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Nuclear Diplomacy In The Middle East

Washington's push to shift the balance of relations in the Middle East, which hinges on the normalization of relations with Israel, continues to gain serious momentum, most recently this week with the Saudi Crown Prince's interview with Fox News throwing a bone to Tel Aviv, but not without raising the Palestinian question.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) told Fox on Wednesday that negotiations on normalization with Israel were getting closer every day, but the Palestinian issue needs to be resolved first. But what Riyadh wants more is a U.S. defense pack and nuclear energy aid. 

MBS' interview with Fox (the media outlet was carefully chosen) was intended to express means of leverage over the Biden administration to the American public. Publicly, Riyadh is gunning for a Palestinian state, a victory that would win the Saudis a major legacy in the region. But off the books, knowing full well the impossibility of a Palestinian state, particularly with Israel's highly nationalist government, the Saudis would settle for defense and nuclear aid. The Saudi rapprochement with Iran plays into this as well, giving both Tehran and Riyadh more leverage as Iran navigates tricky negotiations with Washington.

Both the Saudi rapprochement and Washington's recent deals with Iran make the normalization of relations with Israel even more challenging, of course, but the reality is that these things cannot exist in a vacuum. 

Why? Because now that we know that…

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Editorial Dept