For the prince of the Saudi crown, the visit to the United States falls in bad times, and good




Amman, Jordan
If strategic relationships crave stability and reliability, the connection between the United States and its Middle East ally, Saudi Arabia, has faced more of the usual challenges of last year, perhaps especially in the last two weeks.

But with the young Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, coming next week to badess the links with the Trump administration and the country, he no longer needs to search desperately for a new point in the White House. man to replace the president's degraded son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Instead, the de facto Saudi ruler must arrive in Washington on Monday with a sense of confidence. In the current director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, the kingdom has an ally of the administration in its primary issue of Iran that has security clearance, the president's hearing, and is designated to occupy the position of maximum diplomat of the United States .

In short, the crown prince, whose own rise to power challenged the conventions of the royal family, may be prepared to appreciate how the recent turmoil of the White House gives, even as it fades.

As he embarks next week on a multi-day City Tour of the United States, Prince Salman will meet Tuesday with President Trump and other White House officials before meeting with business and political leaders of the United States. the whole country.

Saudi experts and badysts from the United States say the visit is an opportunity for Saudi Arabia to rebadess the investment it has made in the Trump administration and especially to seize the opportunity to push for change and political action of what it considers the more pro- The Saudi White House in decades. If there is any urgency, badysts say, it arises from the concern that the administration may one day be immobilized by a possible scandal or by its own internal confusion.

However, observers say that the Trump White House has operated in a way that the crown prince could relate to: a dynastic family that mixes business with politics, millionaires who give positions of power to their families and an atmosphere where personal ties-and sometimes vendettas-matter more than traditional facts and qualifications.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump at the Royal Court Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on May 20, 2017. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman quickly connected with Mr. Kushner, son-in-law of President Trump, another young man who he suddenly came to a position of power.

Going beyond Kushner?

US experts and Saudi experts say the prince quickly consolidated a personal relationship with Trump White House to promote Saudi interests, connecting with Mr. Kushner, another young man in his 30s who suddenly entered a position of power.

One year later, the results have been mixed.

Although the ties are immensely better than with the Obama administration, there have been rumors but no action, diplomatic, political or military, of the Trump administration against Iran, the sectarian and strategic rival of Saudi Arabia. Trump has issued strongly worded tweets and has denounced Qatar for supporting "terrorism", but the United States has not backed the blockade of Riyadh against its Gulf neighbor.

The Saudis have noted with concern an administration that is reeling from a crisis to a daily controversy. Even more alarming for Riyadh are the reports that Trump has cooled off with Kushner, who has lost his security clearance and is facing to a growing legal scrutiny.

"I think Saudi Arabia has undeclared but very real concerns about the chaos that is going on in the Trump administration and, in particular, what it could mean for their best friend Jared Kushner," says Bruce Riedel, Brookings expert Institution and author of "Kings and Presidents: Saudi Arabia and the United States from FDR".

"One part of this trip is trying to understand where the Trump administration is going and what their future is".

Iran, Iran, Iran

But if the Saudis may be losing a key ally in Kushner, they won a key partner this week for their number one diplomatic and political priority.

As a congressman in 2014 and 2015, the candidate of Secretary of State, Pompeo, repeatedly defended the military attacks against Iran. As director of the CIA, he has met with Saudi leaders and has reportedly established a relationship with Saudi leaders, especially Salman, according to US experts and Saudi experts.

"The nominee Mike Pompeo deeply appreciates the fundamental role that Saudi Arabia played in terms of countering violent extremist groups, and spoke about the destabilizing and destructive role that Iran has played in the region," says Fahad Nazer, a political adviser of the Embbady of Saudi Arabia in Washington that does not speak on your behalf.

"I think there is a lot of agreement on some very important policy issues, and there will be a very good relationship between him and the Saudi leadership."

While Trump has cited the abandonment of the Iranian nuclear agreement as a priority and a point of conflict with outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, other observers say that the treaty itself is not necessarily a priority for Riyadh, which will boost the adoption of additional measures.

In contrast, Saudi Arabia will probably push the US UU to fight the militias backed by Iran, confirmed and alleged, in Iraq, Yemen and Syria; interrupt the flow of Iranian militants and weapons in the Arab world; and increase the pressure to isolate Tehran economically and politically to counter its presumed agenda of hegemony and regional interference.

Saudi and American experts say that Riyadh will also urge the United States to support its economic blockade of Qatar and diplomatically isolate the Gulf nation, another issue in which Mr. Tillerson disagreed with Trump and the Saudis.

Nuclear aspirations

The crown prince has his eyes on another prize in Washington: a nuclear agreement.

Saudi Arabia is finally pushing its nuclear energy program a decade ago, with plans to build up to 16 reactors to produce 15 percent of the kingdom's energy needs by 2040, an $ 80 billion project that has attracted the interest of the energy companies of the United States, France and Russia.

Previous negotiations with the Obama administration for a nuclear cooperation agreement collapsed in 2015. Riyadh refused to renounce uranium enrichment and reprocessing plutonium: key technologies for development. a nuclear weapon and a concession made by the United Arab Emirates that paved the way for its own agreement with the United States. UU in 2009.

In Washington, fears persist that, even if the project is peaceful, Riyadh can use uranium enrichment as a back door for a nuclear weapon and ignite a nuclear arms race with Iran.

These fears came to the forefront with reports of a warning issued by the crown prince, who also serves as Saudi Arabia's defense minister, that the kingdom would develop a nuclear bomb if it believed Iran had done so.

"Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but certainly if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will do it as soon as possible," the prince told CBS in an interview, whose excerpt was published on Thursday. [19659004] With the Trump administration looking to revive the US nuclear industry The US observers say that Salman is likely to push for a nuclear cooperation agreement – one without a provision banning uranium enrichment – by personally hanging the prospect of billions of dollars in possible contracts for US firms.

Change of image?

In an effort to change the image of the kingdom and reach possible allies beyond the Trump White House, Salman is also using his tour across the country to promote recent social and legal reforms to mark himself as a progressive reformer.

The prince is likely to highlight a series of reforms that have shaken the kingdom's conservative core: allowing women the right to lead and serve in the military, lifting a ban on theaters and music concerts, and control of the powers of the religious police.

It will also play its role as an ally in the war against extremism, emphasizing the exchange of intelligence from Riyadh with the USA. US, its commitment to combat extremist speeches and sermons, and Saudi Arabia's renewed commitment to "moderate Islam."

In a visit that includes talks with executives from Apple and Amazon and a stop in Silicon Valley, the crown prince will also sell his strategy of economic reform. Its called Vision 2030 calls to open Saudi Arabia until the investment, to pbad of the petroleum and to open the preservative kingdom to the tourism, the cultural events and the arts.

But the prince's sales pitch will likely face some resistance on recent high-profile Saudi initiatives.

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Senators from both sides prepare a joint resolution to prevent the participation and support of the United States war in Yemen, in which more than 10,000 civilians have been killed. According to reports, the United States has provided the Saudis with intelligence, fuel, logistics and millions of dollars in ammunition.

And recent coverage in the US press has included reports this week alleging the use of torture by the Saudis, and before the arrest of more than 100 high-profile Saudi princes and businessmen accused of corruption who they were forced to turn over badets to the Saudi government.


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