Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis met with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman at the Pentagon yesterday following the Prince’s meeting with President Trump at the White House on Tuesday.
“Secretary Mattis and the deputy crown prince affirmed the importance of the U.S.-Saudi Arabia defense relationship, and discussed the security environment in the Middle East, to include confronting Iran’s destabilizing regional activities, and U.S.-Saudi Arabia military cooperation in defeating ISIS and other transnational terrorist organizations,” the Department of Defense said in a news readout. “The two leaders stated they looked forward to deepening the U.S.-Saudi Arabia defense partnership and continuing to work closely together.”
Prince Mohammed said in an opening statement through a translator that Saudi Arabia was the number one target for terrorist groups like Daesh and that the U.S. was the number one partner for Saudi Arabia in fighting terrorism.
“For any terrorist organization, their primary target to recruit and spread their ideology is to start in Saudi Arabia….Once they put their hands on Saudi Arabia, they will get access to the entire Islamic world. That’s why we are their primary target. That’s why we suffer the most. That’s why we need to work and cooperate with our allies. And on top of that list comes the United States.”
Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told reporters Thursday his country would consider sending ground troops to fight inside Syria, according to the Hill.
“We are ready to do anything that will eradicate terrorism, anything without limits,” Prince Mohammed said, following a reporter’s question.
“We in Saudi Arabia are on the front line in facing these challenges,” he said, adding that the country is “very optimistic under the leadership of President Trump and we believe these challenges will be easy to tackle under the leadership of the president.”