With so much of America’s foreign policy focused on increasing the global arms trade, President Trump feted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman today with a clear focus on dollar signs. Trump praised the prince over US-Saudi relations, and especially over all the weapons Saudi Arabia is buying.
Trump talked up last year’s $200 billion arms sales scheme, and promised to push through more of the sales in the coming months, promising the Saudis the “finest military equipment anywhere.” Trump added that the Saudis are “a very wealthy nation, and they’re going to give the United States some of that wealth.”
Outside of the administration, arms sales to Saudi Arabia are extremely controversial. This is because of Saudi Arabia’s atrocious human rights record, and in particular the large number of civilians killed by Saudi strikes in Yemen.
That same Yemen War, however, is driving Saudi arms purchases from the US and UK, as constant airstrikes mean they’re constantly needing to buy more bombs and other equipment. Despite warnings this makes the US complicit in Saudi war crimes, the administration clearly sees it as a straightforward way to keep increasing sales year over year.
The prince’s DC visit hasn’t been all fanfare and applause, however. with his 60 Minutes interview desperately trying to deflect blame for war crimes in Yemen, and defend claims that Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the “new Hitler.”