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#Geoeconomics, Middle East: U.S. will help Saudi Arabia develop semiconductors, but asks it to limit use of Chinese technology

In the agreement, the United States also asked Saudi Arabia to limit access to Chinese technology to the country's most sensitive networks in exchange for major investments in Saudi artificial intelligence, semiconductors and quantum computing, and to help Saudi Arabia build a civilian nuclear program



According to Bloomberg's May 2 report, the United States and Saudi Arabia are on the verge of reaching a historic understanding.


Under the agreement, the U.S. will provide security guarantees to Saudi Arabia, even allowing it to acquire advanced weapons previously banned by the U.S., and offer the Saudi Kingdom the opportunity to establish diplomatic relations with Israel if the latter ends its war against Gaza.



In the agreement, the United States also asked Saudi Arabia to limit access to Chinese technology to the country's most sensitive networks in exchange for major investments in Saudi artificial intelligence, semiconductors and quantum computing, and to help Saudi Arabia build a civilian nuclear program.

Negotiations between the United States and Saudi Arabia have accelerated in recent weeks, and many officials believe the two countries will reach an agreement as early as a few weeks from now, the sources said. According to Bloomberg, if the agreement is reached, it could reshape the Middle East. In addition to strengthening Israeli and Saudi security, the agreement would strengthen the U.S. position in the Middle East and sacrifice Iranian and even Chinese interests in the region.


Photo official twitter position Antoby Blinker https://twitter.com/SecBlinken

Bloomberg said the Saudis see this agreement as an important basis for ending the war in Gaza and achieving the "two-state solution," but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is likely to disagree with the proposal.


Israel has chosen not to join the case, and it will be difficult for the Biden administration to promote this commitment.

The United States is thinking big

It should be pointed out that some aspects of the deal will echo previous U.S. agreements with other regional partners, such as the United Arab Emirates.


On April 16, Microsoft Corp. announced that G42, Abu Dhabi's leading artificial intelligence company, had agreed to terminate its partnership with the Chinese side in exchange for the company's investment, brokered by the U.S. government.


Currently, Saudi Arabia is eager to develop artificial intelligence and semiconductors locally. The United States has told the Middle Eastern country that it will provide help to the Saudis in this field, but only on the condition that the Saudis agree not to seek cooperation with China on advanced technology, the sources said.

The United States will also help the Saudis establish a civilian nuclear program, in exchange for which the United States will receive Saudi uranium.


The deal could provide the Saudis with security cooperation strong enough to require U.S. Senate approval and even give the world's largest oil exporter access to advanced U.S. weapons that were previously off-limits.



Makassad, senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, a U.S.-based think tank, analyzed it as "a strategic move between Saudi Arabia and the United States to secure and consolidate the U.S. position in the Middle East, as the Saudis, along with other countries in the region, have sought to diversify their foreign policy choices away from dependence on Washington."


Bloomberg also argues that the agreement is significant for the Biden administration. It is an opportunity for Biden to score a foreign policy victory ahead of the U.S. presidential election in November. Saudi Arabia has been a close U.S. ally for decades, but relations between the two countries have been strained since Biden took office because of the murder of Saudi journalist Khashoggi and the Ukraine issue.


The United States and Saudi Arabia had previously negotiated an agreement, but this was put on hold after the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Oct. 7 last year.


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Negotiations between Washington and Riyadh have accelerated in recent weeks, with many officials optimistic that an agreement can be reached "within a few weeks."


The United States and Saudi Arabia have not yet commented on the issue. But the British newspaper The Guardian reported on the 1st that the United States and Saudi Arabia have drafted a series of agreements. Blinken said in Saudi Arabia on April 29, "We have been working a lot together over the last few months. I think the work that the Saudis and the United States have done on our agreement is probably very close to completion."


Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal also said the agreement is "very, very close."

No word yet on whether an agreement will be reached


According to reports, the latest news shows that Biden and Saudi Arabia on the agreement have planned a change. As originally planned, the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel were to sign a trilateral agreement, which included increasing investment in the Middle East and promoting regional integration, as well as establishing diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel.


Now, the United States and Saudi Arabia will sign a bilateral agreement and see it as an important basis for ending the current phase of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.


Therefore, once the United States and Saudi Arabia reach an agreement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be faced with a choice: adhere to the agreement, which means Israel will establish formal diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia and promote further regional investment and integration; or be left behind by the United States and Saudi Arabia.


It is worth noting that the Saudis have stressed on more than one occasion that the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel is conditional on Israel's cessation of the war in Gaza, U.S. acceptance of the "two-state solution," and recognition of Palestinian independence. But this is not an easy task for Netanyahu.


Sources familiar with the deal freely admit that Israel is full of doubts about the proposals and may not accept them.


"Netanyahu is the biggest uncertainty of all," Bloomberg reported, noting that the deal would pave the way for diplomatic relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia and help Israel stand up to Iran. But despite this, Netanyahu leads the most right-wing government in Israel's history, rejecting the two-state solution and insisting on attacking Gaza's southern city of Rafah.


Moreover, getting the U.S. Congress to approve an agreement committing the United States to militarily protect Saudi Arabia will be a difficult task for the White House.

Especially if Israel chooses not to join the agreement, the difficulty will be twofold.


And Israel may not have much time left. Bloomberg says the longer the Gaza war goes on, the less support Netanyahu will have from international sources. U.S. polls support this view. A recent survey showed that about one-third of Republicans, two-fifths of Democrats and independent voters in seven swing states oppose continued aid to Israel.



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