Arts&Culture

David Ignatius: Saudi crown prince is young leader in a hurry

David Ignatius: Saudi crown prince is young leader in a hurry”

"A bipartisan group of senators attempted to force a vote on a bill that would curb American support to Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen, as well as asserting more broad congressional oversight of American's wars". Prince Mohammed has consolidated power and is likely to rule for many decades if he succeeds his father. Some members of Congress have been critical of the Saudi campaign, particularly the humanitarian situation and civilian casualties.

He says the relationship between the nations was "strained" during former President Barack Obama's tenure but that he and the crown prince have become "very good friends in a short period of time". And that was a very incredible two days, and we appreciate the investment in our country.

The visit comes as the United States and much of the West are still trying to figure out Crown Prince Mohammed, better known by his initials MBS, whose sweeping program of social changes at home and increased Saudi assertiveness overseas has upended decades of traditional rule in Saudi Arabia.

"This is a signal that there [are] a lot of things [that] could be tackled in the close future and more opportunities".

The prince is on a public relations blitz while traveling in the United States, with stops in New York, Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston.

"Your father made a very wise decision", Trump said.

Saudi Arabia's young crown prince has an ambitious list of to-dos: modernise his conservative kingdom, weaken Iran's hand across the Mideast and, this week, rehabilitate his country's image in the eyes of Americans. Last week, Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, an advocate of staying in the accord, choosing Mike Pompeo, the current Central Intelligence Agency director and nuclear deal critic, as a replacement.

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Iran signed an agreement with the USA and five other powers in 2015, freezing all enrichment activities for 10 years - an agreement that Trump, and, as of this week the Crown Prince, called "flawed".

Trump noted that when he was in Riyadh last May the Saudis had promised a Dollars 400 billion for the purchase of United States equipment.

"The Iran deal is coming up soon and you will see what will happen", Trump told reporters. He said a 10-year window for implementing the deal was already under way.

The prince is also due to have dinner with Jared Kushner, Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, along with Jason Greenblatt, the two point men in the Trump administration overseeing Middle East peace efforts.

For all his taboo-busting changes at home and risky moves in the Middle East, Prince Mohammed is still a mystery to the United States and much of the West.

Crown Prince Mohammed and Kushner have forged a close relationship, which has at times come under criticism in Washington for circumventing normal diplomatic channels.



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