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US and Saudi Arabia in Talks for Mutual Defense Treaty Amidst Geopolitical Shifts

US and Saudi officials are in discussions about a “mutual defense treaty” akin to agreements the US has with Japan and South Korea. Under such a pact, both nations would commit to providing military support if the other is attacked in the region or on Saudi territory. This potential security agreement is part of a broader “megadeal” that would also involve Saudi Arabia normalizing ties with Israel. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sees this mutual defense agreement as a crucial aspect of negotiations with the Biden administration regarding Israel. The proposal comes after US President Biden emphasized the benefits of normalization with Israel in his speech at the UN General Assembly. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan also reiterated the importance of a two-state solution for resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. Reports earlier indicated that talks of normalizing ties with Israel had stalled, but US and Israeli officials refuted these claims. If approved by Congress, this defense pact would mark a shift from the US’s 2021 decision to remove Patriot missile batteries from Saudi Arabia. Currently, there are about 2,700 US troops stationed in the kingdom, engaging in joint counter-drone exercises with Saudi forces.

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