Contributed by Jim Hayes
In his first trip overseas, US president Donald Trump has sealed a new arms deal with one of the most brutal regimes in the Middle East – Saudi Arabia.
This is Feudal autocracy, essentially run by al-Saud royal family, which treats its subjects like serfs and metes out hard punishment, including regular whippings, stonings, cutting off limbs and execution. Most Saudi’s live in poverty, while those close to the crown live in unmanageable luxury, on the proceeds of oil money.
Saudi is also happens to be one of the closest friend of the United States.
Thus, the arms deal worth nearly $110 billion, which is to take effect immediately. The reason given for the deal is that it is to bolster security “in the face of Iranian threats”.
“This package of defense equipment and services supports the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of malign Iranian influence and Iranian related threats. Additionally, it bolsters the Kingdom’s ability to provide for its own security and continue contributing to counter terrorism operations across the region, reducing the burden on US military forces,” the US Department of State said in a statement.
While Iran is definitely the target, the statement also reveals that Saudi serves as a surrogate to pursue American ambitions across the region.
The statement also said; “This package demonstrates the United States’ commitment to our partnership with Saudi Arabia, while also expanding opportunities for American companies in the region”.
The details of the deal concern five categories that include border and coastal security, cyber security, air force modernisation, as well as air and missile defence. Hardware includes tanks, artillery, helicopters, light close air support, intelligence gathering aircraft, as well as patriot and THAD missile systems. Munitions include armour piercing Penetrator Warheads and Paveway laser-guided bombs. Extensive training is also included in the package.
It is known that a large quantity of military support is routinely going in the direction of ISIS and other terror organisations in Syria, as well as Iraq and there is good reason to believe that a significant part of the new package will go straight to these organisations.
Saudi is also involved in a brutal war in Yemen, which incidentally, is also supported by the United States and often involves attacks against civilians belonging to the Houthi tribe. Human rights organisations have branded these attacks as war crimes.
This reality flies in the face of claims from both the White House and the royal family, that the deal is all about defence against the threat of terrorism.