By Tripp Skinner
U.S. President Donald Trump met with Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman recently at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. Just the meeting itself confirms that “American/Saudi relations are back on track, near normal levels,” declared Saudi dissident and head of The Gulf Institute in Washington, D.C., Ali al-Ahmed.
The American relationship with Saudi Arabia is very important in the eyes of President Trump who, as Washington attempts to contain Tehran, views the sale of American arms and the geopolitical alliance with the Kingdom as more important than internal Saudi politics.
“It’s an honor to be with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, a friend of mine, a man who has really done things in the last five years in terms of opening up Saudi Arabia,” Trump said in an appearance with bin Salman. “And I think especially what you’ve done for women. I’m seeing what’s happening; it’s like a revolution in a very positive way,” were some of Trump’s remarks reported by Newsweek.
Al-Ahmed believes Trump engineered the rebound in order to counter Iranian influence in the Middle East. “MBS will now likely come to New York in September for the United Nations General Assembly,” he added.
Earlier this year, Trump also vetoed legislation in Congress that would have ended American involvement in the Saudi-led war against Islamist elements in Yemen.
“As you know, Saudi Arabia is a purchaser of American products and especially of America military equipment…we appreciate that they do,” Trump continued. “It’s about relationship. Otherwise, you end up in very bad wars and lots of problems.”
Speaking later to reporters regarding the murder of Saudi national Jamal Khashoggi in the Kingdom’s consulate in Turkey, Trump declared, “I’m extremely angry and unhappy about a thing like that taking place,” he said, again touting the U.S. military equipment purchased by the Middle Eastern country. “But as of this moment, more than 13 people are being prosecuted, and I hear the numbers are going to be going up… They’ve taken it very, very seriously.”
(Tripp Skinner is a consultant and contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense.)