21st Century Wire
President Trump embarked on his first visit abroad on May 19, travelling first to Saudi Arabia (May 20-21), and after that to Israel and the West Bank (May 22-23). The visits were very important, both regarding what was said, and what was left unsaid.
In Riyadh, Trump held talks with King Salman and his advisors and signed agreements for sale of US weapons to the Kingdom. He also met with the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, as well as those representing 55 Muslim-majority states, most of them Sunni. A ‘Riyadh Declaration’ was issued at the end of the visit.
There were several important outcomes and developments during Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia. First, Trump signed an agreement for sale of US weapons worth $350 billion to the Saudis over a period of ten years. Of this, weapons worth $110 billion would be supplied immediately, the rest being supplied later.
This is the single largest arms deal in history – more than what the Obama Administration sold to the Saudis during its entire term. Moreover, it includes advanced weapon systems such as THAAD, Patriot missiles, precision guided munitions, attack helicopters, tanks, and artillery. This deal will keep the US arms industry humming for quite some time.
On their part, the Saudis reportedly promised to invest $200 billion in infrastructure and other projects in the US. Trump wants this investment mainly in the ‘Rust Belt’ states of Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin – his core constituency.
This post was published at 21st Century Wire on MAY 27, 2017.