“Saudi Arabia was there before the United States of America. It’s there since 1744, I believe more than 30 years before the United States of America,” Bin Salman told Bloomberg in interview conducted on Wednesday and published on Friday.
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“And I believe, and I’m sorry if anyone misunderstands that, but I believe President Obama, in his eight years, he worked against many of our agenda – not in Saudi Arabia, but also in the Middle East. And even though the US worked against our agenda we were able to protect our interests. And the end result is that we succeeded, and the United States of America under the leadership of President Obama failed.”
The 33-year-old king-in-waiting also claimed “Saudi Arabia needs something like around 2,000 years to maybe face some dangers. So I believe this is not accurate.”
Bin Salman also rejected Trump’s opinion that the oil-rich Persian Gulf kingdom should pay more for its security, saying
“Actually we will pay nothing for our security. We believe that all the armaments we have from the Untied States of America are paid for, it’s not free armament. So ever since the relationship started between Saudi Arabia and the United States of America, we’ve bought everything with money.”
The crown prince added that since Trump came to power, the kingdom decided to purchase over 60 percent of its needed armament from the US “for the next 10 years”.
“Before two years ago, we had a strategy to shift most of our armament to other countries, but when President Trump became president, we’ve changed our armament strategy again for the next 10 years to put more than 60 percent with the United States of America. That’s why we’ve created the $400 billion in opportunities, armaments and investment opportunities, and other trade opportunities. So this is a good achievement for President Trump, for Saudi Arabia.”
His interview came a day after Trump told a cheering crowd of supporters at a rally in Southaven, Mississippi, that Saudi King Salman would not last in power unless the US provided military support for the Arab kingdom.
“We protect Saudi Arabia. Would you say they’re rich? And I love the King, King Salman. But I said ‘King — we’re protecting you — you might not be there for two weeks without us — you have to pay for your military,’”, Trump said.
On Saturday, Trump said at a rally in West Virginia that although the Saudis “have got trillions of dollars”, “we don’t get what we should be getting” from them. He also stressed that with the support of Washington Saudi Arabia is “totally safe”, but “without us, who knows what’s going to happen.”
Pressed on how he would regard Trump’s humiliating and harsh rhetoric against Saudi Arabia, bin Salman said, “I love working with him,” referring to the controversial remarks as a “bad issue” offset by “99 percent of good things.” His response, however, prompted the interviewer to say that “it seems to be a little bit more than one percent.”
Last year, Trump signed the largest arms deal in history with the Arab country despite warnings that he could be accused of being complicit in the regime’s war crimes in Yemen.
On Wednesday, Saudi Arabian Military Industries’ (SAMI) Chief Executive Andreas Schwer said he expected to finalize the first partnership deals with South African arms companies by the end of the year, without mentioning the initial partners by name.
Last December, Russia said it was working with Saudi Arabia to finalize the agreement to sell the S-400 Triumf, the latest Russian long-range anti-aircraft missile system.
Saudi King Salman made a four-day trip to Moscow in March 2017. During the visit, Russia also agreed to sell Riyadh a Kornet-M anti-armor system, Tos-A1 rocket launcher, AGS-30 grenade launcher, and Kalashnikov AK-103, according to the information office of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation.
However, Saudi Arabia relies heavily on the US in its brutal war on Yemen.
Washington has deployed a commando force on the Arab kingdom’s border with Yemen to help destroy arms belonging to Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement.
Washington has also provided logistical support and aerial refueling.
Saudi Arabia and allies invaded Yemen in March 2015 to reinstate Riyadh-allied former officials. The coalition has failed to achieve the goal despite superior military power. Instead, some 15,000 Yemenis have been killed in the war.
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