Pres Biden is walking a tightrope with Saudi Arabia and Israel.
One point of view...
... A Middle East grand bargain could be a grand illusion
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From Kissinger to Carter, and from Clinton to Kushner, the urge to broker peace deals in the Middle East is a constant in American diplomacy. Now it is the turn of the Biden administration to set off down this well-trodden path.
The White House is working on a "grand bargain" in the Middle East that would lead to the normalisation of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia. To help bring this about, the US is reportedly prepared to offer security guarantees to Saudi Arabia, as well as assistance for a civil nuclear programme. Israel's part of the bargain is that it would offer some concessions towards the Palestinians.
For its promoters, Joe Biden's grand bargain delivers several seductive-sounding "wins". It would extend peace, prosperity and stability in the Middle East. It would bolster the US in the struggle for global influence with China. And it would give Biden a diplomatic achievement to boast about, in time for the 2024 presidential election.
Unfortunately, the reality of the deal could be much less attractive. The US could end up promising to defend an erratic autocracy in Saudi Arabia, while bolstering an Israeli government that is fast eroding its own democracy. Meanwhile, the hoped-for gains " pushback against China and progress for the Palestinians " may never materialise. In that case, the grand bargain will turn out to be a grand illusion.
Relations between Saudi Arabia and the US have been rocky during the Biden administration. The kingdom's de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman, was angered by the release of a US government report that accused him of direct involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist. The red-carpet treatment for Xi Jinping when he visited Saudi Arabia, was notably warmer than the reception given to Biden.