Monday, May 18, 2015

Saudis to Buy Pakistani Nuclear Weapons

So much for those who suggested that the Iranian nuclear agreement would not lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle-East. The New York Post reports:
Saudi Arabia will join the nuclear club by buying “off the shelf” atomic weapons from Pakistan, US officials told a London newspaper. 
The Saudis — who financed much of Pakistan’s nuke program — are fearful of international efforts to keep its enemy Iran from acquiring a bomb, the Sunday Times of London reports. The Saudis think the deal, backed by President Obama, will actually accelerate Iran’s nuke push. 
Saudi Arabia has talked for years about acquiring a bomb from the Pakistanis. “The House of Saud has now made the strategic decision to move forward,” a former US defense official said.
A bit more information is available from the Jerusalem Post. In an article on the same topic, Press TV reports:
Back in March, Saudi Arabia became the world’s biggest importer of weapons, according to an arms trade report.

According to the Global Defense Trade Report, Saudi Arabia spent over $6.4 billion on weapons purchases in 2014, putting India in the second place.

Over the past year, the Saudi kingdom increased its arms imports by 54 percent.

“Growth in Saudi Arabia has been dramatic and, based on previous orders, these numbers are not going to slow down,” RT quoted IHS expert Ben Moores as saying.

According to a separate report, Muhammad Khilewi, an official in the Saudi mission to the UN, who requested US asylum in 1994, provided documents which allegedly described the Kingdom’s long-time support for Iraq’s nuclear weapons program during Saddam Hussein's regime. Around $5 billion were given to the regime on the condition that functional nuclear technology and, if possible, nuclear weapons be transferred to Saudi Arabia.
The same article indicates that the CIA is trying to determine if the Saudis may already be in possession of nuclear weapons provided by Pakistan. Saudi Arabia already possesses medium-range ballistic missiles, and so may already have a launch vehicle for the weapons.

Obviously the bombs will need to refurbished and the nuclear material reprocessed at some point (the nuclear material degrades over time as it changes from uranium or plutonium into other elements). But this will give Saudi Arabia nuclear weapons while it builds its own nuclear infrastructure.

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