Will Saudi Arabia act against Hamas on pressure of US?

Will Saudi Arabia act against Hamas on pressure of US?

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a meeting with Saudi Arabia's de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday, stressed the importance of exerting pressure on Hamas. The meeting, which took place at the Crown Prince's farm residence near Riyadh, lasted approximately an hour and was deemed "highly productive" by Blinken upon his return to his hotel.

Blinken emphasized the United States' steadfast commitment to stopping terrorist attacks by Hamas, securing the release of all hostages, and preventing the further spread of the conflict, as noted by US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller. Both leaders reaffirmed their shared dedication to safeguarding civilians and advancing stability in the Middle East and beyond.

The discussion revolved around the recent violence initiated by Hamas, which triggered a significant retaliatory campaign by Israel, resulting in more than 2,300 casualties. Prior to the outbreak of violence, there were discussions regarding progress in US-led efforts to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

However, in the aftermath of the recent conflict, Saudi Arabia temporarily suspended this process. Blinken hinted that the Hamas attack might have contributed to disrupting Saudi-Israel normalization efforts.

For Israel, normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia would mark a historic development, following its diplomatic ties with three other Arab states, including the United Arab Emirates, in 2020. The Saudi Crown Prince is seeking security guarantees from the United States, and discussions on this matter are part of a broader diplomatic package.

The State Department noted that Blinken and Prince Mohammed's meeting also addressed various regional issues, including Yemen, where an uneasy peace is maintained between the Saudi-backed government and Houthi rebels, as well as Sudan, where Saudi Arabia has collaborated with the US in mediating between warring factions.

Blinken's visit to Egypt on the same day is part of his broader regional tour, with the aim of putting pressure on Hamas and preventing an escalation of the conflict.