Trump Fuels Islamic Terrorism with $110 Billion Arms Deal with Saudi Arabia
Unelected President Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia in May closed with a $110 billion arms sale orchestrated by Trump’s Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, but the deal is certainly not in the best interests of the American people or anyone else except the Saudi dictatorship.
The arms sale may indeed be what some White House officials have referred to as “the single biggest arms deal in history.” It also bolsters the U.S. position as the world’s biggest arms exporter, with about one-third (33%) of all global weapons sales in the five years ending in 2016. Its two biggest competitors in that business are Russia at #2 worldwide and China in the #3 position (but rising fast).
Although there is no official “war” to justify the sales, the $110 billion package will help boost profits for the U.S. military-industrial complex. It also continues to support the past model of such sales, with 47% of all weapons exported from the United States from 2011 to 2016 going to three main buyers: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Turkey.
Those concerned about the lack of a current war should not worry. The saber-rattling statements that were issued by the U.S. government and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – and directed against Iran – should allow those receiving the weapons some diplomatic support for using them sooner rather than later.
As the White House said in its issued comments on the $110 billion set of contracts, “This package of defense equipment and services supports the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the (Persian) Gulf region in the face of Iranian threats while also bolstering the Kingdom’s ability to contribute to counter-terrorism operations across the region, reducing the burden on the U.S. military to conduct those operations.”
An interview earlier in the month on Al Arabiya TV with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also laid similar groundwork for how the weapons might be used. In that discussion, he was asked about the possibility of negotiating peace with Iran and normalizing relations. He rejected both completely, noting that direct Saudi military intervention in Iran was a strong possibility. He said, “We will not wait until the battle is in Saudi Arabia, but we will work so the battle is there in Iran.”
For those investing in war, this represents just another wave of a long-term trend in the region. Thanks to actual wars in locations like Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan, as well as the threat of hot war breaking out elsewhere, this has been a banner business for arms merchants. In the Middle East alone, Qatar’s spending is up 245% over five years ago, with Saudi Arabia’s purchases up 212%. Overall arms sales to the Middle East were up 86% in the same period.
Via the current contract, which has the potential to expand to $350 billion over 10 years, Saudi Arabia will get access to many of the latest in modern weaponry. These include
150 Lockheed Martin Black Hawk helicopters, with a total of $6 billion in sales (Interestingly enough, this particular contract apparently helps out those suffering from a lack of jobs in Saudi Arabia, one of the wealthiest countries in the world. It has a provision that sets up Saudi Arabia, not the United States, as the base for assembling those helicopters.)
four multi-mission warships, with a total contract value of $11.5 billion
the rollout of the THAAD (Terminal – formerly Theater – High Altitude Area Defense) missile, with a net value of $1 billion
the signing of agreements between the United States and Saudi Arabia in support of Saudi Arabia’s missile defense programs and helping strengthen its air and naval capabilities
To carry out these specific deals and facilitate others, expert arms merchants and other oligarch sales representatives from the United States showed up alongside Trump at the event. Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, Dow Chemical, Citigroup, Exxonmobil, Morgan Stanley and a variety of oil services firms and investment organizations were present.
In parallel with those deals and in Saudi Arabia at the same time as Trump’s visit, General Electric signed agreements of understanding worth around $15 billion for a variety of services and equipment. The company also signed a contract to assist in a digital overhaul of Saudi Aramco’s operations, a non-military deal that has the potential of saving Aramco $4 billion every year.
Besides its possible support for overt military operations against Iran, now that it will be acquiring all this new weaponry, Saudi Arabia will also be well-positioned to continue to fight and destabilize other areas in the Middle East.
Notable among these has been its war with Yemen, which it has been fighting since March 2015 to restore former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, one of the Riyadh regime’s strongest allies, back to power. That war, which has had far less coverage in the West, has resulted in more than 12,000 deaths since it started. It notably includes a major ongoing air-strike campaign against the Houthi coalitions there using globally banned cluster munitions.
The Saudi government has chosen a less-direct intervention path in Syria. There, it has been supporting the Takfiri terrorist groups in a major ground civil war inside the country. Since Saudi Arabia began support of those groups back in 2011, an estimated hundreds of thousands of people have died there and millions have had to escape either within the country or outside its borders.
U.S. politicians almost always defend their fight for strong domestic military spending on the grounds that it supports “democracy and the American way of life. ”For Saudi Arabia, besides fighting wars, the new weapons provided by the United States will also help Riyadh support its totalitarian regime and the Saudi way of life.
That way of life includes one of the most repressive regimes against women in general. The following are some examples of that repression:
Women are not allowed to drive. Saudi clerics say that female drivers “undermine social values” and therefore would be a destabilizing force if they drove. A lift of the ban was proposed in 2014 – but only for women who don’t wear makeup, are over 30 and don’t drive after 8 p.m.
Only 15% of women have jobs outside the home. Higher-level jobs, such as the legal profession, were unavailable to women until 2013. The situation is so bad that multinational Olayan Financing Co., one of the companies present in Saudi Arabia with the highest percentage of women, employs women for only 3% of all its available jobs.
Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to vote in any national elections. They were only given the right to vote as of December 2015, but even then it was only for municipal elections.
Unrelated women and men are not allowed to be together just about anywhere in public. In those cases, the women are almost always considered the ones at fault, with punishment especially hard for married women consorting even by sitting in the near vicinity of men who are not their husbands. What this means, for those women either lucky enough to get a job or win an election, is that they may soon find themselves under pressure to resign from either of these positions so as to avoid being around the other sex.
Human-rights violations are also plentiful in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Those who openly challenge decisions and/or oppressive moves made by the Riyadh government are often charged and imprisoned for many years. Religious minorities are also discriminated against throughout the country. The punishment for such crimes is often extreme and terrifying, with the government in 2016 alone having carried out 154 executions, 23 of which were for non-violent drug crimes.
Finally, there is the issue of the support of terrorism by Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is the primary source of Islamic terrorism and the arms sold to Saudi Arabia will certainly be used to promote militant Wahhabism and support terrorists.
According to an op-ed by a Muslim, published in The New York Times,
Let’s be clear: Al Qaeda, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Boko Haram, the Shabab and others are all violent Sunni Salafi groupings. For five decades, Saudi Arabia has been the official sponsor of Sunni Salafism across the globe.
Most Sunni Muslims around the world, approximately 90% of the Muslim population, are not Salafis. Salafism is seen as too rigid, too literalist, too detached from mainstream Islam. While Shiite and other denominations account for 10% of the total, Salafi adherents and other fundamentalists represent 3% of the world’s Muslims.
Plus, the Saudi Arabian government, long known to have been a behind-the-scenes sponsor of the 9/11 attacks against the United States, headed by Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda and his people, is finally being taken to court for its role. It took a long time for U.S. legislation to allow for challenging the Saudis on these issues, but now that the appropriate statutes are in place, the much-delayed lawsuits are moving forward as of March 2017. One is on behalf of 800 families directly impacted by the 9/11 attacks on the United States. A second comes from a group of insurance companies looking to collect over $10 billion in damages directly or indirectly caused by the attacks. Defendants in this latter case include the Al Rajhi Bank, the National Commercial Bank, Dallah Avco (an aviation contractor), the Mohammed Binladin Co., the Muslim World League and others. See “The 9/11 Lawsuits Against the Saudis Are Happening for Real Now,” from the May issue of Trillions, for more details on that litigation in particular.
Why are Trump and his corporate sponsors so eager to support the most barbaric form of Islam and fuel terrorism that will inevitably strike the American people again? Is it just greed and corruption or is there another layer of evil and insanity at work?
Some of the many victims of America's weapons in Saudi hands will be kids like these girls in Yemen, who are slaughtered because some in their country resist Saudi Wahhabism being forced on them. Image by Gerry & Bonnl, CC