Follow the Money: Hidden Nature of US-Saudi Relations

© AP Photo / Hassan AmmarUS and Saudi flags flutter on a main road in the Saudi capital Riyadh (File)
US and Saudi flags flutter on a main road in the Saudi capital Riyadh (File) - Sputnik International
A controversy involving US President Trump’s upcoming state visits, his first since taking office, may suggest that despite changes in the White House the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues to hold considerable sway in the US politics.

Saudi soldiers are seen on top of their tank deployed at the Saudi-Yemeni border, in Saudi Arabia's southwestern Jizan province, on April 13, 2015 - Sputnik International
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A video about the US President’s upcoming state visits, posted by the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia, sparked controversy due to the fact that the bit about Trump intending to visit Israel was edited out, thus creating the impression that the president was only about to visit Riyadh and the Vatican.

RT pointed out however that this is hardly something out of the ordinary as “buttering up the Saudis has always been good for the US establishment”.

Such deference, it seems, stems from the fact that there’s a large number of prominent lobbying companies, including the McKeon Group, DLA Piper and the Podesta Group, that are being paid hefty sums by Riyadh to promote Saudi interests in the United States – for example, to prevent 9/11-related lawsuits against the kingdom.

"The United States would have easy access to hydrocarbons of the Arabian Peninsula; in exchange the United States would keep the House of Saud in control of the peninsula in perpetuity. So when you have a single power that controls tons of money, then you know how to manipulate US Congress, you know how to manipulate the US presidential candidates, you know how to buy influence, you know how to buy friends where you need them," Colin Cavell, author of Exporting 'Made in America' Democracy, explained.

Furthermore, it appears that Riyadh doesn’t just stick to lobbying but is also eager to provide donations to US political candidates.

For example, the Clinton Foundation received up to $25 million from Riyadh, while the Saudi embassy donated at least $100,000 to the McCain Institute.

"So now if President Trump, a former tycoon of course, decides to bow to the new Saudi king, don’t be surprised," RT’s Miguel Francis-Santiago remarked.

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