Saudi Arabia Seeks US Security Guarantees and Nuclear Program for Israel Ties

The US is pushing the Saudis to normalize with Israel as part of a plan to form an anti-Iran alliance

Saudi Arabia wants the US to provide formal security guarantees and help the Kingdom develop a nuclear program as part of a potential deal to normalize relations with Israel, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Both President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been pushing for Israeli normalization with Riyadh as part of an effort to build a regional alliance against Iran. Since Israel signed normalization deals with the UAE and Bahrain in 2020, the countries have expanded military cooperation.

The Saudis have long demanded a Palestinian state as a precondition to normalization, but the Journal report, which cited people involved in the normalization talks, said Riyadh could be flexible on that issue. The people said a deal could be reached if Israel entered peace talks with the Palestinians, although that seems unlikely for now as tensions are soaring in the West Bank.

The security guarantees from the US for Saudi Arabia could face opposition from Congress, as some lawmakers have come out against arms sales to the Saudis in recent years due to their brutal tactics in Yemen. Pledging to come to Riyadh’s defense risks the US getting sucked into another conflict in the region.

One option being considered would be to designate Riyadh as a “major non-NATO ally,” which would give the Saudis more access to US arms. The Biden administration would likely try to sell the idea of formally declaring Saudi Arabia an ally to Congress by framing it as a way to maintain influence in the region. Riyadh and Beijing have recently declared they will increase cooperation, giving Saudi Arabia more leverage to make demands of Washington.

Concerning the nuclear program, the Journal report said Saudi Arabia wants the US to help enrich uranium and develop a fuel production system. The report said US and Israeli officials were concerned this could eventually lead to Riyadh making a nuclear weapon.

The US helped Iran launch its nuclear program in the 1950s, which has never been weaponized despite constant claims from US and Israeli officials. The Pentagon and the CIA recently acknowledged that Iran is not trying to build a nuclear bomb, but Israel keeps threatening to strike the country over the program.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.