It may be hard for some Americans to digest the Saudi delegation that visited the White House Tuesday. They left the meeting with President Trump praising him as “a true friend of Muslims.”
The Saudis were all smiles when they met with the press. Many U.S. diplomats and veteran intelligence personnel are still very cognizant that this is the same country that most of the 9/11 hijackers emanated from.
Nevertheless, this contingent believe Saudi-American relations have reached a new “turning point.” They were quick to praise President Trump as a “true friend of Muslims” all over the world. But what is the billionaire businessman’s real thinking about them as allies in the fight with international terrorists?
Trump has made it crystal clear he believes the Saudis are not paying their fair share of the economic hardship in the powers confronting ISIS and massive immigration from war-torn Middle Eastern countries. All the smiles may mask their true feelings about the president’s reaffirmation of Israel’s place in American foreign policy. Trump is a close friend with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
But a senior crown prince and spokesman for the group put it this way: “Relations had undergone a period of difference of opinion. However, today’s meeting has put things on the right track, and marked a significant shift in relations, across all political, military, security and economic fields.”
Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and the President apparently discussed hot-button issues like the border wall and illegal immigration, Iran, terrorism, nuclear power and weapons, and the economy. But it was the Muslim topic that gained most of the attention. The Saudis made it a point to clear up any misunderstanding that they thought Trump to be anti-Muslim or his travel ban designed to make America safer.
The Saudis believe that it is a sovereign decision aimed at preventing terrorists from entering the United States of America. Bin Salman emphasized their part in assisting the U.S. in their fight against terrorism.
Trump is a savvy businessman and he knows the importance of Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. But it can be assumed that the Saudi’s “productive conversations” are being carefully monitored for their actions and not their words.