The famed Crown Prince of the Oil Empire began the much anticipated U.S. visit not only to fortify bonds but also to scout from the Land of opportunity.
The incentive behind the trip is conspicuous as Saudi Arabia is in dire need of rapid and radical changes to keep up with their western associates, not only technology wise but also both socially and economically. Muhammad Bin Salman seems like the right man for the job and as his first trip to the U.S after replacing his cousin as imminent king, he wants to appear as progressive and rationalist compared to former elites rulers of KSA.
The embassy confirmed which cities would be visited by MBS, starting off with Washington, where undoubtedly the most significant part of the trip would take place i.e. meeting with President Donald Trump on Tuesday.
The #SaudiArabia's Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman #alSaud Meeting with Donald #Trump the #President of the #UnitedStates of #America in #Washington #DC
سمو #ولي_العهد الأمير #محمد_بن_سلمان يجتمع في العاصمة الأمريكية #واشنطن مع الرئيس الأمريكي دونال ترمب pic.twitter.com/XMEcEifa0i
— مؤيد محجوب (@moaidmahjoub) March 20, 2018
After meeting with government elites, he would be paying visit to Industrial and Economical hubs of the America, such as New York City, Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, where he will look to reinforce a positive outlook of the recent frenzied reforms on November 4rth that caused much turmoil for the international investors of the Kingdom and a large amount of motivation behind his trip to West is said to be dedicated to shore up their trust. The Saudi Prince agenda of strengthening US ties in fields of technology, finance, and entertainment was to gear up for the ultimate goal i.e. Vision 2030, which would bring about a revolutionized Saudi Arab and he is willing to pull out all the stops to further his ambition.
says Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, a Middle East scholar with Rice University’s Baker Institute.
The purge proved to be fruitful as Saudi government recovered a whopping $120 billion after releasing the prisoners who were arrested on the charges of corruption against the Kingdom.
Muhammad Salman has a cordial relationship with the Trump administration. The American President went to Saudi Arabia, as his first ever international visit after taking over the presidency. They visited Saudis’ new Global Center for Combating Extremist and deals as big as $350 billion went down, so now its American’s time to play host to the charismatic and imposing guest.
— Argaam Plus (@ArgaamPlus) April 13, 2018
One might wonder why Saudi Arabia needs the investment capital from U.S.A as for the past 50 years they are believed to be sitting on a never-ending goldmine. Well as from 2014 the oil prices have seen a staggering decline and saw Saudi lose $200 billion from their total of $700 billion in foreign reserves and had to slash utility expenses which included reducing the salaries of government workers, an imposition of value-added tax and cut subsidies for electric power and gasoline. Besides, says George Friedman, of Geopolitical Futures, “Who wants to invest in oilfields so easily bombed by Iran?” and pointed out that it would be difficult decision for the American government to provide aid to the Kingdom too.
MBS has made clear his plan for selling State-owned Saudi Aramco shares and he intends to realize much-needed capital through Aramco’s IPO and then invest that cash to build newer industries pandering to Vision 2030.Part of the plan is to also establish a sovereign wealth fund which would bring in highly essential greenback to the Kingdom by making international investments.
The Americans on other hand are to equally benefit from the visit and they plan to leave no stone unturned in welcoming the Saudi Arabian visitors. The main incentive is to further the nuclear power agreement which will help U.S to keep an eye on Russian activities in the KSA energy market and help to sturdy the U.S nuclear energy market. The deal is also profitable to Saudi Arabia by allowing them to gain from their notable uranium deposits thus cutting back on the oil export.
The U.S and KSA have a long-standing understanding mostly on all fronts and their fellowship doesn’t seem to stop in the coming future as Saudi Arabia has kept the oil prices in dollars despite the Russian and Chinese botheration.
However, both countries are at a standstill regarding the Arab world tremulous situation because of their varying views. Major issues being like Qatar crises, The Yemen War and Israel-Palestine argument hadn’t been likely to get resolved from the meeting during the visit but they had surely been discussed. Senior Trump administration has said that the United States and KSA will launch a trilateral dialogue amongst U.S., U.A.E and Saudi Arabia which will open a new avenue of security cooperation.
MBS and Mr. Trump discussions encompassed the policies regarding the crisis in the Middle-East as they both insist Iran is providing the missiles to Houthi rebels. Both countries will have formulated certain strategies on active Iran controlled zones while straining Iran’s clients in Lebanon. The discussions were all behind closed doors so nothing is for sure but these talks are highly likely to have happened considering the recent standing of both nations on the delicate Arab scene.
USA current support for Riyadh consists of midair refueling the Emirati jets and intelligence sharing. Whereas they could do without the former, the latter is vital to prevent collateral damage and minimize civilian causalities. The Saudi will continue to deliver aid but terminating intelligence will result in worsening of an already deteriorated humanitarian condition.
The US and KSA partnership has its ups and downs like the brash decision of the Jerusalem embassy move that was chastised by the Saudi rulers and perhaps a more appropriate discussion of it could lead to far less disruption of ongoing peace efforts in the Middle East. The KSA and US’s growing ties have also seen a backlash from many as Kingdom is deemed as US’s junior partner and not as equal comrades, with no choice but to entice every US president since Roosevelt. However, both parties seem unaffected by the criticism and continue to rack up benefits from a close relationship.
The paramount driving force of Saudi Crown Prince resolute decision to pursue American alliance is to procure pivotal investments for Vision 2030. As the Vision’s agenda also includes a shift in economic dependency from oil to a more technology-based which is the more potential and sustainable option. In the spirit of this prospect around $500 Billion investment has been set for a high-tech city called Neom, which would be a Red Sea luxury resort modeled after liberal western values and based on robotics and artificial intelligence infrastructure also an entertainment city is also in the planning which includes a park based on Six Flags Theme.
For some Western media, this makes Muhammad bin Salman a liberator of women. I can see Trump and the US Congress praising him for this. Arab liberals will cheer: never have Arab women been more liberated than on this beach. https://t.co/FPvFf5nZJv
— asad abukhalil أسعد أبو خليل (@asadabukhalil) April 1, 2018
The Young Saudi is positively eager to gear his country towards an advanced transition which will see it competing with the other leading technological countries of the world which seem to thrive by grabbing the reigns of the high tech industry and producing cutting-edge inventions which continue to bedazzle the world day after day. Saudi Arab plan to join the cream and have a resounding figure to lead them there. It became the first country ever to grant Saudi citizenship to an artificially intelligent robot named “Sophia”.
The American political influence is stretched far beyond Washington and to get familiarized with it one must go about different sections of the American Society. Muhammad Bin Salman has shown great vision in doing just that where any other Political leader might have contended with a visit to Washington, he went well beyond that, and was highly regarded as a result. This spells out to be highly favorable for US-Saudi ties
Reeling back to prevailing agendas of the US trip, a huge $15 Billion contract was pushed which included a broad spectrum high tech weapon purchase that involves a deal for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense antimissile system. Before the U.S trip, MBS made a similarly high profile arms deal promise to UK which will make KSA Defense the owner of 48 Typhoon combat jets from the BAE Systems, a British Defense Company.
The Powerful Saudi Leader met the big brass of the US President’s administration which included a Defense Secretary James Mattis at the Pentagon, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Crown Prince Mohammed also met with former President Bill Clinton and had Starbucks with Michael Bloomberg, a man who has triumphed in both politics and business.
The Saudi team was also to meet with exclusive Bethesda, Maryland-based defense company Lockheed Martin.
On March 24, he had attended several meetups to discuss educational matters in the city of Boston and also visited MIT which is allied with the Saudi government and Saudi Aramco on various projects. He is privy to the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects for Kingdom’s future progress. His visit to MIT and Harvard were in pursuit of this very purpose and to establish long-term agreements with the United States in the educational field .
The Saudi delegation headed to New York City on March 26, where he got to meet another big-wig, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, amongst other business forerunners. The 32-year-old has also attended a meeting with the United States and Kingdom Executives to compare notes about developments in the Saudi Land.
The Saudi Embassy confirmed meeting with Apple and Alphabet, the Google Parent Company. Crown Prince Muhammad met up with Philanthropists and Vanguards of the Tech Worlds as well as Defense and Entertainment Industries on his way to the West coast, he made worthwhile stations along Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. In Seattle, he was guest of Bill Gates in a meeting focused on technological views and exchanges.
The focus of Saudi deputation was predominantly the technology sector as it is going to be the substitute for the oil-based economy of the Kingdom.
The outcome of MBS visit to Silicon Valley, revealed by Aramco CEO Amin Nasser, is the building data centers in Saudi Arabia after having held talks with Amazon and Alphabet.
Los Angeles, being one of Prince’s most peculiar stops, is regarded as the home of the entertainment industry. He is the very First Leader of the conservative nation to have interacted with Hollywood. This portrayed a positive message of Crown Prince’s seriousness and determination in bring about many over-due reforms in his country and loosening up the regulations to allow public entertainment. He has started out by lifting a 35-year long ban on cinemas. Open public concerts, which allow mixing of genders are popping up around the country. Young generation which makes up two-thirds of the population is fully backing up the reforms, they seem dead-set on dragging their country to the 21st century.
The Royal Prince also enjoyed a meal with Hollywood Celebrities such as Morgan Freeman, director James Cameron, and The Rock who wrote a praised packed post on Instagram.
The Saudi Leader held dialogues with Energy Sector leaders in Houston, America’s Energy Capital, and a home of Aramco’s research centers and Saudi contained refining facility, Port Arthur.
— مؤيد محجوب (@moaidmahjoub) December 5, 2017
Washington set forth some demands as well, after satisfyingly catering to Saudi delegates wishes. Firstly, the Multibillion-dollar Company, Saudi Aramco, has been implored to have an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange rather than the in the UK And Secondly, Saudi Arabia has been accosted to cover the expenses that are resisting Iran’s influence in the Middle East.
It is no doubt that the Young Leader is a firm believer in education and trusts the youth to carry out their responsibilities in rebuilding the conservative state which has received a lot of bad press in the past and acknowledges that it not an easy task to amend all of that quickly and will take considerable measures and international goodwill .If the country is to progress, it has to expand the conservative view and embrace modernization, all this despite being a challenging task, seems plausible, considering the ambitions and work ethic of youth, in which MBS also has full faith.
Muhamad Bin Salman considers the US a very formidable ally and believes it can significantly assist in bringing about betterment in Kingdom. MBS traveled to the US with this positive thinking and the result of his trip is a success and the ties that have been formed since the Second World War have only been invigorated.