Trump, Saudi Arabia prince bond over arms deals, hostility to Iran

22 March, 2018, 01:15 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Arrival Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is welcomed upon his arrival in the U.S. yesterday

During an interview with 60 Minutes, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accused Iran of hosting and supporting al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama Bin Laden's son, who is the new leader of the terrorist outfit.

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

Asked whether he was prepared to pull the United States out of the deal, Trump said "we're going to see what happens".

"We'll see what happens", Trump said.

"Trump in his remarks before luncheon said, "... the relationship is probably the strongest it's ever been. Prince laughed on the way Trump was describing the defence deals between the two countries.

"It is an honor to have the crown prince of Saudi Arabia with us", Trump said as the pair prepared to have lunch in the Cabinet Room.

Mohammed Bin Salman during the meet, hailed the history of his country's relations with US.

Trump said the U.S. has "zero tolerance" for funding of terrorism.

But an all-out PR campaign created to burnish the prince's image, and declarations that "relations have never been better", mask several problems that could spoil the honeymoon.

Trump ducked a question about the issue on Tuesday.


The rift between Iran and Saudi Arabia is another reason why Bin Salman is hell bent to buy multibillion-dollar arms.

The 15, mostly Democratic, co-sponsors are trying for the first time to take advantage of a provision in the 1973 War Powers Act that allows any senator to introduce a resolution on whether to withdraw U.S. armed forces from a conflict not authorised by Congress.

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.

The Saudis and their allies are fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels, but global organizations have harshly criticized the coalition's airstrikes and blockading of Yemeni ports for contributing to thousands of civilian deaths and a humanitarian catastrophe.

They also discussed nuclear cooperation.

Saudi Arabia's nuclear program is "a massive contract that also has massive geopolitical implications", according to the Soufan Group, another political consultancy.

But if these niggles turn into full disputes, it is likely to be only behind closed doors.

"We believe the opportunities are very huge" said Prince Mohammed.

He is on a public relations blitz while traveling in the United States, with stops in New York, Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston.

The reason why he was warmly welcomed on his visit to Britain, and is now welcomed in the U.S., is because he began implementing his planned program two years ago.

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