Challenges ahead for potential US-Saudi defence pact

    WORLD  22 June 2024 - 20:00

    Discussions surrounding a potential defence pact between the United States and Saudi Arabia highlight numerous hurdles and complexities that must be addressed for such an agreement to succeed.

    The proposal, which hinges on Saudi-Israeli normalization and US security guarantees to Riyadh, poses significant challenges across military, strategic, and institutional fronts, Breaking Defense reports.

    The article underscores the critical need for robust military cooperation, strategic clarity, and effective institutional frameworks to ensure the pact's political credibility and military efficacy. It emphasizes historical neglect in defence cooperation between the two nations, despite past collaborations during Operation Desert Shield.

    Key concerns include crafting precise language that defines Saudi Arabia as a treaty ally of the US, outlining mutual security commitments without ambiguity that could be exploited by adversaries like Iran. The necessity for joint contingency planning and upgraded bureaucratic mechanisms is highlighted to facilitate implementation efforts by both civilian and military personnel.

    Moreover, the article proposes enhancing existing forums such as the US-Saudi strategic dialogue and establishing a joint military commission to oversee long-term military posture and technical matters. These structures aim to provide strategic guidance and operational oversight essential for sustaining the defense pact.

    Addressing challenges like building Saudi human capacity in defence and empowering officials to shape policy effectively are cited as pivotal steps towards achieving meaningful cooperation. Ultimately, the article emphasizes the transformative cultural shift required for a comprehensive and enduring US-Saudi defence pact, acknowledging the substantial time and effort needed to realize its full potential.

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