Mon May 22, 2017 2:4AM
A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on May 20, 2017, shows US President Donald Trump (C), accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump (L), and Saudi Arabia
A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on May 20, 2017, shows US President Donald Trump (C), accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump (L), and Saudi Arabia
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US President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia is aimed at bringing about “a foreign triumph” in the wake of the “Russiagate scandal,” says an American scholar.

Dennis Etler made the comments in a Press TV interview on Sunday, while discussing a massive weapons deal recently clinched between Riyadh and Washington as well as Trump’s first foreign tour. The agreement is worth $350 billion over 10 years, and $110 billion that will take effect immediately.

“When US Presidents have troubles at home as Trump now has, their natural inclination is to seek some sort of foreign triumph to distract attention from their domestic problems,” said the political analyst.

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The Trump administration has recently been hit by several controversies related to his possible collusion with the Kremlin during the 2016 campaign and transition.

The US president, who used to speak against the Saudi monarchy, has now changed his mind and is trying to “shore up US influence in the region by supplying the kingdom with an unlimited amount of arms to pursue its policy of military confrontation with Iran,” said the Santa Cruz-based political commentator, asserting that the Republican administration views Tehran as its “principle enemy and Saudi Arabia as its principle ally” in the region.

Trump’s support for Riyadh comes despite the fact that it is “the well-spring of global terrorism and a gross human rights abuser.”

“In addition, Trump has demonstrated no concern for the human rights issues dear to the hearts of neo-liberals, which results in cultural imperialism,” Etler noted.

‘Back-room wheeler, dealer’

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump pose for a photo with an unidentified man after taking part in the group photo during the Arabic Islamic American Summit at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center in Riyadh on May 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Trump, who is set to visit Israel after Saudi Arabia, is resorting to such measures to ultimately please the regime in Tel Aviv, suggested the analyst, rather than whipping up support against terrorism.

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“Trump’s first overseas trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel is, therefore, not primarily about fighting terrorism but part of his plan to reinvigorate the US position in the Middle East, which is still the crux of US foreign policy, particularly as it is a potential choke point for China’s Belt and Road Initiative.”

By forming an Arab coalition supposedly to fight Takfiri terrorism, Trump wants to “better support Israel,” and “re-insinuate the US into the region as a back-room wheeler and dealer.”

“Trump’s antagonism towards Iran serves only the geopolitical interests of Israel and Saudi Arabia, who are the main logistical supporters of the terrorists,” he said.

Trump who had previously lambasted countries that “benefit from US largess” and want to get “a free ride,” is now fanning the flames of antagonism with Tehran for the sake of “the geopolitical interests” of the two Middle Eastern allies, he added.

The two are, therefore, being used as a “staging ground” for the country’s imperialist intervention, Etler said.

He concluded that Trump’s measure is a “natural outgrowth of [US] history,” indicating that it should not be considered a turning point in US policy.