For the last three months, government officials in the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia were preparing the world for a major breakthrough in the Middle East. But as tensions escalate and the promise of a groundbreaking deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel seems to unravel, the world watches closely. Here, we delve into the key developments surrounding the Saudi-Israeli deal and how Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) may have achieved his goals, even as the deal’s fate hangs in the balance.
A Game-Changing Deal on the Horizon
Under the deal, whose terms were still being hammered out, Saudi Arabia would have formally recognized the state of Israel. In exchange, they would receive extensive security guarantees from the US and assistance in building a civilian nuclear power plant. Such an agreement would have marked a remarkable turning point in the region’s dynamics, but it would also have represented the complete transformation of MBS from international pariah to a consequential world leader.
> "He’s changed the discussion to MBS and Israel, away from MBS and Khashoggi," says Fadi Elsalameen, a non-resident fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. "He can stop now and not do anything, banking this as a win."
The Upheaval Caused by Hamas
However, the surprise attacks by Hamas fighters on Israeli civilians and the ensuing war have seemingly scuttled the deal, at least for the foreseeable future. Some analysts suggest that Hamas and its backers in Iran may have intentionally orchestrated these attacks to derail the negotiations.
MBS, known for his adept crisis management, may have already achieved his objectives without signing any formal agreements.
The Cost of Bloodshed
After Hamas unleashed a deadly assault, Israel responded with a massive siege on the Gaza Strip, leading to the deaths of Palestinian civilians and widespread destruction. These grim images have stirred immense anger across the Middle East and made it nearly impossible for Saudi Arabia to consider any normalization deal with Israel.
> "It’s too early for strategies now," says Abdulrahman al-Rashed, a media executive who advises MBS and the Saudi government. "We have to wait and see how big this conflict is going to be."
MBS’s Remarkable Rehabilitation
Crown Prince MBS’s path to rehabilitation over the last five years has been remarkable. Following the 2018 assassination of Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, he was widely viewed as a bloodthirsty prince opposed to free speech and human rights. World leaders distanced themselves from him, and many believed his own family might remove him from power to protect the Saudi royals from further international repercussions.
A Display of Sovereign Power
MBS’s decision to deny the White House a coveted photo opportunity was an unprecedented snub, highlighting that Saudi Arabia is no longer merely a puppet of the US in the Middle East. His actions are as much about economics as they are about politics. MBS has been on a global spending spree for nearly eight years, aimed at drastically reducing Saudi Arabia’s reliance on oil revenue. This audacious endeavor encompasses more than just politics; it is about reshaping the Saudi economy fundamentally.
> "The concentration of MBS’s power is what makes a Saudi-Israeli deal even thinkable," says Abdulrahman al-Rashed. "Arabs have inherited a deep affinity with the plight of the Palestinians over generations, and alienating the population with a deal that doesn’t even consider the need for a Palestinian state would be difficult."
Unprecedented Diplomatic Maneuvers
In addition to outmaneuvering the Biden administration, MBS has mended ties with Qatar, taken steps towards ending the Yemen war he initiated, and reconciled with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of Turkey. This reconciliation is particularly remarkable, considering that Erdoğan had previously exposed MBS’s involvement in the Khashoggi murder in 2018.
The secret to MBS’s power lies in his ability to spend lavishly without checks and balances, positioning Saudi Arabia and its sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, as highly sought-after financial institutions. Beyond economic reforms, Saudi Arabia is investing billions in sports, entertainment, and gaming, endeavors that appeal to the global youth and enhance the country’s global image.
The Future of the Saudi-Israeli Deal
While the fate of the Saudi-Israeli deal hangs in the balance, MBS’s remarkable political and economic maneuvering has already left a significant mark on the region. With a powerful monarch at the helm and a shifting geopolitical landscape, the possibility of such a deal remains tantalizingly close.
In the ever-evolving world of Middle Eastern diplomacy, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s journey continues to be one of the most intriguing and impactful stories, as the Saudi-Israeli deal and his strategic moves unfold.
The Saudi-Israeli Deal Is Likely Off. MBS May Have Gotten What He Wants Anyway remains a narrative of change and transformation that will undoubtedly keep the world’s attention for years to come.
Visa Considerations: Traveling to Israel from Saudi Arabia
Is the Saudi-Israeli deal off?
Is the Saudi-Israeli Deal in Jeopardy?
The once-promising Saudi-Israeli deal appears to be hanging by a thread. While Hamas’s recent attacks on Israel have cast a cloud of uncertainty over the negotiations, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) may not be overly concerned. It seems that, five years after the notorious Jamal Khashoggi murder, MBS has managed to rehabilitate his international image primarily through dialogue and diplomacy.
The surprise attacks by Hamas on Israel, and the subsequent warfare they ignited, could have been orchestrated to sabotage the potential Riyadh-Jerusalem agreement. However, MBS’s adept handling of crises suggests that he might be content with the current state of affairs.
In the realm of international diplomacy and perception management, the fate of the Saudi-Israeli deal remains unclear, leaving the world to ponder its future.
Could Saudi Arabia agree to a normalization deal with Israel?
Can Saudi Arabia Consider Normalizing Ties with Israel?
The prospects of Saudi Arabia entertaining a normalization deal with Israel appear grim. The searing images of Palestinian civilians falling victim to rocket attacks, their homes reduced to rubble, have ignited widespread fury across the Middle East. According to Abdulrahman al-Rashed, a prominent media executive advising both MBS and the Saudi government, this mounting anger makes it exceedingly challenging for Saudi Arabia to entertain the idea of a normalization agreement with Israel.
In the current volatile climate, the question of whether Saudi Arabia could take steps toward normalization with Israel remains a contentious and uncertain topic.
What if Saudi Arabia formally recognized Israel?
What If Saudi Arabia Extended Formal Recognition to Israel?
In the proposed agreement, the specifics of which were still under negotiation, Saudi Arabia would officially acknowledge the sovereignty of the state of Israel. In return, they would secure robust security assurances from the United States and assistance in the establishment of a civilian nuclear power facility.
The potential ramifications of Saudi Arabia formally recognizing Israel within this evolving pact are multifaceted, entailing not only diplomatic and political implications but also impacting regional dynamics and international relations.
Did Hamas derail a deal between Riyadh and Jerusalem?
Did Hamas Sabotage the Riyadh-Jerusalem Deal?
The recent assaults by Hamas on Israel have raised questions about their potential to obstruct negotiations between Riyadh and Jerusalem. However, surprisingly, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) might not be displeased by this turn of events. Five years post the Jamal Khashoggi tragedy, MBS has succeeded in improving his global image significantly through dialogue and diplomacy.
As these political dynamics unfold, the possibility of Hamas hindering a deal between Riyadh and Jerusalem continues to be a topic of debate in the evolving landscape of Middle Eastern diplomacy.
Does Saudi Arabia have conflict with Israel?
Is There a Saudi-Israeli Conflict?
Historically, Saudi Arabia’s stance on Israel has been marked by a lack of recognition. In 1947, the kingdom voted against the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine and currently does not acknowledge Israeli sovereignty. However, in a significant shift, as of 2023, both nations are engaged in bilateral negotiations aimed at normalizing their relations. These talks are facilitated by the United States, acting as a mediator between the two parties.
The evolving landscape of Middle Eastern diplomacy raises the question of whether Saudi Arabia’s long-standing conflict with Israel may be on the path to resolution.
Can I go to Israel from Saudi Arabia?
Is Traveling from Saudi Arabia to Israel Possible?
Israel welcomes visitors from all nationalities, yet some travelers may require a pre-approved visa for entry. To determine the specific visa requirements for your journey, please consult our comprehensive guide on visas for Israel. Proper planning ensures a smooth entry process, preventing any unwelcome delays at customs.