US President Donald Trump has headed to Saudi Arabia
on his first foreign trip, which is chiefly aimed at forming a united front against Iran.
The new Republican president and his wife, Melania, left aboard Air Force One on Friday night. The six-stop trip also included visits to Palestine, the Israeli-occupied territories, Vatican, Italy and Belgium.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last week that the visit was aimed at getting Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations in the region to stand in “unity” with Israel and confront Iran.
The top US diplomat also said that Trump had purposely chosen the three destinations for his first foreign trip because they represented Islam, Judaism and Christianity.
Trump also plans to deliver on his promises to boost manufacturing jobs in the US by offering the Riyadh regime a wide range of weapons deals, Reuters reported earlier this month, citing unnamed sources within the administration.
According to Reuters, Trump may offer the Saudis an agreement with weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin for a $1 billion THAAD missile system, similar to the one that the US has already sent to South Korea.
A file photo of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile being fired. (Photo by AFP)
Before Trump’s departure on Friday, Washington and Riyadh announced the establishment of their first “joint terrorist designation” by blacklisting Hashem Safieddine, a senior official at the Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah.
Ironically, Hezbollah has been one of the key groups fighting the foreign-backed terrorists who have waged a war against Syria’s government and its people with help from Riyadh and Washington.