An excellent note from Colonel Lang on US-Saudi relations after Trump's visit to Riyadh.
In the Middle East the village headman is usually referred to as the Mukhtar, the chosen one, chosen by the ruling force in the country, selected to administer the district with the backing of the government's money. I watched the show in the reception palace in Riyadh with eyes that may have seen the proceedings differently than many other people. What I saw was a carefully staged spectacle in which the Saudis brought together most of the political leaders in the Islamic World to witness President Trump's acceptance of Saudi leadership in the Middle East. In the Arab World when someone submits to you and accepts your money as a follower and tool, the culturally authentic thing to do is to make the experience as painless as possible. The Saudis will now expect that the US will understand that their $110 billion in defense purchases and $40 billion in contributions from the Saudi state's sovereign wealth fund will buy power in Washington and that their carefully and politely stated demands will be greeted with great receptivity in the future.
The Israelis are a bit shaky about this? Well, pilgrims, they should be. They have spent a lot of time and effort and a fairly limited amount of money constructing an apparat in AIPAC that successfully manipulates both US policy and public opinion. And now the Saudis have simply bought the same thing with all that money? This must be disheartening for the Israelis and their supporters in the US.
Considering a mammoth size of the contract signed between US and well known terrorist state of KSA, one has to now observe Russian-Iranian dance. As B of Moon Of Alabama noted:
But half of the announced $110 billion deal is supposed to flow into "local content" of those weapons. It will have to be produced in Saudi Arabia. It is a way for the Saudis to build their own independent weapon industry with U.S. know-how. Over a decade or two the country will have achieved some independent production capabilities and will thereby be harder to control by potential weapon embargoes. It will proliferate its products to its terrorist proxies. The weapon deal is shortsighted and bad long-term policy.
I, frankly, can not see any possibility of Saudis producing anything, let alone hi-end weapon systems, for a simple reason of this barbaric culture being good only at avoiding any productive labor by all means. The picture of some Saudi operating a 5-axis CNC, or some complex assembly line--sorry, folks, doesn't compute. If any Saudi atrocity (supported by US) in Yemen is any indication, Saudis and hi tech weapons simply do not mix. All this disaster in Yemen, mind you, being committed by the country whose military budget in 2015 was larger than that of Russia. And, yet--look at Yemen "operation".
It is, of course, too early to pass a sound judgement on what has transpired in Riyadh, but I am sure Tehran is getting closer to calling Moscow by now and it may be totally justified. As Colonel Lang observed, Saudi Arabia just bought herself a tool and its anti-Iranian nature is obvious. Iran knows that Moscow will not allow Iran to fall, so the game about to begin. But here is a catch for Saudis, unlike them, Iranians do manufacture things and seeing Iranian running 5-axis CNC is nothing special. I know for a fact, that 10-15 years ago Iran had excess of engineers and physics majors, some of whom, and you may have guessed it already, were taught in Russia.