(translated by Mideast Mirror Ltd)
Rome, 16th of March 2017, Nena News – We do not know what lies behind U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to bring forward the date of his meeting with Saudi Deputy Crown-Prince Mohammad bin Salman from Thursday, as had been originally agreed, to Tuesday evening, or why he was invited to dinner (in the White House).
But what this warm welcome and the presidential invitation that paved the way for it suggest is that the U.S, (or the current administration at least) has adopted its Saudi guest as Saudi Arabia’s next king, and as Washington’s strongman in the Arab Gulf region, and perhaps in the Arab region, as well.
President Trump is a businessman and knows the Gulf region well. And Prince Mohammad bin Salman is the leading official in charge of all of the Kingdom’s economic files, as well as being a businessman himself. He owns many major companies in the country, both before and after he was appointed to his current state posts, and he aspires to establishing a sovereign investment fund that could be the largest in the world as part of the ‘2030 vision’ and that is based on the sale of 5% of the ARAMCO oil company whose value is estimated at around two-trillion dollars.
The sudden adoption of Prince Mohammad bin Salman came as a surprise and corrected a growing impression that the U.S. administration is wagering on his ‘opponent’ or competitor’ Interior Minister and Crown-Prince Mohammad bin Nayef, as the strongman on whom it is wagering in the Kingdom and the Gulf region.
That impression took root after CIA Director Michael Pompeo’s recent visit to Riyadh as part of his Middle Eastern tour. He made sure to meet with Prince bin Nayef to the exclusion of others, including King Salman bin ‘Abdelaziz. He also ignored Prince Mohammad bin Salman and granted bin Nayef the ‘George Tenet Medal’ in recognition of his efforts in intelligence work and his major contribution to the fight against terrorism.
But President Trump has totally dispelled that impression by inviting Prince bin Salman in particular to Washington. For Trump realizes that this man has received all economic, political, security, and military powers from his father, and has the first and final say in the Kingdom’s decisions. Despite his youth – he is 31 years old – he was behind the decision to go to war in Yemen, the decision to sell off shares in the sacred and milk-rich Saudi cow ARAMCO, and the founder of the Arab/Islamic coalition [against Iran and ISIS].
A number of burning issues are certain to be on the agenda of the talks between President Trump and his Saudi guest. These include the war in Syria, the [Saudi-led] military intervention in Yemen, and how to deal with Iran’s political and military expansion in the region. But we believe that the most important issue has to do with what the new U.S. president can secure from Saudi Arabia’s billions of dollars, directly or indirectly: first, in return for offering it U.S. protection, and then, for saddling it with the cost of U.S. policy in the Middle East. The latter includes the cost of a military intervention in Syria to establish safe zones and liberate Raqqa, the bill of the coming peaceful or military confrontation with Iran, and the cost of the U.S. war on al-Qa’ida in Yemen.
President Trump has said that the Gulf states ‘have nothing but money.’ He also said that they owe their existence to the U.S., and that they would otherwise not have lasted till now. In this regard, raialyoum has found out that Trump asked the Emir of Kuwait in his telephone call with him a few months ago to pay the sum of nine billion dollars, which is what remains of the cost of liberating Kuwait in 1991.
Saudi Oil Minister Dr. Khaled al-Faleh, who is very close to Prince bin Salman, has told the press (in statements that may have been instigated by the Prince) that the Kingdom may invest in shale oil projects in the U.S. He seemed to be paving the way for compliance with American demands in this regard, falling in line behind Trump’s election promises to invest in U.S. infrastructural projects as means of invigorating the economy and creating new jobs.
It may be unwise to pass hasty judgments and better to wait for what may be leaked from this meeting – at least from the American side, since ‘transparency’ is not one of the Saudi side’s characteristics anyway.
But what may be said very succinctly is that with this meeting, Prince bin Salman has received a strong impetus from the U.S., which may accelerate his accession to the throne in the Kingdom and that most of his talks with the U.S. president will either pave the way or strengthen the prospect of realizing his ambitions in this regard.