Is US President Trump ‘milking Gulf countries’?

Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst Marwan Bishara says US leader is taking advantage of tensions in the Middle East.

US President Donald Trump is “milking Gulf countries” and exploiting tensions in the Middle East to bolster its arms sales.

That’s according to Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst Marwan Bishara, who was commenting shortly after the US leader told Saudi Arabia it needed to pay up if it wanted the US to continue its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in Syria.

Bishara said the US was acting like a “mercenary” and putting itself forward for the service of whoever was willing to pay highest. 

The US was also benefiting financially from both sides of the ongoing Gulf crisis, he went on to add.

“While on the one hand, the United States does want Gulf unity under an American umbrella, I think President Trump is having a good time exploiting this crisis,” Bishara said, referring to the crisis between a Saudi-led bloc and Qatar, which has seen both sides sign lucrative arms deals with the US.

“Certainly he’s milking the various Gulf countries in a major way. I mean it was embarrassing even for the Crown Prince [Mohammed bin Salman] the way [Trump] brought that sign saying we are selling you this much hundreds of millions, this much billions in arms while they were meeting in the White House.

“For every possible service, he would ask for money in return.

“He’s done that with the United Arab Emirates, with Qatar, with Saudi Arabia, with Kuwait and so forth.”

Ostensibly at least, Trump has spoken against US intervention in the Middle East and described is as both costly and deadly in terms of US lives lost.

Trump told supporters at a rally in the state of Ohio that he wanted US troops out of Syria soon.

While initially taking the Saudi side in its dispute with Qatar, Trump has since taken a more neutral approach.

Source: Al Jazeera