Saudi Arabia has made it clear that it wants a defense pact with the United States in return for normalizing ties with Israel. However, that isn’t a price Washington is able or willing to accept, for both political and strategic reasons. But the conversation about improved U.S.-Saudi defense cooperation shouldn’t stop here. There’s plenty of room for achieving that objective without having to upgrade the relationship to a full-fledged alliance.

But first, it’s important to briefly reiterate why a stronger U.S.-Saudi security relationship serves both parties, and ultimately, regional stability. For Washington, a Saudi Arabia that can defend itself, is capable of operating with U.S. forces, and can provide meaningful contributions to regional security is in the U.S. national interest. A more capable Saudi Arabia also frees the United States to put more military resources in the Indo-Pacific and European theaters. 

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Photo: Spc. William Gore

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