'I made Saudi pay for our troops', Trump gloats

I made them pay: Trump gloats about 'financially extorting' the Saudis
2 min read
04 December, 2019
Trump gloated about being the first US President to get Riyadh to pay for military presence on Saudi land.
Trump made Saudi Arabia pay for troops [AFP]
Saudi Arabia has been paying the US for military protection, President Donald Trump revealed on Wednesday.

In a question and answer session with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump was asked  whether the US will maintain its current troop levels on the Korean Peninsula.

"It can be debated.  I can go either way.  I can make arguments both ways.  But I think it's - I do think this.  I think if we're going to do it, I think it's - you know, they should burden share more fairly," he said.

He went on to discuss US bases in Saudi Arabia, saying that there has been an increase in American troops to the kingdom, which Riyadh is paying for - something "unusual", according to Trump.

"You know, Saudi Arabia - we moved more troops there.  And they're paying us billions of dollars. Okay? You never heard of that before. You've never heard of that in your whole life," he said. 

Read also: German court reverses arms export ban to Saudi Arabia

"We moved troops and we paid nothing. And people took advantage and the world took advantage of us.  But we do - we have a good relationship with Saudi Arabia, but they needed help. They were attacked. And, as you saw, we just moved a contingent of troops, and they're paying us billions of dollars and they’re happy to do so."

Trump gloated about being the first US President to ask for payment for troop deployments.

"The problem is nobody ever asked them to do it until I came along. Nobody ever asked. Obama didn't ask. Bush didn't ask. Clinton didn’t ask. Nobody asked. In fact, they said to me, 'But nobody has ever asked us to do this.' I said, 'I know, king, but I'm asking.'"

The US is a staunch strategic ally of Saudi Arabia - something which is consistently criticised by human rights groups.

Since Saudi Arabia led a coalition to fight Yemen's Houthi rebels in 2015, the kingdom has been accused of potentially having a "historic pattern of breaches of international humanitarian law."

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