So… who is in charge of polishing that Nobel Peace Prize? It might need an extra pass after this news. It appears that the Saudis (our recent partners in war against the proxies of Iran when we’re not fighting with the proxies of Iran) are less than thrilled with the prospect of Tehran being too close to being able to deploy a tactical nuclear weapon. And according to their ambassador, if push comes to shove they’ll just have to whip up a few of their own.
Saudi Arabia will not rule out building or acquiring nuclear weapons, the country’s ambassador to the United States has indicated.
Asked whether Saudi Arabia would ever build nuclear weapons in an interview with US news channel CNN, Adel Al-Jubeir said the subject was “not something we would discuss publicly”.
Pressed later on the issue he said: “This is not something that I can comment on, nor would I comment on.”
The ambassador’s reticence to rule out a military nuclear programme may reignite concerns that the autocratic monarchy has its eye on a nuclear arsenal.
The next part of this story deals with news (or at least rumors) which have been making the rounds for a couple of decades now. If anyone was worried about Saudi Arabia building nukes, it’s at least a concern which could be viewed as being a fair ways down the road. The Saudis do have an extensive and successful nuclear power program to generate energy, but nobody seems to think they’ve been working on the components required to build a bomb. Starting from scratch, one could safely assume that it would be a few years before they would be lighting off any test blasts.
But they might not need to. The royal family are big supporters and close friends with Pakistan. It’s been suspected for quite a while that Saudi Arabia provided a lot of the funding for Pakistan to get their own nuke program off the ground and in return they would reserve the right to purchase some off the shelf bombs from them if the need arose.
The two countries maintain close relations and are sometimes said to have a special relationship; they currently have close military ties and conduct joint exercises.
The Saudi Arabian regime also already possesses medium-range ballistic missiles in the form of the Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force.
In addition it has significant nuclear expertise in the form of a civilian nuclear programme of the kind Iran says it wants to develop.
Meanwhile, how are things going with those negotiations about Iran’s program? It turns out that, at least according to one Iranian defector, the United States isn’t exactly negotiating against Iran. In fact, he claims that it’s pretty much the opposite.
An Iranian journalist writing about the nuclear negotiations between the United States and Iran has defected. In an interview Amir Hossein Motaghi, has some harsh words for his native Iran. He also has a damning indictment of America’s role in the nuclear negotiations.
“The U.S. negotiating team are mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal,” Motaghi told a TV station after just defecting from the Iranian delegation while abroad for the nuclear talks. The P 5 + 1 is made up of United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China, France, plus Germany.
Nothing is ever simple in that part of the world, and when you begin tinkering with the gears (or in the case of Barack Obama, taking your hand off the tiller) there’s no telling what’s going to happen. Managing this situation was always going to be a huge challenge and the current leadership in the White House clearly isn’t getting the job done. Peace is a wonderful goal, but peace through superior firepower was always a more easily implemented strategy.
I don’t think anyone should take this as an idle threat or simple saber rattling from Saudi Arabia. If it looks like Iran is going nuclear, they have the money and the motivation to match them in an attempt to keep some sort of balance of powers in the region. And at that point we may as well just start handing out nukes to everyone.