President Donald Trump has taken a rethink to the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, and said the king of Saudi Arabia may not last two weeks without U.S. support.
This has escalated pressure on one of his closest Arab allies to curb rising oil prices and pay for military protection.
Trump said, during a camp rally in the U.S. state of Mississipi, “How about our military deals where we protect rich nations that we don’t get reimbursed? I love the king, King Salman, but I said, ‘King, we’re protecting you. You might not be there for two weeks without us. You have to pay for your military, you have to pay.’”
As oil prices have risen, Trump has heaped more pressure on the world’s top exporter of crude to do more to subdue the market and reimburse the costs of American military presence in the region. While the relationship between both countries have improved under Trump, Tuesday’s remarks were unusually harsh and appeared to question the stability of a monarchy in power since the 1930s.
Saudi Arabia has long been a major buyer of U.S. weaponry, spending billions of dollars on advanced systems, a point Trump was keen to make when Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman visited the White House in March.