Trump administration eases technology restrictions to Saudi Arabia


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The Trump has eased satellite technology restrictions that had been placed on Saudi Arabia and the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

It is believed that the Washington, DC, discussions between the U.S. and the Saudis saw agreements on U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and also on common approaches towards containing Iran. Of particular significance, however, is the agreement by the U.S. to lift export restrictions on strategic technologies such as unmanned aerial vehicles and reconnaissance satellites to Saudi Arabia, and potentially to other GCC countries.

It is believed that Saudi Arabia is in the market for two to eight high-resolution reconnaissance satellites over the coming years, and it is known that French companies Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space have partnered together to offer electro-optical reconnaissance satellites similar to the Falcon Eye satellites being built for the United Arab Emirates.

This change will also benefit U.S. satellite makers, giving them a better chance at winning Saudi contracts. At the same time, it makes available to these Middle East Islamic nations some high level technology that could be used against us.

Update: While his administration has quietly widened cooperation with Saudi Arabia, President Trump is publicly complaining that the Arab country takes advantage of the U.S.

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9 comments

  • wayne

    yeah, this is the part where Marx says, (paraphrase) “The ‘Capitalists’ will sell us the rope, by which we will hang them.”

  • Tom Billings

    I do think that people are ignoring the tactical benefits of providing the complex equipment these nations want to use. In particular, the ability to build in back doors to shut them down, if their masters do decide that the Caliphate Revivalists are a better bet than industrial society to end up on top, is a great advantage. I do doubt either side in the negotiations overlooked this little point.

  • wayne

    Tom Billings–
    har…that would be, me.

    but, >Great stuff, nonetheless!

    (just an amateur but I sorta view all ‘technology’ as “dual-use.” We need to be aware if we’re giving aware the farm and/or auctioning it off, to the highest bidder.)

    Will the Export Import Bank be financing these future sales?

    Sorry– just being cynical while listening to some Victor Davis Hanson on how the 2nd/3rd World is parasitic upon “western technology” (and manufacturing ability).

  • Laurie

    I wonder if there’s a back door in my next vehicle – and no, I don’t mean a hatchback.

  • LocalFluff

    Saudi Arabia spends more on its military than Russia, and that was before the war in Yemen, one of the wrold’s poorest countries with arms mainly from the 1950s, where the Saudis are stuck in a ditch. They don’t know how to use modern weapons systems. They are used to throwing stones and blowing themselves up. But they could hire foreign mercenaries. It is in any case not a good idea to feed the monkies.

  • Joe

    Laurie, I think this might be the back door you are referring to,https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/03/09/hastings-m09.html?view=article_mobile

  • Max

    Laurie:
    You can count on it! I was just reading this morning how Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/GPS has been a godsend to the delinquent car loan repossession companies.
    A repossessor will track your car when you leave your home. They will walk up with the access codes on the keyless entry, start it, and drive away while you’re in at work or at the store.
    Court judgments, cops, divorce settlements are all taking avantage of this.
    Let’s hope North Korea doesn’t hack the car company and scramble all the access codes for all their newer vehicles… Or any hacker for that matter. Or worse, use a Saudi Arabian satellite to broadcast a shutdown code for everyone on the freeway.

  • LocalFluff

    You’ve heard that Saudi Arabia was elected a seat on UN’s commission for women’s rights(!!!). Belgium says that it voted for it by mistake. Sweden refuses to say how they voted. Stupid coward corrupt liberal democracies in the UN, the dictators’ democracy.

  • Vladislaw

    “At one point, the Trump Organization incorporated several limited liability companies in preparation for an attempt to build a hotel in Saudi Arabia, but the company canceled these corporations in December, which suggests that the project is no longer moving forward. Also not included on the list was the United Arab Emirates, where Trump has licensed his name to a Dubai golf resort and other developments. Trump also spoke with Abu Dhabi’s crown prince Sunday.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/01/30/donald-trumps-already-complicated-relationship-with-saudi-arabia/?utm_term=.b7fd75b66820

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/countries-where-trump-does-business-are-not-hit-by-new-travel-restrictions/2017/01/28/dd40535a-e56b-11e6-a453-19ec4b3d09ba_story.html?utm_term=.cb8ecc54b375&tid=a_inl

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