President Trump, King Salman Inaugurate Center

Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology

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Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – On the second day of his official visit to Saudi Arabia, US President Donald Trump joined Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in a ceremony inaugurating Saudi Arabia’s new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology. Trump did not make any remarks at the ceremony.

The traveling journalists reported it was a dark circular room — fairly sterile and mostly gray and white — that appeared to be the hub of the new center. Along the edges of the room were three main groupings of computer terminals — each five or six rows deep, with dozens of individual workstations in each row manned by men wearing traditional red checkered ghutra. The far wall of monitors opposite from where journalists were stationed, was dark save for a spinning white and gray globe. Another side had a large square panel of monitors displaying nine separate feeds of news networks. Two other screens simply displayed the logo of the new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology.

Saudi Arabia's new Global Center for Combatting Extremist Ideology3

Two stories up overlooking the floor behind glass walls were additional work areas — these staffed by women in dark abayas.

The room was lit at that point only by more than three dozen whirling blue spotlights, giving the room the feel of a hybrid “24” CTU operations floor and television game show set.

Music played overhead as a procession of dignitaries arrived, including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump in the first wave. It was noted that Kushner and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud were engaged in a friendly conversation as the prince pointed out the room’s features.

Shortly after, President Trump along with King Salman and other leaders arrived together. Quickly, he and the King touched down together on the closest globe, setting off a dramatic flourish to the music and lighting up the room brighter and changing dark screens live with various Chartbeat-style statistical displays and scrolling screens of counter-terrorism digital videos.

Saudi Arabia's new Global Center for Combatting Extremist Ideology2

An unnamed host who presented various features of the room described it as a dashboard of artificial intelligence information tracking online sentiments. He said the center has 350 technicians in the main room. That includes a media monitoring system that can monitor 100 tv channels in 11 different languages.

The program was started by the deputy crown prince two years ago.

After the presentation, the US President, the king and other leaders gathered for a group photo in front of the main dashboard, which now displayed the center’s logo surrounded by 56 national flags.

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