In the meeting held on March 14, 2017, the Saudi Crown Prince while hailing the ties between the two countries went on to defend the travel ban by the US administration on six Muslim-majority countries. The Adviser of the Prince while speaking on behalf of him said that Prince Mohammad did not regard the ban as aimed at "Muslim countries or Islam."
Responding to the comments made by the Prince on Muslim ban, scholars in India working on international relations had a different viewpoint. A journalist from India condemned the Saudi Prince's defense and said, "This is willful blindness. It is a clear game of petro-dollar in global politics. I wonder if the Prince forgot Trump's accusation leveled at Saudi Arabia for its role in the 9/11 attacks."
The Deputy Crown Prince hailed Donald Trump as a "true friend of Muslims" and said that he does not believe the President's immigration ban targets Islam. A statement from the Office of the Prince said the prince's visit had put "things on the right track" and marked a significant shift across politics, security and the economy.
Apart from the travel ban, the two sides also shared views on the security threat posed by Iran. This change of narratives comes after a consistent period of hiatus between the US and the Royal Kingdom following the signing of the nuclear deal under Obama administration in 2015. A senior Adviser to Prince Mohammed said, "This meeting is considered a historical turning point in relations between both countries and which had passed through a period of divergence of views on many issues."
Calling it an "alliance of convenience", Ankit Mehra pursuing PhD in International Relations from JNU said that the "relationship between the two countries is a deliberate attempt to keep Iran out of the global power game. The role played by Iran and its Russian and Turkish allies in the Syrian civil war has challenged the western hegemony, cutting them to size."
The statement from the Royal Kingdom further added, "All of this is due to President Trump's great understanding of the importance of relations between the two countries and his clear sight of problems in the region."
Moreover, President Trump and his officials regard Saudi Arabia as an important ally in the larger White House strategy towards the complex politics of the Middle East. This would include breaking the deadlock in the Israel and Palestine conflict.
A departure from the previous administration's policy on weapons sale to Saudi Arabia, the State Department under Trump last week approved resuming weapons sales to Saudi Arabia that was blocked by Barack Obama.
Obama had blocked the weapons sale during the final months of his administration over human rights concerns, mainly in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is accused of complicity in war crimes.
While Trump aims at reviving the fluctuating ties between the two countries, what needs to be seen is the longevity of the ties in the midst of tumultuous politics in West Asia.