No human rights but “return on investments”

Human rights were not mentioned, but the Saudi Arabia-US arms deal seems to be a return on investments. Plenty reported it is worth $110 billion, but the figure seems to be higher. Despite the jubilant mood among some, warnings were given well before Bad Dude went off to dance with Saudis, that this arms deal may actually be illegal under US and international laws.

Illegal arms deal?

Plenty know Saudi Arabia is heavily involved in a war in Yemen – dubbed intervention. Plenty warned, the arms supplied by the US under the new deal might be used in this war.

Saudi Arabia apparently promised it will not use the “…fighter jets, tanks, combat ships and anti-missile defense systems …” in the Yemen war. Of course, once stuff has been unloaded, who knows where it might end up. Saturday, Secretary of State Tillerson actually stated the U.S. arms transfers are intended for Saudi actions in Yemen.

If the fighter jets, tanks, ships, anti-missile defense systems, “educators” and what not included under the deal are used in the conflict, the deal may very well be illegal. An US law professor was one of several legal experts asked by senators to carry out an assessment of this Trump-Saudi arms deal. He published a 23-page-long report.

The law professor and former military judge advocate general, stated in a letter “ … sale of arms to Saudi Arabia ― and specifically of arms used in airstrikes ― should not be presumed to be permissible … under the two statutes covering most sales of military equipment by the U.S government to foreign nations …

Not that the legality or illegality might worry the Trump family much. As has been noticed over the past few months, they are not that bothered by human and other rights, ethics, bullying, collusion, and worse.

As is usual with the current US government, a member of the Trump-clan was involved in the arms deal. It was not just the president. The New York Times already reported Jared Kushner personally brokered a better deal for the Saudis than already laid on the table. Why and if any personal rewards were involved, have not been uncovered nor reported by media – yet.

Of course, the US is not the only country which regularly strikes arms deals with the Saudi kingdom. Other countries include Canada, Britain, and others.

Yet another “returns on investments”

Jared Kushner’s is not the only Trump advisor’s name suddenly hitting the headlines because of deals with and funds pledged by Saudi Arabia.

The Blackstone Group is one of several US firms which benefit from the recent Trump family’s visit to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia pledged a $20 billion investment into Blackstone. Blackstone invests in toll roads, airports and similar infrastructure projects and public works – mainly in the US.

Blackstone’s CEO happens to be a billionaire called Stephen Schwarzman. Stephen Schwarzman happens to be “… a close adviser to Trump and heads the president’s business council.” Unlike Betsy DeVos and her obnoxious brother, Schwarzman seems not to have invested in Trump’s election campaign.

Yet it remains a shame, Trump nor his advisors are getting their hands dirty in cleaning up that Washington swamp Trump talked about while campaigning.

On the other hand, what a relief that – with Melania, Ivanka, Jared and others minding him – Trump refrained from ranting against Saudi Arabia the way he did while campaigning. Journalists noticed and moaned about yet another flip-flop. They forgot the Trump family has extensive business interest in Saudi Arabia – where Trump registered at least eight companies while campagning.

This family prefers not to endanger business interests.



About Kate

Multilingual arts & culture journalist, blogger, columnist, writer and translator. Contributor to international (news) media. 2014 winning columnist Gentse Schrijversdagen, Gand, Belgium.
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