American flags lined the streets of this Arab capital Friday as Saudi Arabia prepared a motorcycle rally, a concert by country singer Toby Keith and lavish palace festivities organized by King Salman’s royal court to honor the arrival of the desert kingdom’s biggest potential business partner yet: Donald Trump.
While Trump has taken heat from Muslims in the U.S. for his anti-terrorism travel ban and his overtures to Israel, here in the Gulf, the conservative Arab sheikdoms are welcoming the new administration as a return to transactional diplomacy in the Middle East.
The White House they see now is presided over by a strong leader — a model Gulf monarchs recognize from their own governing styles — and if Trump surrounds himself with business-friendly family members high in his administration, well, so do they.
Key to this weekend’s meetings with Trump and his team, as Arab leaders see it, will be identifying opportunities to do business and cut diplomacy deals.>
Traveling with the Trump team will be dozens of U.S. business leaders, including the heads of JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Dow Chemical and General Electric.
Nearly 40 heads of state from across the Islamic world, joined by Arab business leaders, are also expected to gather to see what Trump has to offer.
Saudi Aramco, the national oil giant that is preparing to open itself to outside investment for the first time next year, will be talking deals with U.S. oil services companies.
“Saudi Arabia is transforming. The government is getting into the business mode on a fast track and this is where Trump comes from. He wants to make a lot of deals. Saudi Arabian leaders understand this language and they’re excited,” said Ahmed Alibrahim, a Saudi businessman who lobbies his government on behalf of U.S. companies.
Source : http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-trump-arabs-20170519-story.html