On Thursday, President Biden said one of the goals of his upcoming trip to the Middle East to to “deepen Israel’s integration in the region” as Israel is hoping to form an anti-Iran alliance in the region with Washington’s Arab allies.
Israel has increased military ties with regional countries as a result of the US-brokered Abraham Accords, which saw Israel normalize relations with the UAE and Bahrain. Saudi Arabia has been hesitant to open up relations with Israel, but the two nations have quietly increased military cooperation.
“Part of the purpose is … is to deepen Israel’s integration in the region, which I think we’re going to be able to do and which is good — good for peace and good for Israeli security,” Biden told reporters at the NATO summit in Madrid. “And that’s why Israel leaders have come out so strongly for my going to Saudi,” he added.
Israel has been lobbying Biden to visit Saudi Arabia and reportedly wants the US’s approval to send Riyadh a new laser missile defense system, known as the Iron Laser. The alliance that Israel is working to build in the region is focused on integrated air defense systems, according to Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
While in Saudi Arabia, Biden will attend a summit of the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and will hold separate meetings with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his father, King Salman. Biden said he wouldn’t ask them directly to increase oil production but hopes that they conclude on their own that it makes sense to do so.
French President Emmanuel Macron was overheard on the sidelines of the G7 summit earlier this week telling Biden that Saudi Arabia and the UAE could barely increase their oil production. French officials have also come out in favor of easing sanctions on Iran and Venezuela to get their oil on the market.