As part of his first official trip abroad at the end of May, U.S. President Donald Trump will visit Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy and Brussels, Belgium.
According to a statement released by the White House, Trump’s meetings with King Salman and other key figures “will reaffirm the strong partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia and allow the leaders to discuss issues of strategic concern, including efforts to defeat terrorist groups and discredit radical ideologies.”
The goal may be commendable, but it is hardly attainable in a country like Saudi Arabia, ruled politically by an absolute monarchy and theologically by Wahhabism, both immensely radical.
In testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, Georgetown University professor and Middle East expert Daniel Byman explained the “paradox” this presents:
“On the one hand, the Saudi government is a close partner of the United States on counterterrorism. On the other hand, Saudi support for an array of preachers and non-government organizations contributes to an overall climate of radicalization, making it far harder to counter violent extremism.”
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