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US & Saudi Relationship: Why Saudi Arabia Loves Donald Trump

US & Saudi Relationship: Why Saudi Arabia Loves Donald Trump

The relationship between the two countries has remained cozy throughout Former President Donald Trump’s administration. He often boasted about his business ties with the Saudi Arabia.

When President Donald J. Trump chose Saudi Arabia in 2017 for the first overseas trip of his Presidency, he was showered with ceremony and surrounded by a herd of horsemen carrying Saudi and American flags while serving him with respect and love.

They projected giant American and Saudi flags on the facade of a luxury inn. They put Mr. Trump up in a palace. American flags were hung on lamp posts along strips of the highway.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and U.S. President Donald Trump walk during a reception ceremony in Riyadh
President Donald J. Trump chose Saudi Arabia in 2017 for the first overseas trip of his Presidency.

The friendship between the two countries had become particularly intense under Trump and Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Since the beginning of his Presidency, Trump has cultivated Saudi Arabia, placing the kingdom at the center of his Middle East policies, endorsing his stance on Iran, and encouraging its purchase of US-made weapons.

Trump has always proved his benevolence towards Saudi Arabia through several contributions.

The President praised the Saudi crackdown on hundreds of top business people, officials, and royal family members at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh in November 2017. He supported Saudi Arabia even when the CIA concluded that the mighty Crown Prince ordered the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, columnist for the Washington Post, in Istanbul in October 2018.

President Donald Trump turned down three congressional bills focused on halting more than $8 billion in weapon sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the latest favor from a commander-in-chief who made every effort to shower praise on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia while avoiding public criticism.

Trump stated that Saudi Arabia had been a great ally in their essential fight against Iran in a November 20, 2018 statement, shortly after the CIA concluded that Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, was killed in Istanbul on behalf of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s orders.

Critics say Trump has issued a blank check to the Saudis, and their crown prince in particular, and has failed to hold the kingdom accountable for the assassination of Khashoggi for an air war in Yemen that has allegedly murdered thousands of civilians and other human rights abuses committed.

trump in suadi arab

The Trump administration told Congress in June 2017 that it plans to resume sales of precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia, which Obama had suspended over concerns about the Saudi-led attacks that exposed civilian deaths during Coalition airstrikes in Yemen. 

Also, Read | Saudi Arabia courts abolish flogging as punishment – the Supreme Court

After the crown prince arrested hundreds of prominent businessmen, officials, and members of the royal family at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in November 2017 and demanded payment over alleged corruption, he praised Trump’s crackdown. Two days after the crackdown came to light, Trump tweeted that he has much confidence in King Salman and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, that they know what exactly they were doing. He added that some of those treated harshly had been ‘milking’ their nation for years.

Trump pulled every string to provide his support to Saudi Arabia, and they responded very well. 

Saudi conduct in Yemen isn’t condemned by Trump

Responding to a September 2018 congressional deadline, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo certifies that the Saudis comply with the laws of war in Yemen and allow humanitarian access, despite accusations from human rights groups and objections from State Department officials.

Saudi conduct in Yemen isn’t condemned by Trump
Saudi conduct in Yemen isn’t condemned by Trump

Trump’s reaction to Khashoggi’s death, the October 2, 2018, assassination of Washington Post columnist Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, ignited international wrath.

The CIA later concludes that the country’s crown prince ordered the assassination. But Trump stated on November 20 entitled, “Stand with Saudi Arabia.

Also, Read | The Democratic Party is considering major changes to its primary system ahead of 2024

The British-drafted resolution vetoed by Trump

In December 2018, the Trump administration threatened to veto a British-drafted resolution calling for accountability for war crimes in the Yemen conflict and for Saudi Arabia and other states to have full access guarantee for food and medicine deliveries to the Yemeni ports. Finally, a resolution with milder language was adopted.

Trump vetoes a congressional resolution to end US involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Trump vetoed a bipartisan April 16 congressional resolution ending US military support to the Saudi-led war in Yemen. The solution marks the first time both houses of Congress have passed legislation that uses their war power authority to limit the President’s ability to send troops into combat.

Trump vetoes a Congressional bid to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia and UAE. 
Trump vetoes a Congressional bid to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia and UAE.

President Trump blocks three Congressional laws that would have halted more than $8 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Jordan, including precision-guided bombs for Riyadh.

When Saudi Arabia and some Arab neighbour’s imposed a blockade on Qatar, Mr. Trump initially praised the move, although he later worked to end the rift.

Also, Read | United States withdrawal from Saudi Arabia: What will happen when America withdraws its support from Saudi Arabia

What was Trump’s comment on Saudi Arabia’s dependency on the US?

Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman applauded the empire’s relationship with the then US administration shortly after President Donald Trump passed a comment that the Middle East country would not even survive “two weeks” without US support.

Did Trump’s comment affect the Saudi-U.S relationship?

The Crown Prince admitted to a US-based publication that he loved working with Trump while adding both of them had achieved abundant in the Middle East, especially against extremist beliefs, extremist terrorism, and Daesh.

The Crown Prince and Donald trump
The Crown Prince admitted to a US-based publication that he loved working with Trump.

In response to Trump’s comment, Crown Prince said it was normal for allies to have differences of opinion, and one must always accept that “any friend will say good things and bad things.”

Trump began preparing the base work for potential new business in the kingdom shortly after Trump declared his run for Presidency. He signed eight companies with Saudi Arabia, such as “THC Jeddah Hotel Advisor LLC” and “DT Jeddah Technical Services,” etc.

Trump’s amity with Saudi Arabia provides a bulwark against Iran’s plans in the country.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s top oil consigner and the de facto chief of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC), which Trump has criticized for extensive oil prices. 

Despite the unpleasant words, the Trump administration has had a close relationship with Saudi Arabia, which it views as a defensive wall against Iran’s regional plans.

Also, Read | Saudi Princess Makes Public Appeal For Her Release later deleted

Joe Biden’s relationship with Saudi Arabia 

The Biden administration’s apparent efforts to punish and segregate Mohammed bin Salman over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi give us an idea about the unhealthy relationship between Joe Biden and Saudi Arabia. 

Joe Biden and Prince
Biden is flying to Saudi Arabia because he needs help from oil-rich Saudi Arabia at a time of high gas prices.

After undertaking the Presidency in January 2021, Mr. Biden announced a US intelligence evaluation that concluded that Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince and de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, was responsible for the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi dissidents and Washington Post columnists. 

Khashoggi was killed and crumbled in the kingdom’s embassy in Istanbul in October 2018. President Biden declined to speak directly to MBS, which is often referred to by Prince Mohammed. The government also announced the end of US support for Saudi Arabia’s war against Yemen.

There has been much speculation that the strategic alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia that preceded President Franklin D.Roosevelt and Saudi King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud was in danger.

After a year and a half, Biden is flying to Saudi Arabia because he needs oil-rich Saudi Arabia’s help during high gas prices. He is promoting efforts to end the war in Yemen after the Saudis recently extended a ceasefire there. The United States also wants to curb Iran’s influence in the Middle East and China’s global influence. But Biden didn’t receive Trump’s warm welcome on his first foreign trip after his presidential win.

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About the author

Nilam Hazarika

Resident law student Nilam is World Wire's go-to for all political crusades that involve a legal angle. Her ability to break down the complex legal aspects of political goings-on comes in very handy in delivering quality, information-laden, and well-researched content.

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