Trump: “the Saudi king would not last two weeks without US”
US President Donald Trump told at a rally in Mississippi on Tuesday that his ally Saudi Arabia and his king would not last “two weeks” without the military support of his country.
“We protect Saudi Arabia, would you say they are rich? and I love the king, king Salman, but I told him: King, we are protecting him, he may not be there for two weeks without us, you have to pay for your army,” said the president at the rally.
Trump did not say when he made the comments to the Saudi monarch, but they occur amid rising oil prices in the United States.
Saudi Arabia is the world’s leading oil exporter and the leader of oil producing at OPEC, which has been criticized by Trump for high prices.
Trump called King Salman on Saturday to discuss efforts to maintain supplies and ensure the stability of the oil market and global economic growth, according to the Saudi news agency (SPA).
Prices go up
Oil prices are rising. A barrel of oil currently costs around $75, following a steady increase throughout the year. The price per barrel was around $50 in October 2017.
The average cost of a gallon (3.78 liters) of gasoline in the United States was $3 in May, according to AP. Despite the harsh words, the Trump government has maintained a close relationship with Saudi Arabia, which it considers a bulwark against Iran’s ambitions in the region.
Trump made Saudi Arabia his first stop on his first international trip as president last year, shortly before Bahrain, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia imposed a blockade in Qatar, alleging the support of terrorist organizations and denouncing what They consider their close relationship with Iran.
Qatar has denied the accusations
“We defend many of these nations for nothing, and then they take advantage of us by giving us high oil prices, it’s not good, we want them to stop raising prices, we want prices to start falling,” Trump said.
The US military was stationed in Saudi Arabia since the first Gulf War against Iraq in 1990 to 2003, when the then Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, announced the withdrawal.
The presence of the US military in Saudi Arabia, home to the two most sacred places in Islam, Mecca and Medina, was strongly rejected by the majority of the world’s muslim population, according to opinion polls published by Gallup in 2009.
Qatar hosts the largest military base in the United States in the region. Trump has also put pressure on other US allies, such as Japan, South Korea and Germany, to take on more of the financial burden of his defense.
With information from aljazeera.com
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