The United States and Saudi Arabia issued a first-of-its-kind joint terrorism designation on Friday, targeting Hezbollah. It’s the first step in Trump’s efforts to form an “Arab NATO”. It’s a very big deal.
“[The designation] is the latest example of the strong partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia in combating the financing of terrorism,” the State Department announcement said.
The move freezes the assets of Hashem Safieddine, a leader of the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah.
It’s symbolic of a broader effort to arrange an “Arab NATO” to counteract Iran, backed by American arms deals to the Saudis.
“The Safieddine designation is also consistent with the U.S. government’s ongoing effort to expose and apply pressure against the actions of Hezballah, which is supported by the foremost State Sponsor of Terrorism, Iran,” the State Department emphasized.
“Designations of terrorist individuals and groups expose and isolate organizations and individuals and result in denial of access to the U.S. financial system.”
The State Department also gave the leader of an ISIS-affiliate in the Sinai peninsula a terrorist label.
“Muhammad al-Isawi, more commonly known as Abu Usama al-Masri, has been ISIS’ affiliate in the Sinai’s leader since the death of Abu Du’a al-Ansari in August 2016,” the notice said.
“Today’s actions notify the U.S. public and the international community that Safieddine and al-Isawi pose a serious risk of committing acts of terrorism that threaten the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”
This is a very big deal. It’s the Arabs fighting their enemies, not the U.S. going in. Saudi Arabia has been part of the problem and they have to be part of the solution. They have agreed to do that.
In addition, there was a $110 billion arms deal and an agreement for billions in Saudi investments in U.S. infrastructure.
A fossil fuel deal was also made that will produce jobs.
According to Washington Examiner, $50 billion in Saudi investment deals were made with Exxon and others on the side today. The agreement between Exxon and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation will help build a $20 billion chemical complex that the Trump administration had touted earlier this year as a boon to job growth on the American Gulf Coast.
The First Family, Rex Tillerson, Steve Bannon, Sean Spicer and others who are on the trip with the President were treated like conquering heroes by the Saudis. The king greeted them at the airport with 90 members of the Royal Air Force. The guards on horseback all carried U.S. flags.
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) May 20, 2017