King Salman calls Donald Trump's visit to Saudi a 'turning point'

Israel has expressed concern over a major arms deal between the United States and Saudi Arabia
Israeli concerns over US-Saudi arms deal
Author

25 May, 2017

Clerics, who are based in Saudi Arabia and who enjoy a Riyadh government approval to work, freely preach Wahhabism, a violent strand of "ideology" that declares people of other faiths "infidels" - a practice known as "Takfir" in Arabic - and allows killing them.

He said the only sensible move by Washington was the nuclear deal it signed with Iran in 2015, when the United States "talked with respect" and reached a "win-win result".

US President Donald Trump yesterday called on Middle Eastern leaders to combat a "crisis of Islamic extremism" emanating from the region, casting the fight against terrorism as a "battle between good and evil", not a clash between the West and Islam. "That's such a strongly held view around the world, certainly among the Muslim world certainly among the non-Muslim world".

In an interview Monday with CNBC, Ross said he found it "fascinating" that there was not a "single hint" of protests during Trump's visit to the kingdom. Speaking with CNBC on Monday morning, Ross said there was "no sign of" protesters and seemed to suggest this was a sign of the country's goodwill towards the US. "Under Obama you had this attempt of the US playing the external balancer in the region".

"It's the deal of the century", says Fawaz Gerges, a Middle East expert with the London School of Economics. The threat of Iran, he told Netanyahu, "has forced people [sic] together in a very positive way".

Washington's alliance with the mainly Sunni Muslim countries of the Arab world against Shiite Iran is decades old.

Back in 2015, Donald Trump took to his Twitter account to criticise the fact that Michelle Obama chose not to wear a headscarf while visiting the Middle East with her husband. "Iran has stood by their side and continues to do so", he said.

Obama's outreach to Tehran reflected that reality.

"Many people are saying it was wonderful that Mrs. Obama refused to wear a scarf in Saudi Arabia, but they were insulted", he tweeted about her decision.

A senior US official defended the initiative, citing "a common threat from terrorist organizations as well as from Iranian subversion throughout the region".

Various reports, quoting anonymous officials, have said Trump did share classified information with Russian diplomats about the threat posed by the Islamic State group, and several have said that information came from Israeli intelligence.

Paul is expected to introduce a measure to disapprove of the sale later on Wednesday, the aide said, over concerns that the deal may pull the USA into Yemen's civil war.

USA arms deals for Iran's Sunni foes help bolster the case of Rouhani's hard-line opponents, who say any detente with the West is unsafe folly.

Telling allies that Iran is the source of problems "would mean that we have to start coming in and using our military power to settle scores". "You just need a small trigger that can escalate the situation on the ground".

As the protests that began in Tunisia spread to Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria, each uprising was inspired by the others. He also signed a $110 billion arms agreement with the Saudis. "And if you both are willing, we're going to make a deal".

"Doubling down on Saudi Arabia has a lot to do with trade and investment considerations".

While public statements on the peace process and the status of Jerusalem may dominate headlines, behind the scenes Mr Netanyahu will ask Mr Trump to impose new sanctions on Iran for threatening the Jewish state with ballistic missiles and sponsoring terrorism, Mr Oren said.

But the policy could be counter-productive, he said.


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