Besieged by chaos at home, President Trump is set for an overseas blitz at the end of the week. While Trump has said from the get-go that he plans to travel abroad less than his predecessors, as the leader of the free world, the president is still expected to make his international presence felt. The first trip will mark a quick blitz across the Middle East and Europe. Given the president's rhetoric so far, talks could turn out to be quite contentious.
Saudi Arabia Marks First Stop; Expect Iran to Be Hot Topic
The president has already ruffled many feathers by promising to re-examine American trade deals, military alliances, and other key global political issues. In recent days, the administration oversaw a $100 billion dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia and discussed the Syrian civil war with the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.
Saudi Arabia will mark the first stop of Trump's four-legged trip. Simply the choice of visiting Saudi Arabia first marks a significant break with the past. Traditionally, the president will visit either the Americas or a close European ally. With the Islamic State clearly in the president's sights, expect the Middle East stops to focus on security issues.
Despite his strong campaign rhetoric, Trump has so far been relatively quiet in regards to Iran. Saudi Arabia and Iran are both locked in a fierce battle for influence across the Middle East, with the ongoing wars in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq largely playing out along the Sunni-Shia divide.
Saudi Arabia has been backing Sunni insurgents and has even been accused of supporting the Sunni Islamic State. Iran has been backing the Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad's regime, which has been accused of various human rights violations. Iran is also wielding increasing control over the Iraqi government.
Brian Brinker is an OpsLens Contributor and political consultant.
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