White House officials continue to change stance on Saudi Arabia covering the cost of the additional US troops in the country, which began after the airstrikes on Saudi Oil facilities in September.
After the claims of President Donald Trump that Saudi Arabia had “already deposited $1 billion in the bank” and Pentagon unable to confirm if the payment has been made or not; a US official has claimed that Saudi Arabia has paid $500 million to cover the cost of additional American troops deployed in the country.
However, the critics and analysts have begun to view the payment skeptically and are speculating the possible reason behind it.
What has caught the attention is the question whether the $500 million payment has been done for the protection of the country amid simmering tensions in the Middle East and the rising US-Iran conflict or is it an attempt to improve its image as a country globally?
This is not the first time that Saudi Arabia has made payments to cover the cost of US’ military options in the Middle East. Earlier in 1991, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other Gulf states collectively paid $36 billion to the US to cover the cost of the Gulf War in 1990-91.
Furthermore, since the last quarter of 2018, Saudi Arabia, apart from paying the US troops, has invested in multiple sectors of the US including tech, infrastructure and hospitality.
As per claims from credible sources, until March 2019, the Saudi investment in the US government bonds had already reached the mark of $170 billion.
The kingdom also outsourced multiple UK firms to boost its image that got marred due to human rights violations, involvement in the Yemen crisis, and the vexed killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
An investigation conducted in October 2019 has revealed that the UK has become the hub of the kingdom’s “lobbying efforts”.
While the US troops have aided in protecting the kingdom or the vested interest of the UK and US, some firms aided Saudi to boost its image.
The investigations have also revealed key reasons why the global leaders like the US and the UK have continued to take investments from Saudi Arabia despite its reputation continuously decreasing apart from providing protection like the US troops.
Saudi Arabia has enough oil supplies that can easily manipulate global oil market. Its vast market for arms and ammunitions and strategic position to maintain stability in the Middle East played a key role in the US and the UK continuing their relations with Saudi.
The deployment of additional US troops has also forced the critics to ponder upon the fact if the White House is serious about reducing the presence of American troops in the Middle East or not. Yet, considering the recent series of events in the region, the possibility of that happening seems highly unlikely.