Saudi to sign trade, political deals with US

Ruben Ruiz
May 19, 2017

Toby Keith is headed to the Middle East to join President Donald Trump on his trip to Saudi Arabia.

"The president also looks forward to participate in a Twitter forum" in Saudi Arabia, according to his national security advisor.

The trip will be the first stop on Trump's first worldwide trip since taking office in January and will include political and commercial agreements with Saudi Arabia, Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi foreign minister, said on Thursday.

King Salman has invited more than 50 Arab and Muslim leaders for the summit, where they will feast with Trump at a banquet and "forge a new partnership" in the war against extremism.

Alani said the new USA administration recognises that Saudi Arabia is a "super-regional state" whose help is required to contain Iran and combat "terrorism".

"This is as much a sign of Saudi regional leadership" as of United States assertiveness, and aims to show the extent to which the kingdom can gather key Muslim leaders, said Adam Baron, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

Graham says past American presidents have been reluctant to pressure the Saudis because of various military and economic partnerships between our two countries.

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President Trump will receive an effusive welcome here from his royal hosts determined to underscore that once again Saudi Arabia and the US are close allies. However, when asked whether the USA first lady would have to dress accordingly, a Saudi Arabia official said Riyadh "usually doesn't demand" a specific dress-code, but rather "accepts suggestions".

Both nations fear that unravelling the Iran nuclear deal will make the threat worse, but the United States has been very clear to Iran that it is no longer the "golden" days of the Obama administration that let Iran away with numerous infractions. Senior administration officials have also criticized Iran's support for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, its ballistic missile activities and backing for militant groups in the region.

The country singer will perform at a free, men-only concert Saturday in the capital city of Riyadh alongside Saudi singer Rabeh Saqer, The Associated Press reported.

Allegations that the President handed Israeli intelligence to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a meeting last week may also come up. The partnership was sealed in 1945 during a historic meeting between then-king Abdul Aziz ibn Saud and USA president Franklin D. Roosevelt on board the USS Quincy as it cruised the Suez Canal.

For Saudi Arabia, the most significant event is the Arab-Islamic-U.S. summit, where it plans to showcase the kingdom's reach and drawing power. And they see a role for USA investment in efforts to shift the Saudi economy from its dependence on oil. The desperate effort to build up Salman's incompetent son as a credible leader would be amusing if it didn't have such disgusting consequences for millions of people in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Last year, Mr Trump slammed the country as a "money machine" that did not "reimburse" the U.S. for its support, then used a presidential debate to attack Hillary Clinton's acceptance of funding from Saudis, who he described as "people that push gays off buildings [and] kill women". Fifteen of the 19 attackers were from Saudi Arabia.

The summit is part of preparations for a new USA strategy mobilising the Muslim world against the Sunni jihadists of the Islamic State group, as well as against Iran-backed militias such as Lebanon-based Hezbollah, said Mustafa Alani, a senior adviser to the Gulf Research Centre.

Other reports by GizPress

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