GUEST: Rahul Mahajan is the author of two books on the Iraq war: Full Spectrum Dominance: U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond and The New Crusade: America’s War on Terrorism. He is also a PhD student in sociology at the University of Wisconsin and the US Foreign Policy and Empire Correspondent for Rising Up.
BACKGROUND: After more than a 100 days in office, Donald Trump has finally left the country. Over the weekend he embarked on a multi-nation trip starting with Saudi Arabia, then heading to Israel. After that he will make stops in Belgium, Italy, and the Vatican.
It was strange that Trump's first foreign stop was Saudi Arabia, given his overt hostility to Islam and Muslims. Stranger still was Trump's announced formation of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, which is to be housed in Saudi Arabia. He also announced a partnership between the US and Saudi Arabia called the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center. Saudi Arabia has long been linked to the financing of anti-US extremist groups. Trump also boasted of a major $110 billion arms deal with the Saudis, continuing his predecessor Obama's legacy.
And, coinciding with his trip was a joint Saudi-UAE $100 million donation to a center for women's empowerment that Ivanka Trump helped to start. Trump had excoriated Hillary Clinton for her foundation's acceptance of Saudi donations.
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