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Kushner’s 2 Billion Dollar Saudi Investment Is Far From Their Worst Dealings

A New York Times piece has recently brought to light a seemingly corrupt dealing between the former senior White House advisor Jared Kushner and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Whilst the story is certainly telling, it is far from the worst thing conjured up between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and former US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law.

According to the New York Times, 6 months after his departure from the White House, Jared Kushner received a whopping 2 Billion dollar investment into his own private equity firm by a fund controlled directly by Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman. The story goes that a Saudi panel that assesses the investments of the country’s sovereign wealth fund even aired their dismay with the action, however, the investment still went through, regardless. If it so happens that Donald Trump decides to run for office again, and wins in the next round of US Presidential elections, a decision to place Jared Kushner in such a high position would certainly now place a question mark around the influence that Riyadh would have on American foreign policy.

Saudi Arabia’s relationship with Trump was evidently much stronger than its current relationship with the Biden administration, but just how deep does this influence go and what problems has it now caused?

To begin with, both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates seemed to have both worked the Trump administration together. The two are clearly close allies and it was the UAE that assured that Donald Trump’s first foreign visit would be to the Saudi Kingdom.

In July, 2021, a man named Thomas Barrack was arrested along with two of his colleagues as having operated as a spy working on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. Barrack was an Inaugural Committee head, and fundraiser for the Trump campaign, referred to by Donald Trump as a “close friend”. The conspiracy that was unravelled by US prosecutors was a result of Thomas Barrack’s case, alleged to have shown an intent to influence the Trump administration to grow close to both Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.

Barrack allegedly met with UAE Royals, who were said to have directly sought to influence the foreign policy of the Trump White House during the first two years of Trump’s presidency. Later it emerged that not only had the UAE sought to bring Trump closer to Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, but also to punish Doha during the Saudi-UAE-led blockade on Qatar, and used several other methods to influence US foreign policy.

This is all important because the Trump administration, which tightly connected itself with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, paved the way for the destructive policy we currently see followed by the Biden White House. This is the part that most mainstream Western media pundits, writers, and anchors are leaving out, and purposely so. Journalists from CNN don’t mind talking about the alleged corruption of Jared Kushner, because he is associated with Donald Trump, but they won’t dare go a step further and analyze the impact these dealings had with the authoritarian Arab Regimes in the Gulf, bleeding into the policy positions of the Biden White House.

Two weeks prior to the 2016 Presidential election, Thomas Barrack took out an op-ed in Fortune Magazine, in which he stated the following:

“It’s in the interest of all these [Gulf Cooperation Council] allies, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Palestine, other GCC members, along with Israel, to join forces. That alliance would provide a countervailing balance to the Revolutionary Guard in Iran, the ISIS caliphate and the aggressive aspiration of Turkey, which is further fuelled by a renewed Russian push.”

What’s interesting about Barrack’s piece, is not only that it shows that this vision, that likely came straight out of the minds of his Emirati puppet masters, was what came into being during the Trump years, but also that this quote could almost be paired verbatim with the rhetoric of the Biden administration today. Recently, the Biden administration sent its Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, to attend the ‘Negev Summit’ hosted by Israel. The summit was a two-day meeting between leaders from the US, Israel, Bahrain, the UAE, Egypt, and Morocco. The only Arab nations that normalized with Israel that were not present were Jordan and Sudan. In the case of Sudan, this was due to domestic turmoil, primarily, and also that it is currently not so useful. For the Kingdom of Jordan, its failure to meet at the summit, followed by Jordanian Prince Hamza’s renouncing of his royal titles, shows that the US Biden administration is still maintaining a similar policy to that of the former Trump administration.

What’s obvious is that the Middle East policies of the US government have changed little, with a small exception on the case of Saudi Arabia. Trump was clearly leading the US into an aggressive policy of confronting Iran, Russia, and even Turkey and Jordan in some lesser ways. Today, this has led to the deterioration of the Arab regime’s stances on Palestine and an aggressive anti-Iran coalition, dubbed by some as “the Middle East’s NATO.” All this is ongoing as Biden maintains a similar stance to Trump, on the issues of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Yemen, and Iran. The conclusion being; Donald Trump was never the only problem, he was merely a symptom, and whilst his time in office was destructive, Biden has really been no better.

Robert Inlakesh
Robert Inlakesh is a documentary filmmaker, journalist, writer, Middle-East analyst & news correspondent for The Last American Vagabond.
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