BENADOR: TRUMP HOSTS SAUDI PRINCE, NOW WHAT?
President Trump had a working lunch with Saudi deputy crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman, and for once the President relied on the mainstream media sharing this news.
Let’s begin by saying the President got rave reviews from his guest and the Saudi press.
The Saudis welcome the Trump era, especially after eight years spent in a stressful relationship with the Obama administration over its handling of the Arab Spring, the Iran nuclear deal, arms sales and the war in Syria.
According to the Arab News, the Saudis view this first meeting only as “transitional,” given that the Trump Administration will explore relations with other regional partners as well.
Trump’s working lunch with Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also Saudi Arabia’s second deputy premier and defense minister, was in the “Old Family Dining Room” on the State Floor of the White House.
The meeting marks the first official visit to the White House by any Arab leader since Trump took office in January.
Vice President Mike Pence, chief strategist Steve Bannon, senior adviser Jared Kushner, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus were seen in photos in the Oval Office before the lunch, according to the White House press pool.
US sources with knowledge of the visit told Arab News that “Yemen is a primary focus” for the meetings, in gauging the Trump administration’s views and ideas for finding a settlement to the war.
Theodore Karasik, a senior adviser to Gulf State Analytics, told Arab News that the Saudi prince’s trip “is broad-ranging, crossing many issues and sectors” and that it sets “the next stage of the US-Saudi strategic relationship.”
Karasik noted, however, the different atmosphere and policy approaches that will face Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at this White House meeting, as compared to those under Obama.
“The Trump approach is different from that under the Obama administration, it is more aggressive and rooted in transactional foreign policy,” Karasik said.”
Interestingly, the issue of banning some citizens from six countries from entering the United States of America was a part of the discussion.
The Saudi position in this regard is that Riyadh “does not believe that this measure is targeting Muslim countries or the religion of Islam.”
“This measure is a sovereign decision aimed at preventing terrorists from entering the United States of America. President Trump expressed his deep respect for the Religion of Islam, considering it one of the divine religions that came with great human principles kidnapped by radical groups.”
Showing their willingness to cooperate, the Saudis confirmed that:
“At the same time, Prince Mohammed Bin Salman emphasized that information from Saudi Arabia proves indeed the existence of a plot against the United States of America that has been planned in those countries in secret by those groups that took advantage of what they assume a security weakness to conduct operations against the United States of America. His Excellency expressed his understanding and support for this vital and urgent precaution measure to protect the United States of America from expected terrorist operations.”
The parties discussed many of the economic files between the two countries.
They included massive Saudi investments in the United States of America in addition to exceptionally and mainly providing American companies with the opportunities to enter the Saudi market.
A good first meeting by the Trump Administration is always a plus.
And while it is excellent that the Saudi government is willing to welcome American businesses inside the Saudi market, there remain a few untouched topics with their many latent agendas.
Whether it is the Iranians, the Saudis, the Qataris, the Turks, or Shiites or Sunnis or Salafis, and so on, the real difference will happen if and when President Trump succeeds to have from them, any of them, that they do not support the Koran’s quest for Islam world domination.
On another note, just as they want to welcome America’s businesses in Saudi, the President should also negotiate that Americans have the right to practice their diverse religions with the same favorable conditions that Muslims enjoy in the United States.
That means, building several churches, Buddhist temples, synagogues, and Baha’i temples where their adherents can freely and respectfully be allowed to practice their religion when in Saudi.
After all, America even granted student visas to 17 Saudi students, moderate Muslims, who instead of studying, diligently prepared and carried out a plan masterminded by one member of the Al-Saud royal family, an Osama Bin Laden.
And so, happened that the small army of Saudi terrorists perpetrated the inhumane massacre killing over 3,000 defenseless, unsuspecting, innocent American civilians.
In retaliation, then President George W. Bush decided to attack Afghanistan and not Saudi. End of memory lane.
Other than that, it seems President Donald Trump had a great and promising meeting with His Highness Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House. To be followed.
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Thank you very much. Team-EB
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