Donald Trump’s meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman is a poignant example of how a statement is often only as important as the statement’s source.
If someone from the Arab world had called Donald Trump “…a true friend of Muslims who will serve the Muslim World in an unimaginable manner”, one could take this statement at face value and say that America is mending bridges that it had burnt with important Muslim majority countries.
However, when those words are from the Saudi Minister of Defence, it puts things into perspective. Saudi Arabia is currently committing a plethora of war crimes in Yemen, which America along with traditional Yemeni meddler Britain, have either ignored, excused or participated in.
Furthermore, Saudi Arabia has always been a primary culprit in financing and encouraging Salifist terrorists in their war against secular Ba’athist Syria.
Topping of the list, is the long term desire of the Saudi regime to weaken or destroy the peaceful regime in Iran.
During the US election, Donald Trump had few good things to say about Saudi Arabia and he even managed to incur the wrath of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. For those in the Arab world, Middle East and beyond who have long feared America’s relationship with the criminal Saudi regime, this was a welcomed development.
Now however, Prince Mohammed bin Salman claims that the meeting with Trump was an ‘historic turning point’, that would bring Saudi Arabia and the US closer together. This is hardly good news, especially for Iran.
Many in the Pentagon, the wider US deep state and Congress are vehemently anti-Iranian. Donald Trump himself has levelled strong words at Iran.
If the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia continue to read from the same script, it could spell trouble for Iran, a country which has not illegally invaded anyone and who has played an overwhelmingly positive role in fighting terrorism in Syria.
In the past, I have been critical of Iran’s role in Iraq, a role made possible by the US and UK’s illegal war on Ba’athist Iraq. But Iran has done absolutely nothing to warrant any kind of attack form anyone, let alone from countries with blood on their own hands.
Crucially however, the US side has been rather mum on the meeting. The positive statements have come exclusively from the Saudi side. There is a possibility that the gushing remarks could have been Saudi propaganda designed to undermine Trump’s credibility among those who favour Russia’s approach to Iran and the wider Middle East. Such a theory must be explored.
Donald Trump’s foreign policy remains largely mysterious, but if today’s meeting with the Saudi defence minister was half as positive as the Saudis say it was, Donald Trump may well be compromised in his ability to both keep and remember his election promises in respect of foreign affairs.
As with all foreign policy matters concerning Trump, it is best to wait and see what actually happens before passing judgement. Simultaneously however, one must be vigilant for any telling signs of what is to come.