Iran Exploits Biden’s Weakness to Derail Israel-Saudi Normalization Deal

Iran is taking advantage of President Biden's perceived weakness to undermine the anticipated normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi crown prince is likely to decide on the normalization agreement with Israel only after the U.S. presidential elections.

 Iran is actively attempting to sabotage the normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia through the Houthi rebels.

Iran previously disrupted the normalization efforts through the Hamas attack known as “Al-Aqsa Flood” on the Israeli settlements surrounding Gaza on October 7 last year.

Now, it is preparing to thwart the possible agreement once again.

Hamas officials state that Iran will not allow any American administration to establish a new moderate axis in the Middle East, which could threaten the Iran-led resistance axis, as President Biden aims to do.

Encouraged by the success of the Hamas attack on Israel and Hezbollah’s assault on northern Israel, Iran’s current mission is to eliminate any possibility of Israel continuing the normalization process with Arab countries.

Threats from Abdelmalek Al-Houthi

Senior Israeli security officials are concerned about Abdelmalek Al-Houthi, the leader of the Houthi rebels in Yemen, an Iranian emissary, who has been threatening Saudi Arabia for several weeks not to sign a normalization agreement with Israel, citing it as a “threat to Yemen’s national security.”

Saudi Arabia fears the military power of the Houthi rebels, who have imposed a naval blockade on Israel in the Red Sea, hitting over 150 ships with missiles and UAVs claiming they were headed to Israel.

On September 14, 2019, the Houthi rebels paralyzed Saudi oil facilities of the “Aramco” company in the Abqaiq region with cruise missiles and UAVs, causing significant economic damage.

The attack reduced Saudi Arabia’s oil production capacity by 50%, about 5% of the global supply.

At that time, the Trump administration did not come to Saudi Arabia’s aid.

Saudi Hesitation Amid U.S. Political Uncertainty

Political officials in Jerusalem note that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has recently stopped speaking to the media about normalization with Israel.

Despite American pressure, he has refrained from doing so.

Saudi Arabia is currently in a ceasefire with the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who have sent messages indicating the potential consequences of signing a normalization agreement with Israel on the ceasefire agreement.

Mohammed bin Salman is very concerned about the perceived weakness of the Biden administration in the Middle East.

He is also monitoring President Biden’s political difficulties in the U.S. election campaign, considering the possibility that Biden may withdraw from the presidential race.

Additionally, the Israeli government refuses to agree to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state as part of the normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia.

There is also the danger of an all-out military confrontation between Hezbollah and Israel, which could lead to a regional war.

Given these developments, Saudi officials believe that only a decisive Israeli victory over Hamas in Gaza could encourage Crown Prince Bin Salman to sign a normalization agreement with Israel.

Currently, this is not happening, and the situation on Israel’s northern front against Hezbollah remains uncertain.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has no interest in signing a normalization agreement, which also involves security agreements, with Israel while it appears weak against the pro-Iranian axis.

Such an agreement would be difficult to pass on the Saudi street.

He also fears being portrayed in the Arab world as someone trying to help Israel recover from the events of October 7.

The current assessment in Israel is that he would prefer to wait for the results of the U.S. presidential elections before making a final decision on normalization with Israel.

Yoni Ben Menachem Senior Middle East Analyst

About Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem is a Middle East senior analyst ,a journalist and
the former CEO of the Israel Broadcasting Authority(IBA). He has
decades of experience in written and video journalism. Ben
Menachem’s path in the media world began as a producer for
Japanese television in the Middle East. After that, he held many key
positions in the media The Israeli: CEO of the Israel Broadcasting
Authority, director of “Kol Israel” Radio, reporter on West Bank and
Gaza Strip affairs, political reporter and commentator, commentator
on Middle East affairs and editor-in-chief and presenter of the
program “Middle East Magazine”. 

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