YEAR IN REVIEW 2017: Together we prevail: Trump’s Saudi visit celebrates a healthy partnership

US President Donald Trump dances with a sword as he arrives at a welcome ceremony by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman at Al-Murabba Palace in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 31 December 2017
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YEAR IN REVIEW 2017: Together we prevail: Trump’s Saudi visit celebrates a healthy partnership

JEDDAH: The president of the world’s strongest political and military power made the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia his first destination after being inaugurated as president of the US. His visit on May 20, 2017, was a landmark occasion that announced to the world the importance of Saudi-US relations.
“Together we prevail” was the slogan celebrated throughout the Kingdom, specifically in Riyadh. The streets were decorated with Saudi and US flags. Posters of the two leaders were seen on every corner. If anything, this was a clear message for the world to witness the importance of these relations and the Kingdom’s strong stance and influence, as opposed to during the Obama administration when Saudi-US relations were strained because of disagreements on policies.
King Salman presented Donald Trump with the Kingdom’s top civilian honor when the president was recognized for “his quest to enhance security and stability in the region and around the world.”
Three major summits took place that cemented Saudi-US relations and fortified them for all the world to see. The Saudi-US Summit, which featured a series of bilateral meetings between King Salman and Trump, focused on reaffirming the long-standing friendship, and strengthening the close political, economic, security and cultural bonds between the two nations.
At the GCC-US Summit, Gulf Cooperation Council leaders met with Trump and discussed threats to regional security and stability, and the building of stronger commercial ties between the US and the Gulf. This was followed by the Arab-Islamic-American Summit.
During his visit, Trump and King Salman inaugurated the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (GCCEI), which aims to promote moderation and counter the spread of extremism. The center is “the fruit of collaboration between Muslim countries that believe in the importance of combating terrorism,” said Nasir Al-Biqami, secretary-general of the GCCEI.
While the president was in Saudi Arabia, he enjoyed Arab hospitality, entertainment and coffee. A concert was held with Saudi singer Rabeh Saqer and American country singer Toby Keith. The concert proved that the two countries not only have strengthening relations in the arenas of politics, business and the economy, but also in music and entertainment.
A video surfaced during Trump’s visit in which he was instructed by King Salman on how to drink Arabic coffee. The king informed him that he should drink with his right hand, and Trump smiled and quickly moved the coffee to his other hand.
The king ended the visit with a speech touching on important points that concern both nations, focusing on terrorism and how to counter it, and abolishing all forms of extremism that lead to terrorism.


FaceOf: Ahmad Al-Khatib, chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Arabian Military Industries

Ahmad Al-Khatib
Updated 27 May 2018
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FaceOf: Ahmad Al-Khatib, chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Arabian Military Industries

  • Saudi Arabian Military Industries aims to aims to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign purchases of military products

JEDDAH: Ahmad Al-Khatib was appointed the chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) in October 2017. 

He also holds the posts of chairman of the board of directors of the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) since 2016; chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Fund for Development; adviser to the general secretariat of the Cabinet; adviser to the minister of defense; and adviser to the court of the crown prince.

Al-Khatib inaugurated on Friday the new facilities of the Aircraft Accessories and Components Company (AACC) at its new headquarters at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah during a ceremony under the patronage of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

SAMI aims to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign purchases of military products and become one of the top 25 global companies in the field of military industries.

“Our goal is to localize more than 50 percent of the Kingdom’s military spending by 2030,” said the crown prince in his earlier statement.

Al-Khatib is a former adviser to the royal court, was the minister of health between 2014 and 2016, and served as the chairman for the Saudi stock company established in 2006, Jadwa Investment.

Al-Khatib has 23 years of experience in banking. In 1992 he joined the Bank of Riyad, working in various departments for 11 years and helping to establish the customer investment department. 

In 2003, Al-Khatib joined SABB Bank and participated in the establishment of Islamic Banking (Amanah). He then became the bank’s general manager.