Deal Brokered: Trump’s Billion Dollar Saudi Ties to “Make America Great” Again

Trump plans to let the Saudis into America in a bid to privatize infrastructure in a billion dollar deal. But will paying road tolls to the Saudis be too much for the American citizen?

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A giant billboard bearing portraits of US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia's King Salman, is seen on a main road in Riyadh, on May 19, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia’s blatant human rights abuses, including oppressing peaceful dissidents, silencing journalists, the Saudi attacks against Yemen and public beheadings  – giving ISIS a run for their money – are unending. Even Donald Trump, on his lead up to the US presidency, blasted rivals for propping up the rogue regime and accepting money from them – a regime he once said was behind the 9/11 attacks.

“You talk about women and women’s rights? So these are the people that push gays off buildings. These are people that kill women and treat women horribly. And yet you take their money,’ Trump accused.

So why then the $110 billion dollar arms deal between Saudi Arabia and the United States? Not to mention the recent $100 million gift from the Saudis to a world bank fund inspired by Ivanka Trump to further women entrepreneurs.

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But what has largely gone unnoticed is the $40 billion in US-Saudi deals to privatize US infrastructure, rather than deal directly with American companies. The deal, made by a top Trump advisor, will effectively hand over infrastructure projects such as rebuilding bridges and roads to a foreign country. What stands out is this country is likely to be Saudi Arabia.

A 20 billion dollar investment with Blackstone was announced by the Saudi Public Investment Fund and reported on by The Intercept. Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone, is a key advisor to Trump through the Strategic and Policy Forum, which he chairs. The investment was announced during Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia, however, Schwarzman insisted it had nothing to do with the White House.

However, Yasir Al Rumayyan, the managing director of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund contradicted the Blackstone CEO, announcing that the deal “reflects our positive views around the ambitious infrastructure initiatives being undertaken in the United States as announced by President Trump.

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Although on the surface, to the lay person, it doesn’t appear to be much, Trump and his son-in-law advisor Jared Kushner are heavily entwined with the recent Saudi deals. Kushner’s business financing – $400 million worth – came exclusively from Blackstone. Saudi Arabia is now fronting half of the Blackstone infrastructure fund investment – $40 billion to be exact – to invest mainly in United States infrastructure.

Interestingly enough, other companies are racing to make billion dollar deals with the Saudis. They include Lockheed Martin to support final assembly of Black Hawk utility helicopters and McDermott International moving its ship fabrication facilities from Dubai to Saudi Arabia. Jacobs Engineering – is working on a joint infrastructure venture with Saudi oil firm Aramco to also manage business projects. These deals were announced during the Saudi-U.S. CEO Forum, which Blackstone’s CEO Schwarzman attended – locking in the Saudis’ growing plans to seize the opportunities delivered by Trump’s plan to privatize US infrastructure renewal.

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“Donald Trump brokering a deal between Saudi royalty and private equity magnates associated with both the Republican and Democratic Party is about as much corruption and self-dealing as can be squeezed into a single sentence,” said Jeff Hauser, the Revolving Door Project director. “This deal essentially constitutes the singularity of corruption and represents all that is broken with our global politics.”

In a nutshell, Trump’s idea of boosting America’s economy and putting “America first” is to let a rogue regime and the world’s largest asset manager take care of “making America great” again.


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