(MENAFN- Asia Times) Last week's drip of diplomatic leaks from United States officials led to streams of speculation that a grand bargain is in the works that will create the biggest Middle East peace breakthrough since the 1978 Israel-Egypt Camp David accord.
Or is this a public relations gambit to shore up the flagging reputations of three protagonists – US President Joe Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi leader Mohammed bin Salman – who yearn to catch the glow of peace-making or, at least, of seeming to want to do something about it?
An apparently pending deal is based on Saudi recognition of Israel to be offered in return for US security guarantees – along with shipments of sophisticated weaponry and provision of nuclear technology, the latter supposedly just for peaceful energy technology.
Certainly, the Saudis can only gaze with longing at the billions of dollars worth of US military and economic aid provided to Ukraine, even without a formal security accord, to ward off Russia.
For Israel, the benefits also seems obvious. If Saudi hostility ends, much of the rest of the Muslim world would likely fall into line. And, presumably, Saudi Arabia would be weaned away from its flirtation with Iran, Israel's current arch-nemesis.
Israeli leader Netanyahu and his Saudi counterpart bin Salman.
For the US, reduced tensions and solidified Middle East alliances would let Biden enter the ranks of peacemakers and focus on the long-gestating American“pivot to Asia” to confront China and away from the messy Middle East. A White House lawn photo of Biden celebrating the whole thing would be welcome in advance of his 2024 re-election bid.
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