Saudi King Salman at a graduation ceremony at King Faisal Air College in Riyadh, January 2017.
Faisal Al Nasser / Reuters

The Saudis are so excited about U.S. President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit that they’ve created a website in four languages with a countdown clock and information about the various bilateral, pan-Arab, and pan-Islamic meetings that Trump will hold in the Kingdom.

Over the past few years, it has become commonplace for the political and military leadership in the Gulf States from Muscat to Riyadh to rail against U.S. policy under the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama. In the view of many of these leaders, it led to the meteoric rise of Iran, their arch-nemesis, and exacerbated regional turmoil. Since Trump’s election, the shift in attitudes across the region has been notable.

Gulf leaders deeply distrusted President Obama (the feeling was probably mutual), and they were pleased by the notion that pretty much any president after Obama would bring welcome change. That it was

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  • BILAL Y. SAAB is Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Peace and Security Initiative at the Atlantic Council's Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.
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