the big prize Israel has to give the Americans, which makes the Saudi nuclear pact seem insignificant in comparison.
It's not like Israel has a lot of to say in the matter. After it was made clear there wouldn't be enough pilots to protect the homeland (seeing as many of them no longer define Israel in those terms and given the fact that Israeli society is ill-equipped for a an all-out war with Iran with all its northern and southern proxies), the deal Biden is proposing is the lesser of two evils.
It comes with a heavy price tag. Iran will become a superpower, with all that entails. Israel will have its hands tied behind its back and would be unable to attack even if it wanted to. Iranian nukes will transform Tehran into a much fiercer beast than it currently is, and the only thing that can save Israel from this nightmare scenario is Iran itself kicking the bucket.
Dr. Doron Matza is a political scientist and an expert in Middle Eastern studies, and a lecturer at Achava College
The commenter agrees to the privacy policy of Ynet News and agrees not to submit comments that violate the terms of use, including incitement, libel and expressions that exceed the accepted norms of freedom of speech.