On May 19, US president Donald Trump started his trip abroad, the first international trip of his presidency. He visited Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Europe. The trip itinerary and agenda made it very clear that Trump’s administration with the help of Saudi Arabia and NATO countries are preparing for more wars and occupations.
Trump’s first stop was the Saudi capital Riyadh. Upon his arrival Trump was met with fanfare, red carpet and the big smile of the Saudi King and dignitaries. Saudi Arabia went above and beyond to provide a lavish royal welcome to the US president. Several news media reported that “prior to Trump's arrival, the capital of Riyadh was flush with banners and billboards depicting Trump” and that “the cost of this extravagance is not known precisely, though an initial bill for $68m has been leaked”. The Saudi government has even created a special website to promote this visit with a countdown worthy of the release of an action movie.
Why the trip to Saudi Arabia?
One wonders why is Saudi Arabia going above and beyond to please US president Donald Trump. The same Donald Trump that run a campaign of fear mongering and bigotry against Islam and people from Middle East & North Africa. Suddenly now Saudi Arabia is trying to portray Trump as a friend of Islam and Muslim countries. The realty is that neither the Saudi government nor the Trump administration really care about the well being of people in the Middle East and North Africa.
With the full backing of the United States, Saudi Arabia has been waging an illegal and criminal bombing campaign against the people of Yemen for over two years under the pretext of bringing stability back to the country. They have only brought more death and destruction, Yemen’s Legal Center for Rights and Development, estimates the civilian death toll at over 12,000 people. The US has been supporting politically and militarily this bombing campaign. According to The Intercept, “the U.S. has supplied Saudi Arabia with more than $20 billion worth of weapons during its Yemen campaign, including thousands of MK-82 bombs.”
Outside of the lavish, awkward and over-exaggerated photo-ops of Trump and the Saudi royals, one highlight from Trump’s visit was the signing of a $110 billion weapons deal between Saudi Arabia and the US. The Washington Post reported that this deal forms part of a 10-year, $350 billion agreement in a “strategic vision” between the two countries. The White House said in a statement that the arms deal will bolster "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."
The US is clearly giving the green light to their Saudi puppets to carry on with their war on Yemen and their funding of the so called ‘rebels’ in Syria and Libya. The US wants to gain complete hegemony over countries of the Middle East and North Africa, arming Saudi Arabia and supporting their military endeavours is part of that strategy.
Why the trip to Israel?
Trump’s next tour stop was Israel where he was warmly welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. In brief remarks Trump gave during a ceremony upon his arrival, he said he had come "to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between the United States and the state of Israel". Trump and Netanyahu praised each other and spoke of hopes for stability and a peace deal in the region, keeping tradition with the over 25 years long illusions of peace negotiations. These endless peace talks ignore the demands and reality of the Palestinian people and serve as a cover for the Israeli government to continue its illegal expansion in Palestinian land.
The Palestinian people were not fooled by Trump and Netanyahu’s rotten olive branch. As Trump was meeting with Israeli officials, Palestinian businesses were closed in the West Bank as part of a general strike in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails. Protesters took to the streets and blocked roads in the West Bank in what was called the ‘Day of Rage’. Banners and signs held by protesters read “Trump’s visit is for selling illusion and stepping on Palestinian rights” and “Resistance is not terrorism”.
Trump’s short stop at Bethlehem and his meeting with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has not appeased the anger of the Palestinian people, nor did it duped them into thinking that the United States cares about their lives and well being. Trump’s visit to Israel is no sign of peace, its goal is to give assurance to Israel to pursue their killing of Palestinians and the theft of their land.
Trump & NATO countries
After his visit to the middle east, Trump flew to Europe to participate at the G7 and NATO meetings. The mainstream media focused on covering “Trump’s European Misadventures”, his awkward handshakes, his shoving of the Montenegro Prime Minister to get in the front of a photo and his asking of NATO countries to “pay their fair share”.
Behind all this media frenzy, Trump’s request form other NATO countries to increase their military spending is not strange to US policy. President George W. Bush and Barack Obama both pressed NATO to increase military spending. Trump might not be the smooth and charismatic speaker that Barack Obama was but he is basically continuing and increasing the US drive for war and occupation. Trump is all full of empty threats and rhetoric! The actions of his administration are the prove that the United Sates ultimate goal is for further expansion and enlargement of NATO.
On April 11, 2017, President Trump signed the treaty allowing the country of Montenegro to join NATO after the US Senate on March 28 voted overwhelmingly to back this move. If the Trump administration was truly worried about NATO countries not contributing enough why is it so keen on admitting a new NATO member that will have, by far, the smallest military budget in the alliance? The US and NATO countries do not diverge in their goal to increase their hegemony over eastern European countries and flex their military muscles against Russia.
Trump is a war president
The US has been leading a new era of war and occupation for the last 16 years which has caused death and destruction in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and many other countries. Trump is continuing and accelerating this war legacy. His boost to the US defense spending in the 2018 budget and his first international trip are a clear signal of his warmongering agenda.
As progressive, antiwar and human loving people we need to step forward and unite to resist and fight back against this new bloody and criminal war drive by the US government and their puppet allies.
US Hands of the Middle East
US hands of North Africa!
No to war and occupation! Yes to self-determination!
Follow Azza on Twitter: @Azza_R14
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