Key Points

Russia continues to make inroads in the Arab world, seeking to erode U.S. influence and to secure economic and geopolitical gains. Riyadh would represent a major prize. But Saudi Arabia has not abandoned its alliance with the United States. If anything, it is hedging its bets, while pursuing Russian cooperation in the oil market. If Washington wants to frustrate Putin’s advances, it must continue to counter Iranian aggression in the region. This is Riyadh’s top priority and the primary drag on its relations with Moscow, which continues to work with Iran and its regional clients. So long as this dynamic persists, Saudi Arabia will remain in the American orbit, even as it does business with America’s competitors.

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Purchasing finished weapons systems, such as Trophy, from one another that the other country develops independently is positive. However, deeper defense cooperation between the two nations could yield increased benefits. For example, if the U.S. and Israel had combined efforts on APS years ago, then DOD could have avoided the current capability gap it is now scrambling to fill. Therefore, the U.S. and Israel should consider establishing more systematic combined weapons research and development projects to together develop an array of cutting-edge military capabilities.

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David Adesnik is director of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Aykan Erdemir, a former member of the Turkish parliament, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. 

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Andrea Stricker is a research fellow at FDD where she conducts research on nonproliferation, Iran, North Korea, and other security policy topics.

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Clifford D. May is founder and president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and a columnist for the Washington Times.

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