Trump asks Saudi prince to share kingdom's wealth through arms deal

Frederick Owens
March 22, 2018

One board titled "12.5 BILLION IN FINALIZED SALES TO SAUDI ARABIA" displayed photos planes, missiles, tanks, ships and details of military equipment munitions that Saudis has bought from U.S. manufacturers.

"Saudi Arabia is a very wealthy nation", Mr Trump said as he produced charts detailing the kingdom's acquisitions. He plans to travel to New York, Boston, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Houston.

Lawmakers have sharply criticized the war Saudi Arabia has waged with USA support over the past several years in Yemen, in which at least 1,000 civilians have been killed in bombing attacks. Sen. Still, Trump's administration doesn't want Congress to cut assistance for Saudi-led operations there, warning that without USA help, civilian deaths would only increase. The Senate rejected the resolution. The Saudis and their allies are fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels, but worldwide organizations have harshly criticized the coalition's airstrikes and blockading of Yemeni ports for contributing to thousands of civilian deaths and a humanitarian catastrophe.

The Washington Post's Fact Checker noted that while the numbers seemed to add up, that upon digging deeper, they found that "there's less than meets the eye", as numerous numbers only reflected "memorandums of intent" and not actual deals.

But the most delicate discussions could be about Saudi Arabia's nuclear programme, which is mooted as civilian-focused but could quickly become a platform for building a weapon.

The crown prince also has been closely identified with the three-year-old war in Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country, which started while he was defense minister.

Prince Mohammed capped his rapid rise to power last June by replacing his elder cousin Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who had close relationships with USA intelligence and defence circles, as crown prince.

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"Trump in his remarks before luncheon said, "... the relationship is probably the strongest it's ever been.

President Trump further tried to express his personal fondness to the Crown Prince saying, "I thought your father made a very wise decision".

The historic meeting took place after the union of the country and the announcement of the name of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 13 years after a long march towards aligning the divided parts of Saudi Arabia and the consolidation of security and allowing it to prevail throughout the country by King Abdul Aziz.

"There's nobody even close", Trump told reporter in a brief Oval Office appearance with the 32-year-old Crown Prince. He said a ten year window for implementing the deal was under way.

Hamza bin Laden was one of several bin Ladens who ended up in Iran after the September 11 attacks on NY in 2001.

The two leaders were also expected to discuss tensions with Iran, Riyadh's regional arch-rival and a country Trump has repeatedly criticised for its expansionist policies in the Middle East. The deal is coming up [for sanctions relief renewal] in one month, and you will see what happens.

The prince was also due to have dinner with Jared Kushner, Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, along with Jason Greenblatt, the two point men in the Trump administration overseeing Middle East peace efforts.

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