GE & Blackstone Use Trump's Visit to Strike Saudi Deals; Congresswoman Condemns US/Saudi Arms Agreement
May 22, 2017
Reuters & Agence France-Presse & AntiWar.com
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) has condemned the Trump Administration's $460 billion arms deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia -- a country with a devastating record of human rights violations and a long history of providing support to terrorist organizations that threaten the American people. Meanwhile, GE used Trump's trip to sign $15 billion worth of deals with Saudi Arabia to increase oil production and finance medical health research.
$15 Billion of Business Deals with Saudi Arabia
Andrew Torchia / Reuters
RIYADH (May 20, 2017) -- US technology and engineering conglomerate GE said on Saturday it had signed $15 billion of business deals with Saudi Arabia as part of the kingdom's drive to diversify its economy beyond oil.
It came as dozens of senior US business executives met Saudi counterparts at a conference coinciding with the visit of President Donald Trump to Riyadh.
The agreements, which involve almost $7 billion of goods and services from GE itself, range from the power and healthcare sectors to the oil and gas industry and mining, GE said. Some of the deals are memorandums of understanding which would require further agreements to materialize.
Among the projects, GE will help make Saudi power generation more efficient and provide digital technology to the operations of oil firm Saudi Aramco, aiming to create $4 billion of annual productivity improvements at Aramco. It will cooperate in medical research and training.
Blackstone, Saudi Fund
To Invest $40 billion in US Infrastructure
WASHINGTON (May 20, 2017) -- US asset management giant Blackstone and Saudi Arabia's main sovereign wealth fund announced Saturday they are launching a $40 billion investment vehicle to finance infrastructure renovation in the United States.
The announcement comes as President Donald Trump, who has promised to invest $1 trillion in a major infrastructure plan in the United States, visits Saudi Arabia during his first trip abroad.
The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) will contribute $20 billion to the new vehicle, while the remaining $20 billion will be raised from "other investors," Blackstone said in a statement without providing details on the timeframe.
Ultimately, this new fund aims to invest $100 billion in infrastructure projects, "principally" in the United States, according to the release.
"This potential investment reflects our positive views around the ambitious infrastructure initiatives being undertaken in the United States as announced by President Trump," said PIF managing director Yasir Al Rumayyan.
Deterioration in US roads, airports, railways and other infrastructure costs each American family an estimated $3,400 a year.
"There is broad agreement that the United States urgently needs to invest in its rapidly aging infrastructure," Blackstone president Hamilton James said.
Trump's promise of major infrastructure works has yet to get underway, with questions remaining over its financing, as the majority of Republicans in Congress oppose a massive injection of public funds.
Congresswoman Condemns New
US Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard / US House of Representatives & AntiWar.com
(May 20, 2017) -- Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) today condemned the Trump Administration's new $460 billion arms deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia -- $110 billion immediately and $350 billion over the next 10 years -- a country with a devastating record of human rights violations at home and abroad, and a long history of providing support to terrorist organizations that threaten the American people.
Saudi Arabia is the world's largest sponsor and propagator of the extremist Wahhabi Salafist ideology that fuels terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda. Based on Saudi Arabia's history and track record, there is a significant likelihood these weapons will be used against innocent civilians or end up in the hands of terrorist groups.
"Saudi Arabia has spent hundreds of billions of dollars spreading their extreme Wahhabi Salafist ideology around the world, creating fertile ground for terrorist organizations like ISIS and al-Qaeda to recruit, while simultaneously providing direct support to terrorist groups who pose a direct threat to US interests and who are fighting to overthrow the Syrian government.
The hypocrisy in the Trump administration's actions toward Saudi Arabia began in February 2017 with the newly-appointed CIA Director Mike Pompeo presenting Saudi Crown Prince bin Nayef with the George Tenet Award in recognition of Prince bin Nayef's 'excellent intelligence performance, in the domain of counter-terrorism and his unbound contribution to realize world security and peace.'
This hypocrisy continues now as the Trump administration talks tough against ISIS and terrorism, while selling weapons to, supporting, and praising a country that beheads dissidents, oppresses women, persecutes religious minorities, atheists, and LGBT people, and is the greatest supporter of terror groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS in the world today.
This arms deal will enable Saudi Arabia to use US-made weapons in their war crimes against Yemeni civilians in a brutal civil war, and continue perpetuating human rights atrocities at home and abroad," said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
Background Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has introduced H.R. 608, the bipartisan Stop Arming Terrorists Act, which would prohibit any Federal agency from using taxpayer dollars to provide weapons, cash, intelligence, or any support to armed militants who are allied with al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups, and it will prohibit the US government from funneling money and weapons through other countries like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar who are directly or indirectly supporting terrorists.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard also recently sent a letter to Secretary Mattis urging an end to the United States' military participation in Yemen's civil war, where 19 million people need emergency support and which has never been authorized by Congress, and calling for a Congressional briefing on the White House's strategy in Yemen.
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