RAUL DIEGO—Despite all the glamour and fantastical riches ascribed to the Saudi royal family, their wealth is quite literally all in one basket. If the price of oil plummets, so does the ability of the Saudi princes to close billion-dollar weapons deals. In 2017, when the colossal $110 billion arms deal was made between the Trump administration and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, thanks to the work of Squire Patton Boggs, only $14.5 billion had been “earned” one year later.
The reality is that such deals are hardly worth the name. They are mostly comprised of letters of intent and proposals, which prospective buyers may or may not take up. In the case of American client states, like Saudi Arabia, there are ways to make them loosen the purse strings, but when these strings are tied to resources like oil extracted out of a foreign country teeming with armed groups intent on asserting their sovereignty, deals have a tendency to fall through.