Huge – Iran and Saudi Arabia Agree to Resume Diplomatic and Trade Relations During Talks Negotiated by China

Posted originally on the CTH on March 10, 2023 | Sundance

This is huge in the geopolitical world.  China operated as a broker in the structurally unstable relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

  • From the Iranian perspective – With a visibly weak U.S. president, and a strengthening Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping forming a close bond with Saudi Arabia, it makes sense for Iran to move toward diplomatic relations.
  • From the Saudi Arabia perspective – With a visibly weak U.S. president, the prior assurances from Washington DC diminish, trust is tenuous, and a stronger hedge-based relationship with Chairman Xi is formed.
  • From the Chinese perspective – With a visibly weak U.S. president, and a western alliance intended to destroy itself to fulfill the desires of the WEF climate change and cultural agenda, the opportunity to expand influence is teed up.

It will be intensely interesting to see how Israel positions itself w/ this new dynamic.

BEIRUT — Saudi Arabia and Iran announced an agreement in China on Friday to resume relations more than seven years after severing ties, a major breakthrough in a bitter rivalry that has long divided the Middle East.

The agreement was a result of talks in Beijing that began Monday as part of an initiative by Chinese President Xi Jinping aimed at “developing good neighborly relations” between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the three countries said in a joint statement. The agreement, which was signed by top Iranian security official Ali Shamkhani and Saudi national security adviser Musaed bin Mohammed al-Aiban, said embassies would be reopened within two months.

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran in 2016 after the Saudi Embassy in Tehran was attacked and burned by Iranian protesters, angered by the kingdom’s execution of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr. The cleric had emerged as a leading figure in protests in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, a Shiite-majority region in the Sunni-majority nation.

[…] On Friday, John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said the United States welcomed the agreement but noted that Washington was not “directly involved.”

Kirby said it was too early to tell whether the deal would hold. “It really does remain to be seen whether the Iranians are going to honor their side,” he said. “This is not a regime that typically does honor its word. So we hope that they do. We’d like to see this war in Yemen end.”

Yemen has enjoyed a rare reprieve from fighting since April, when a truce sponsored by the United Nations went into effect. (more)

With the western alliance nations destroying their economies while simultaneously meddling around in European cultural and political affairs, the dynamic of the BRICS economic alliance also opens up within a Saudi-Iran peace process.  Economics is the oil that lubricates against geopolitical friction.

China is gaining influence, and Russia is gaining breathing room from WEF sanctions.

This will be very interesting to keep watching.

White House Swaps Arms Dealer Viktor Bout for WNBA Player Brittany Griner – MbS Was Intermediary

Posted originally on the CTH on December 8, 2022 | Sundance 

Brittany Griner (32) was held in Russian prison after a conviction for drug possession.  Viktor Bout (55) was held in American prison after a conviction for illegal arms sales, supporting terrorists and money laundering.  In a prisoner exchange that took place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at Abu Dhabi airport, WNBA player Brittany Griner and Russian dealer Viktor Bout walked past each other on the tarmac.

NOTE: Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) negotiated the deal.  Yesterday, in federal court the U.S. dropped a lawsuit against MbS for the Khoshoggi killing.  The case was dismissed.  The timing is transparent.

The Biden administration gets a popular transvestite hero of the LGBTQ+ community, while Vladimir Putin gets a Russian born global arms dealer nicknamed “the merchant of death.”  All things considered, the exchange priorities sound about right.

(Joe Biden) – “Moments ago, standing together with her wife, Cherelle, in the Oval Office, I spoke with Brittney Griner.  She’s safe.  She’s on a plane.  She’s on her way home.

After months of being unjustly detained in Russia, held under intolerable circumstances, Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones, and she should have been there all along.  This is a day we’ve worked toward for a long time.  We never stopped pushing for her release.

It took painstaking and intense negotiations, and I want to thank all the hardworking public servants across my administration who worked tirelessly to secure her release.” (read more)

Video Below.


(Reuters) – […]  Saudi Arabia and the UAE, both traditional U.S. allies, are members of the OPEC+ oil producers alliance that includes Russia and have resisted Western pressure to help isolate Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Their mediation reflects efforts to show their ties with Russia are of benefit to Washington, which had accused Gulf oil producers of siding with Russia when OPEC+ agreed in October to cut oil output targets over U.S. objections. (more)

“And then I told him he had to stand on the tarmac and hit a three-point shot to save his johnson”… 

Davos in the Desert

Armstrong Economics Blog/World Trade Re-Posted Oct 27, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

Some of the biggest players have gathered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for the annual Future Investment Initiative (FII). The conference is often referred to as “Davos in the Desert,” as they are competing with the World Economic Forum to be the largest economic conference of the year. Washington’s relationship with Saudi Arabia is at a standstill, but that is not preventing Wall Street’s chief names from attending.

“American companies will make their own decisions about their presence and where to invest, taking into account a range of factors including legal constraints, the business environment, and reputational concerns that can arise from public policy choices made by host countries,” said Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary.

Former Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who both run private funds backed by the Saudis, were in attendance. JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon and Goldman’s David Solomon spoke at the event along with Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman and investor Ray Dalio. FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried also spoke at the event. No one associated with the Biden Administration was in attendance as Washington is re-evaluating its relationship with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s economy is rapidly growing. The event is Prince Mohammed’s opportunity to show that the kingdom is ready to be seen as a financial powerhouse beyond its energy sector. The private sector is making it known that they are willing to invest in Saudi Arabia despite Washington’s reluctance.

South Africa Confirms Likelihood of Saudi Arabia Joining BRICS Economic Alliance

Posted originally on the conservative tree house on October 17, 2022 | Sundance

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa held a two-day summit with Saudi Arabia on mostly economic matters.

At the conclusion of the summit, he confirmed the intent of Saudi Arabia to join the BRICS economic coalition, which should not come as a surprise given the previous statements by Saudi leader and Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman (MbS).

(MSM) Ramaphosa confirms Saudi Arabia wants to join Brics family.  This was revealed by President Cyril Ramaphosa during his two-day state visit to the kingdom on Sunday.

“The Crown Prince (prime minister Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud) did express Saudi Arabia’s desire to be part of Brics and they are not the only country,” said Ramaphosa. He confirmed this on Sunday during an engagement with the media.

Brics held its first summit in 2009, with SA joining the following year. The bloc has generally been seen as an alternative to the dominance of the western economies.

“We did say that Brics having a summit next year under the chairship of South Africa in SA and the matter is going to be under consideration.

“A number of countries are making approaches to Brics members, and we have given them the same answer that it will be discussed by the Brics partners and thereafter a decision will be made.” (read more)

Since the outset of the Western Alliance sanctions against Russia, we have been predicting an increased geopolitical influence from the BRICS team.  A global financial and economic cleaving is underway created by the western nations chasing ideological climate change energy policy, while the rest of the world remains pragmatic toward oil, coal and natural gas as energy resources.

We have been closely monitoring the signs of a global cleaving around the energy sector taking place.  Essentially, western governments’ following the “Build Back Better” climate change agenda which stops using coal, oil and gas to power their economic engine, while the rest of the growing economic world continues using the more efficient and traditional forms of energy to power their economies.

(July 2022) […] “This accession, if Saudi joins it, will balance the world economic system, especially since the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest exporter of oil in the world, and it’s in the G20,” Hamed said. “If it happens, this will support any economic movement and development in the world trade and economy, and record remarkable progress in social and economic aspects as Saudi Arabia should have partnerships with every country in the world.” (read more)

That would essentially be the end of the petrodollar, and -in even more consequential terms- the end of the United States ability to use the weight of the international trade currency to manipulate foreign government.  The global economic system would have an alternative.  The fracturing of the world, created as an outcome of energy development, would be guaranteed.

Keep in mind, in early June Federal reserve Chairman Jerome Powell stated, “rapid changes are taking place in the global monetary system that may affect the international role of the dollar.”  {LINK}

The western alliance (yellow) would be chasing climate change energy policy to power their economies.  The rest of the world (grey) would be using traditional and more efficient energy development.  The global cleaving around energy use would be complete.

This is not some grand conspiracy, ‘out there‘ deep geopolitical possibility, or foreboding likelihood as an outcome of short-sighted western emotion.  No, this is just a predictable outcome from western created events that pushed specific countries to a natural conclusion based on their best interests.

You can debate the motives of the western leaders who structured the sanctions against Russia, and whether they knew the outcome would happen as a consequence of their effort, but the outcome was never really in doubt.  Personally, I believe this outcome is what the west intended. The people inside the World Economic Forum are not stupid – ideological, yes, but not stupid. They knew this global cleaving would happen.

For a deep dive on BRICS, as predicted by CTH, {SEE HERE}.  The bottom line is – the 2022 punitive economic and financial sanctions by the western nations’ alliance against Russia was exactly the reason why BRICS assembled in the first place.

Multinational corporations in control of government are what the BRICS assembly foresaw when they first assembled during the Obama administration.  When multinational corporations run the policy of western government, there is going to be a problem.

In the bigger picture, the BRICS assembly are essentially leaders who do not want corporations and multinational banks running their government. BRICS leaders want their government running their government; and yes, that means whatever form of government that exists in their nation, even if it is communist.

BRICS leaders are aligned as anti-corporatist.  That doesn’t necessarily make those government leaders better stewards, it simply means they want to make the decisions, and they do not want corporations to become more powerful than they are.  As a result, if you really boil it down to the common denominator, what you find is the BRICS group are the opposing element to the World Economic Forum assembly.

The BRICS team intend to create an alternative option for all the other nations. An alternative to the current western trade and financial platforms operated on the use of the dollar as a currency.  Perhaps many nations will use both financial mechanisms depending on their need.

The objective of the BRICS group is simply to present an alternative trade mechanism that permits them to conduct business regardless of the opinion of the multinational corporations in the ‘western alliance.’

The BRICS team, especially if Saudi Arabia, Iran and Argentina are added creating BRICS+, would indeed be a counterbalance to the control of western trade and finance.  This global cleaving is moving from a possibility to a likelihood.  If Saudi Arabia joins BRICS the fracture becomes almost certain.

Biden Begs OPEC+ to Delay Vote Until After Midterms

Armstrong Economics Blog/Corruption Re-Posted Oct 17, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

Joe Biden is playing dirty before the midterm elections by urging Saudi Arabia to delay the OPEC+ oil vote until December. The Saudis, who unofficially run OPEC+, do not respect Joe. OPEC+ voted on October 5 to cut oil production despite Joe’s desperate pleas. In a desperate attempt to avoid further embarrassment, Biden asked them to delay the next vote.

The Foreign Ministry of Saudi Arabia replied with a letter rejecting Biden’s requests. The kingdom said they declined Biden’s request in October for purely financial reasons. They reject the idea that they declined on behalf of Russia and said that they are not interfering in international conflicts. Worse, they believe that Biden is promoting the idea that Saudi Arabia is against the United States. In reality, they want to make money and be left alone. Oil is what keeps their kingdom afloat. The letter confirms their relationship with the United States is “strategic” as a trading partner and nothing more.

As for pushing back the next vote, that is not in Saudi Arabia’s interest. They explained that “economic analyses indicate that postponing the OPEC+ decision for a month, according to what has been suggested, would have had negative economic consequences.”

White House officials have confirmed Joe’s election interference. “We presented Saudi Arabia with analysis to show that there was no market basis to cut production targets, and that they could easily wait for the next OPEC meeting to see how things developed,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. Yet, the White House swears this decision has nothing to do with the midterms.

This sounds like election interference to me.

Biden Threatens Saudi Arabia for “Siding with Russia” Over OPEC Oil Production Cuts

Posted originally on the conservative tree house on October 12, 2022 | Sundance 

The global economic cleaving continues.  Western allied nations are intentionally shrinking their economies to meet intentionally lowered energy production, ie ‘the green new deal’.  However, as the phrase is used, “managing the transition to the green energy economy” still requires the use of oil and gas no longer being generated within the same western allied nations.

As a result of this self-serving and ideological dynamic, any foreign oil provider who restricts the western nations from having access to cheap imported energy is viewed as an enemy.  The U.S. and western alliance forbid domestic development of oil, coal and gas, but the U.S. and western alliance still need oil, coal and gas.  This is the backdrop for Biden creating a dependency on foreign oil and being angry at Saudi Arabia for lowering production. {Direct Rumble Link}  WATCH:

The era of great pretending continues.

In this example Jake Tapper pretends not to know that Biden’s policy to block U.S. oil development has made the U.S. vulnerable to foreign oil decisions.  Saudi Arabia is the bad guy for limiting oil production, but Joe Biden is not confronted for limiting U.S. oil production.  It’s a media game of pretending not to know things.

In a semi related note, do not forget the connections.  NYT/Politico are used for FBI/DOJ narratives.  The Washington Post is used for CIA/IC narratives, and CNN is used for State Dept narratives.   The US State Department is conducting the war operations in Ukraine which is the core issue in the CNN interview above.

Salman Rushdie on Ventilator After Horrific Attack in New York

Posted originally on the conservative tree house on August 13, 2022 | Sundance 

For many people Salman Rushdie is perhaps the most well-known free speech defender in the current generation. He certainly is one of the bravest people who originally spoke out against Islamic extremism with his 1988 book Satanic Verses.

Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie’s death over what he claimed were blasphemous references to Islam. A $3 million bounty was placed on his head for anyone who kills him. The fatwa was never rescinded, and Rushdie spent well over a decade hiding under protective custody.

In recent years Rushdie has been a visible advocate for free speech and has given multiple speeches on issues around the need for freedom of expression. During a speech yesterday he was attacked and stabbed multiple times.

[New York] – Author Salman Rushdie is likely to lose one of his eyes and is currently on a ventilator after he was attacked on stage at a literary event in upstate New York on Friday, a report said.

“The news is not good,” the 75-year-old writer’s agent, Andrew Wylie, told The New York Times. “Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged,” said Wylie.

Rushdie, who is still unable to speak, was attacked by a lone man while speaking at an event at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY, about 55 miles south of Buffalo.

He was scheduled to speak about the United States as a place for exiled authors “as a home for freedom of expression,” according to the institute. After the stabbing, he was transported by helicopter to a hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he underwent surgery.

[…] Rushdie’s alleged attacker, 24-year-old Hadi Matar, of Fairview, New Jersey, was arrested at the scene by a state trooper who was assigned to the lecture. (read more)

Biden Begs Saudi Arabia for Oil

Armstrong Economics Blog/Energy Re-Posted Jul 19, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia did not go as planned. Saudi Arabia will temporarily increase oil production in July and August in exchange for a slew of removed restrictions. Civilian aircrafts from Israel will be permitted to fly over Saudi Arabia. Peacekeepers will be removed from Tiran Island, where US soldiers have been stationed since the late 1970s. Five Americans were killed in a helicopter crash over this region in 2020, but intel swears it had nothing to do with terrorism. Tiran Island will now be redeveloped into a tourist destination, although I am unsure how eager the general public will be to visit.

Per usual, Biden pledged to give a foreign nation tons of money to develop their infrastructure while leaving America in the dust. This will be done through support for the US Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII), which was announced at the last G7 summit. The US will also help Saudi Arabia deploy 5G technology and expand internet access.

Humorously, Biden welcomed the Partnership Framework for Advancing Clean Energy to help Saudi Arabia “transition and combat the effects of climate change.” Oil is the Saudi’s bread and butter, and building green energy infrastructure is likely not a promise that will be kept.

Both the left and right are angry with the president for grappling at the feet of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Bernie Sanders slammed Biden for visiting Saudi Arabia. “If this country believes in anything, we believe in human rights, we believe in democracy, and I just don’t believe that we should be maintaining a warm relationship with a dictatorship like that,” Sanders said. Biden maintained that he spoke to the crown prince about the death of Khashoggi at the top of the meeting, but the crown prince maintained innocence and said to tread lightly when interfering in alleged human rights abuses.

Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, explained it well. “The Crown Prince pointed out to President Biden that we the kingdom, the respect for human rights is a core value for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia based on our Islamic beliefs and our Arab heritage. And that it’s absolutely important that values be spread through dialogue. Trying to impose your values on others is not going to be effective. It will get you a negative reaction. … The right way to try and put your values forward is to show the world that you adhere first of all to those values, that you are respecting your own values.”

Basically, Saudi Arabia is going to continue operating as it sees fit and has the leverage to negotiate lucrative deals since the US is unwilling to drill. “In the end you cannot impose your values by force. … The Crown Prince was quite clear with President Biden, and we have our own values and those are not going to align 100% with US values ever because we are very, very proud of our own traditions, our own values, our own faith,” bin Farhan said.

Biden Visits Saudi Arabia, Returns with an Empty Tin Cup and Urgent Need for More Windmills

Posted originally on the conservative tree house on July 16, 2022 | Sundance

Joe Biden is heading back from an embarrassing trip to Saudi Arabia and the middle east.  Putting aside the fact that physically and mentally Biden looked weak, foolish, and generally incoherent, in an odd way he was appropriately representative of the current of U.S. influence on the global stage.

Before getting to detail, first it is important to emphasize a point that doesn’t get attention domestically.  Democrats are exceptionally weak on all aspects of foreign policy, specifically because their modern ideology is based on hypocrisy of a stunning magnitude.

Domestically, the U.S. media protect democrats by spinning everything into the best light possible.

However, on the world stage the non-western leaders like Putin, Xi and MbS use that hypocrisy like geopolitical ammunition.

Examples… Domestically the U.S. media do not bring up the Joe Biden Afghanistan mess, the rise -and current legitimacy- of the terrorist Taliban; or the brutal mess Barack and Hillary created in Libya; or the unauthorized intervention into Syria that created ISIS; or the complete fubar that was an illegitimate invasion of Iraq; or Hillary’s insufferable “reset” in Russia; or their inability to deal with China’s proxy province of North Korea, because they pretend it’s not; or the current circus célebrè in Ukraine.

Each region, and there are many more, a typical example of how modern democrats are fundamentally weak on foreign policy.  It is not just Joe Biden either; just about every leftist head of state within the alliance of “western democracies” are also pathetically impotent when it comes to influence on a global stage.

The U.K’s Boris Johnson, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern and France’s Emmanuel Macron are collectively as pathetic as Biden when it comes to leadership and influence.  Once they step out of their ‘liberal democracy‘ bubble, and head into a nation that doesn’t have state run media like CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, Politico and/or The New York Times, those leaders look like the pathetic fools they are.

Biden and the rest of the leftist heads of state decry “autocracy,” and wax philosophically about “western democratic values”, while standing atop two years of their authoritarian pandemic rules, regulations, mandates and unilateral fiats.   Consider their chase for their beloved climate change energy policy and contrast it against their political pearl-clutching over the energy inflation they created.

Is it any surprise that Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez-Obrador want’s nothing to do with the other two knuckleheaded leaders of North America who are selling windmills while regulating traditional oil, coal and natural gas out of existence?  At a certain point, a good neighbor has to look at the duct-taped landscaping and say this is ridiculous.  I digress.

The point is that the so called “western values” are nothing more than high-minded think tank talking points.  Nowhere in actual policy do you find western values exhibited in real world action.   Biden wants to confront Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), or Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping over possible human rights abuses, while the same Joe Biden is locking up his political opposition under the justification of an insurrection?  Wait, what?

Yeah, so we started a civil war in Libya and thousands of people are dying in the aftermath. So what?   Biden is here to talk about the Khashoggi splinter your eye, not the Abu Ghraib plank in his.  And, oh yeah, don’t you dare talk about Biden shutting down pipelines and his beloved Green New Deal, just give the U.S. more oil damn you, or something.

I remember well in 2016 when the U.S. media were saying Hillary Clinton was going to mop the floor with Donald Trump at a foreign policy debate.  All Trump had to do was point out the stupid Clinton state dept hypocrisies and it looked like he just threw a bucket of water on the wicked witch.  Hillary melted, and it was hilarious.

Fast forward four years later and another foreign policy matchup was scheduled between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.  Do you remember what happened?  If not, it wouldn’t be surprising, because THEY CANCELLED THE DEBATE.  Why? …

…. Because Trump the peacemaker had just introduced the Abraham Accords.  There was actual peace finally in the Middle east. The U.S. embassy in Israel was built in Jerusalem, without violence.  The U.S. under Trump had a peaceful relationship and mutual understanding with North Korea and Kim Jong Un.  North and South Korea were talking about reunification.  ISIS was destroyed; there was no longer any issue with Syria, and Turkish PM Erdogan was both accountable and on a leash.  There was no conflict with Russia; no expansion of NATO and every NATO country finally paying for their own defense.  Yeah, go figure, THEY CANCELLED THE DEBATE.

Donald Trump had the upper hand in all of his foreign policy engagements, because Trump foreign policy was not inherently based on hypocrisy.

Joe Biden, not so much…

From MbS as interpreted: “We agree on many things, but we differ on a few others. Every country has its own culture and circumstances. I respect yours, you respect mine. Do not impose your culture on us. Do not impose your beliefs on us.” … “We agree we need to do more for climate change, but you guys are doing it wrong by favoring certain energy sources over others. The world needs energy security. We need all energy sources including oil & gas. We are doing our part on both fronts: climate change & energy security.” … “The stage of a country’s economic & social development must be considered in climate change negotiations.” … “We are increasing our production capacity to 13 million barrels per day (from 12 mb/d), but that is it. We cannot do more.”  The message here is: You guys do your part and invest more if you want to avoid energy crises, recessions, and unemployment. Do NOT blame us!

(Via Wall Street Journal) – After his meeting with the crown prince, Mr. Biden said he felt confident that Saudi officials are supportive of increasing oil supply in the coming weeks. But Saudi officials tempered expectations, reiterating that the kingdom would do what is needed to balance the market if there is a shortage of supply.

Any action, Saudi officials said, would need to be coordinated with the rest of OPEC+, a coalition that includes the Saudi-led Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and a separate group of crude producers led by Russia. OPEC+’s current production agreement is expiring at the end of August, setting up some crucial decisions about output for the Saudis and Russians in the next month.

[…]  Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said after the summit that there had been no discussion of military or technical cooperation with Israel.

Aside from the U.S. saying the Saudis would work to settle the war in Yemen, which it was already doing, the White House didn’t detail any specific human rights-related concessions that the kingdom agreed to during the meeting.

To the Saudis, the benefit of the visit was more immediately evident. From the moment Mr. Biden arrived at the gilded royal palace in this seaside city, Saudi officials enthusiastically held up the meeting as evidence of the crown prince’s renewed influence. State media promoted photos and videos of the two leaders together. Saudi newspapers later showcased images of the duo bumping fists and sitting together at a conference table. “All Weather Friends,” read one local headline.

“The fact that they’ve come and met means we can resolve these matters quicker and faster, because there’s a personal relationship, and the kingdom has historically had a personal relationship with the president of the United States,” said Princess Reema bint Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to Washington. “So, this isn’t a matter of turning the page. This is a matter of strengthening the relationship.”

Mr. Biden is the latest world leader to make the trip to see the 36-year-old crown prince after years of keeping him at arm’s length over the killing of Mr. Khashoggi. French President Emmanuel Macron traveled to Saudi Arabia in December, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the trip in March. (read more)