For all the hype about the potential normalisation of ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, it remains vastly unclear whether the United States — the indispensable enabler and guarantor of such a deal — is willing or able to accept the kingdom’s conditions to reach an agreement.

In return for its cooperation, Saudi Arabia wants from Washington a formal defence pact, assistance in building a civilian nuclear programme, and expedited access to high-end US weapons, including F-35 fifth-generation fighter aircraft.

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