Trump Touts Arms Sales To Saudi Crown Prince, Discusses Iran
Mar 26, 2018, 01:02
Prince Mohammed capped his rapid rise to power last June by replacing his elder cousin Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who had close relationships with US intelligence and defense circles, as crown prince.
In December, Saudi Arabia was able to intercept an Iranian missile launched by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, preventing it from entering Riyadh, potentially causing many casualties.
Trump is touting close U.S. -Saudi ties during an Oval Office meeting with visiting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Saudi Arabia, a decades-long U.S. ally, felt neglected by President Barack Obama's pursuit of a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Riyadh's regional rival.
Mohammed Bin Salman, also popularly called MBS, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia in his current visit to the United States has been on a shopping spree for arms and ammunition.
Sitting side by side in the Oval Office, Trump said, "We've become very good friends over a very short period of time", and produced charts to show the depth of Saudi purchases of USA military hardware and what he said were the number of American jobs they are providing. He said a ten year window for implementing the deal was under way.
At the White House, Trump repeated his description of the Iran nuclear deal, negotiated by Obama, as the "worst deal ever".
After discussing the arms sales, Trump suggested that the United States could soon extricate itself from Middle East conflicts after years of involvement in Iraq and Syria. The two are similar in age - Kushner is 37, while MBS is 32 - and the Trump aide sees the prince as a key ally in curbing Iran.
"The deal is coming up in one month and we'll see what happens".
In response, the Saudi crown prince said: "We believe the same".
President Donald Trump on Tuesday praised USA defence sales to Saudi Arabia as a boost to American jobs, even as lawmakers criticised Riyadh's role in the war in Yemen where a humanitarian crisis has unfolded.
Trump traveled to Saudi Arabia in May on his first overseas trip as president, and boasted that he had come away with billions of dollars in business deals.
Discussion focused on means of developing trade cooperation and technology development between Saudi Arabia and the United States.
But he's also asserted power in the Middle East in an altogether new way for a Saudi monarch, detaining some of his country's richest and most powerful men in a stunning anti-corruption campaign that netted over $100 billion.
But as the talks took place, U.S. senators were debating a resolution seeking an end to American support for Saudi Arabia's role in Yemen's civil war.
Qassemi reportedly said bin Salman proved to be "an amateurish and mistaken liar" for his comments and stated his belief that his words show he is not familiar with Saudi Arabia's history and culture.
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