Saudi Arabia working to dazzle Trump in busy overseas visit

Frederick Owens
May 19, 2017

Besieged by controversy at home, U.S. President Donald Trump is under pressure to stick to the script and avoid fresh flare-ups when he embarks this week on his first foreign trip, a nine-day trek to the Middle East and Europe.

Representatives from more than 50 Muslim countries will be in attendance during the address.

"There has never been a president taking his first worldwide trip being dogged by scandal like this", said Larry Sabato, head of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. As president, he's imposed new sanctions on the Islamic Republic, launched strikes against Iran's Syrian ally, and generally promised to get tough.

"Instead, he should offer a vision for a future in which Muslims and people of all faiths and backgrounds can live free of the oppression of dictators or the dictates of extremists", he said, adding that "a truly inspiring speech would focus on the universal desire for justice, freedom and human dignity". As he tries to calm allies anxious about his "America First" message, he'll be followed by fallout from his firing of FBI Director James Comey and the appointment of a special counsel to probe the president's campaign ties with Russian Federation.

The idea of an Arab Nato is not new. "Trump wants to undo all that".

Nevertheless, what matters here are not the facts, but what Trump and Mohammed may believe to be the facts.

GREG MYRE, BYLINE: Here's Donald Trump on the campaign trail. And he began his presidency with an announcement of a temporary ban on Muslim refugees and visas for people from several Muslim-majority countries.

Saudi-U.S. ties have never been better. White House officials said the organization will "guide the fight against terrorism and push back against Iran", but did not elaborate further. Saudi Arabia has provided ample business to USA investment banks and financial advisers working on the Saudi Aramco IPO. He says "expectations are low".

From Brussels, Trump would travel to Sicily for the G-7.

Saudi Arabia working to dazzle Trump in busy overseas visit

As a builder, they think Trump will be impressed by the construction.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters that the president would tell Sunni leaders to fight radical Islam. Trump has called it "an ideology that uses a perverted interpretation of religion to justify crimes against all humanity". Trump has previously said that he wants to see Arab countries do more to curb the threat of extremism, and has hailed regional leaders such as Egypt's Abdul Fatah al-Sisi and Jordan's King Abdullah for their efforts.

To read this article in one of Houston's most-spoken languages, click on the button below. There are no commercial flights connecting Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport to Saudi Arabia, and Israeli airplanes aren't even allowed to fly over Saudi Arabian airspace.

Saudi social media users have uploaded images showing the streets of Riyadh illuminated by the color of the American flag or billboards showing the faces of Trump and Saudi King Salman. Richard Nixon, after all, decamped on an overseas trip featuring American flag-waving crowds at the depths of the Watergate scandal.

After Jerusalem, Mr Trump will head to the Vatican.

The trip also comes after his administration chose to extend the sanction relief called for under the 2015 worldwide nuclear deal, leaving everyone still extremely confused regarding his Middle East policy.

Trump, who will visit Saudi Arabia first, had criticized the country during his presidential campaign past year.

The president's travel comes on the heels of a number of highly publicized controversies, including the recent firing of FBI Director James Comey. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted his report for Learning English.

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