Cash strapped Pakistan may sell nukes to Saudi Arabia

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by bhramos, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    Cash strapped Pakistan may sell nukes to Saudi Arabia

    8ak: Here is the sad truth about Saudi Arabia. The ruling family keeps all the wealth for themselves while keeping their population subjugated by sheer brute force, lack of democracy or any form of people power and an extreme if not barbaric interpretation of Islam that for instance does not allow Muslim women to drive. Can you imagine if India imposed a law that forebade Muslim women to drive? So you can see why most of the locals hate the royal family and why separatist tensions are always high to ensure an equal distribution of wealth. There is also subjugation of the Shia who are a minority there but the rulers in Iran hence a long history between the two states. In light of this, please read the following:

    StrategyPage: A prime customer for Pakistani nukes is Saudi Arabia, which fears increased Iranian aggression once Iran acquires nukes. The Saudis have already bought ballistic missiles from China (which is suspected of supplying Pakistan with some nuclear weapons technology.) Saudi Arabia has the cash to buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan (along with the technology to build a ballistic missile warhead for them). Saudi Arabia would need several dozen nuclear weapons to provide them with an adequate counter to Iranian nukes. This would benefit Pakistan in that Iranian control of Arab oil in the Persian Gulf would put Pakistan at a disadvantage against their Iranian neighbor. Full news

    8ak - Indian Defence News: Cash strapped Pakistan may sell nukes to Saudi Arabia
     
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  3. Calanen

    Calanen Regular Member

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    Hell Australia should buy the nukes from Pakistan. I've heard rumours that we have them anyway.
     
  4. ZOOM

    ZOOM Founding Member

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    Certainly, Possible sale of Pakistani Nuke to Saudi Arabia cannot be rulled out in near future with the domilition of world order which monitor proliferation of Nucler weapons like NPT and CTBT, or the lowering of US influence in the world cannot be discounted for the happening of such event.

    Since Pakistan has already sold themselves to countries like China, US and Arabs, hence Nukes won't be a big deal to put it on marketing bet.
     
  5. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    I highly doubt it. Its mere speculation.
     
  6. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    I am not sure Paks have selling rights. I dont know whether US and China would agree to such transaction. Pak Nukes are to keep India at bay(no matter what the provocation from the former to the latter).
     
  7. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    How are they cash strapped when everybody has donated huge sums, USA,IMF,SA, etc... or is this just an excuse to return the nukes to their truE owners?
     
  8. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    I wonder what the Iranian and Israeli response will be?
     
  9. F-14

    F-14 Global Defence Moderator Senior Member

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  10. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    Pakistan is at present need of money, they have already barter nuclear tech for north korean missile, therefore i wont be surprise if Pakis might sell few nukes to get over present crises if US or China or WB or IMF dont bail them out.

    What happens afterword will be quite interesting, this will also give excuise for the others to buy nukes.
     
  11. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    they already have 15 billion from different sources, this is just an excuse because they want to proliferate. Pakistan is going to shatter Obama's NPT dreams.
     
  12. leonblack08

    leonblack08 Respected Member

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    I have the same feeling here.After all its not a BMW.Uncle Sam will not let this happen.KSA and Pakistan are both US's customer after all.They will definitely pull the strings.

    In addition,I doubt the authenticity of the source of the news.
     
  13. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    I don't mind if the Pakistanis sell all their nukes to the US. Especially if India pays for all the nukes to be transferred from Pak.:wink:
     
  14. 1.44

    1.44 Member of The Month SEPTEMBER 2009 Senior Member

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    US will kick their asses if they tried.Not to mention end of any future aid money.
    however US should buy their nukes,better for us.
     
  15. Antimony

    Antimony Regular Member

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    Couple of questions:

    1. Which nukes, the duds that AQ Khan made or the ones that china gifted?
    2. Selling or "proliferating"?
     
  16. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Pakistan and the Bomb


    The security of the country’s nuclear arsenal is shaky. What the U.S. needs to do to avert a crisis
    By BRUCE RIEDEL

    The Pakistani army, backed by attack helicopters, is fighting intense gun battles in the Swat valley 60 miles outside the capital of Islamabad with Islamic extremists. Al Qaeda and the Taliban have struck back with suicide bombs in Pakistan’s major cities, including Lahore. A plot in Karachi was foiled but the extremists vow more carnage is imminent.

    The battles are the latest in a deadly struggle for the control of Pakistan. Some are hoping this, at last, is the turning point when the army and the Pakistani government will finally defeat the extremists, but history suggests that conclusion is premature. More likely this will be yet another temporary setback for the Islamists to be followed by new advances elsewhere.

    The fighting has cast a spotlight on the shaky security of Pakistan’s growing nuclear arsenal—the fastest growing arsenal in the world. Pakistan is finishing construction of several new reactors and is seeking to buy more from China to increase its production of fissile material. The United States has provided Pakistan with over $10 billion in military aid since 2001. No one outside Pakistan can say if some of that money was diverted directly to the nuclear program by the army, but undoubtedly the U.S. assistance indirectly made it easier for the army to use its own funds to accelerate the development of its nuclear weapons.

    Today the arsenal is under the control of its military leaders; it is well protected, concealed and dispersed. But if the country fell into the wrong hands—those of the militant Islamic jihadists and al Qaeda—so would the arsenal. The U.S. and the rest of the world would face the worst security threat since the end of the Cold War. Containing this nuclear threat would be difficult, if not impossible.

    The danger of Pakistan becoming a jihadist state is real. Just before her murder in December 2007, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto said she believed al Qaeda would be marching on Islamabad in two years. A jihadist Pakistan would be a global game changer—the world’s second largest Muslim state with nuclear weapons breeding a hothouse of terrorism.

    Yet it’s not inevitable. For the past 60 years, U.S. policy toward the country has been inconsistent and mercurial, rife with double standards with Pakistan’s neighbor India. Increasing calls to “secure” the country’s nuclear weapons by force are far from productive—in fact, it’s making serious work with Pakistan more difficult.

    Pakistan is a unique nuclear weapons state. It has been both the recipient of technology transfers from other states and a supplier of technology to still other states. It has been a state sponsor of proliferation and has tolerated private sector proliferation as well. Pakistan has engaged in highly provocative behavior against India, even initiating a limited war, and sponsored terrorist groups that have engaged in mass casualty terrorism inside India’s cities, most recently last November in Mumbai. No other nuclear weapons state has done all of these provocative actions.

    The origins of the Pakistani nuclear program lie in the deep national humiliation of the 1971 war with India that led to the partition of the country, the independence of Bangladesh and the destruction of the dream of a single Muslim state for all of south Asia’s Muslim population. The military dictator at the time, Gen. Yahya Khan, presided over the loss of half the nation and the surrender of 90,000 Pakistani soldiers in Dacca. The Pakistani establishment determined it must develop a nuclear weapon to counter India’s conventional superiority.

    The new president, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, convened the country’s top 50 scientists secretly in January 1972 and challenged them to build a bomb. He famously said that Pakistanis would sacrifice everything and “eat grass” to get a nuclear deterrent.

    The 1974 Indian nuclear explosion only intensified the quest. Mr. Bhutto received an unsolicited letter from a Pakistani who had studied in Louvain, Belgium, Abdul Qadeer Khan, offering to help by stealing sensitive centrifuge technology from his new employers at a nuclear facility in the Netherlands. Over the next few years—with the assistance of the Pakistani intelligence service, the Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI)—Mr. Khan would steal the key technology to help Pakistan produce fissionable material to make a bomb.

    China also helped the nascent Pakistani program overcome technical challenges. According to some accounts by proliferation experts, it allowed Pakistani scientists to participate in Chinese tests to help them learn more about the bomb. Mr. Khan returned to Pakistan and with ISI built a global proliferation enterprise to acquire the technology he and other scientists needed to get Pakistan its bomb.

    Mr. Bhutto’s handpicked choice for army chief, Zia ul Huq, overthrew his mentor in 1977, executed him and accelerated work on the project. By the late 1980s Pakistan had made sufficient progress that both General Zia and Mr. Khan hinted publicly that Islamabad had a bomb. According to Mr. Khan’s public account, General Zia also warned Israel not to attack Pakistan’s nuclear facilities in the late 1980s or it would destroy Tel Aviv. In 1990 the U.S. imposed sanctions on Pakistan for building the bomb and cut off the supply of F16 jets already paid for by Pakistan.

    Pakistan, like the rest of the world, was caught by surprise in May 1998 when India tested its nuclear arsenal. Despite pleas from President Bill Clinton and other world leaders, Pakistan tested its own devices a few weeks after India. Mr. Clinton offered Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif a $6 billion aid program if he would not test. I was part of the team that made the offer in Islamabad. We later learned Mr. Sharif ordered the tests to proceed while we were still visiting. On the eve of the tests Pakistan claimed Israel was about to attack its nuclear facilities so it had to act. Mr. Sharif proudly announced Pakistan had “a newclear vision,” as the deliberately misspelled English phrase read on posters around the country, for the future.

    Pakistan would soon demonstrate that the bomb gave its military leadership enhanced confidence to deal with India and to take risks. Less than a year after the tests, the Pakistani army initiated a limited war with India in the mountains of the Hindu Kush by crossing the line of control separating Pakistani and Indian forces in Kashmir. The Kargil War, as it is called, dragged on for several weeks.

    In the White House there was growing concern the war would escalate out of control and could even go nuclear. On July 4, 1999, Mr. Clinton and I met with Mr. Sharif alone at Blair House and told him Pakistan was playing with fire. Mr. Sharif agreed to withdraw the army back behind the line of control.

    Within months Mr. Sharif’s handpicked army chief, Pervez Musharraf, who had ordered the Kargil War, overthrew Mr. Sharif and sent him into exile. Mr. Musharraf poured resources into the program.

    The ISI has longstanding ties to a number of Pakistan-based terrorist groups active in India. In December 2001, one staged an attack on the Indian parliament in New Delhi. India blamed Pakistan for the attack and mobilized. Again India and Pakistan appeared on the edge of nuclear disaster. President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell needed almost a year to talk the two back from the brink.

    Another ISI-backed group, Lashkar e Taiba, was behind the terror attack last November in Mumbai that kept the city in chaos for 60 hours. Again the specter of war between two nuclear weapons states was on the global agenda. Again India showed remarkable restraint in response to provocation from Pakistan, grounded in the reality that New Delhi has no attractive military options for retaliation against an opponent armed with nuclear weapons.

    In short, Pakistan’s acquisition of a nuclear deterrent has worked to intimidate its opponent and to allow Pakistan to harbor terrorists who attack India and even to initiate limited military operations. What is not clear is how long India will tolerate such behavior. There are many in India who argue Pakistan must be taught a lesson for Mumbai.

    Pakistan has also behaved as a major proliferator of nuclear technology. A.Q. Khan’s enterprise has become infamous for providing nuclear material and secrets to North Korea, Iran and Libya. Much of his activity was sanctioned by the Pakistani authorities and was part of complex deals to enhance Pakistan’s own deterrent—for example, by acquiring missile technology from Pyongyang. Some of Mr. Khan’s activities were pursued independently of Pakistan’s government for his own wealth. We will probably never know the exact balance between the state’s interests and Mr. Khan’s on every transaction since Mr. Khan is a national hero to Pakistanis and no government in Islamabad is ever likely to reveal all of the dirty truth. The good news is that since Mr. Khan’s televised “confession” in 2004 there has been little evidence of continued Pakistani technology proliferation activity.

    There are, however, persistent reports of some kind of understanding between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia for Islamabad to provide nuclear weapons to Riyadh if the Saudis feel threatened by a third party with nuclear weapons. Then Saudi Defense Minister and now also Crown Prince Sultan visited Mr. Khan’s laboratories in a much publicized visit in the late 1990s. Both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia deny any secret deal, but rumors of one continue to surface as Iran gets closer to developing its own bomb.

    Estimates of the size of Pakistan’s arsenal by outside experts in think tanks range from 60 to 100, with more being produced each year. Pakistan can deliver its weapons by both intermediate range missiles and jet aircraft, including its F16s. The bombs and the delivery systems are dispersed around a country twice the size of California, often buried deep underground.

    Mr. Musharraf created a Strategic Plans Division under his control to provide security for the arsenal. Its director, Lt. General Khalid Kidwai, has lectured across the world on the extensive security layers the SPD has developed both for physical security for facilities and personnel security to prevent unauthorized activity by those overseeing protection. The U.S. has provided expertise to the SPD to help ensure security. For now most experts agree that the necessary security architecture to protect the bomb is in place and the army has control of the weapons securely.

    Of course, if the Pakistani state becomes a jihadist state, then the extremists will inherit the arsenal. There would be calls from the outside to “secure” Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, but since no outsider knows where most of them are located, these calls would be a hollow threat. Even if force was used to capture some of the weapons, Pakistan would retain most of them and the expertise to build more. Finally, Pakistan would use its weapons to defend itself.

    U.S. options would be severely limited by Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. We would need to work with India, Afghanistan, China and others to isolate the danger.

    Islamabad has refused for decades to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), arguing that India must do so first. After the 1998 tests I joined then Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott in an intensive diplomatic effort to persuade both India and Pakistan to sign the CTBT. The Pakistanis were the harder sell and we never even came close to an agreement with them. The effort failed entirely when the U.S. Senate refused to ratify the treaty in 2000.

    Islamabad believes it was deeply unfair for Washington to offer India a civil nuclear deal in 2005 and not give Pakistan the same opportunity. The deal gives India access to advanced nuclear technology in return for international safeguards on some but not all of its reactors. Pakistanis believe the deal with India underscores America’s tilt toward the richer and bigger India and is yet another sign of Washington’s unreliability as an ally. Pakistan’s past proliferation behavior has so far ruled it out for a similar deal.

    Last year the new elected civilian leadership boldly proposed that Pakistan adopt a policy of no first use of nuclear weapons. The army made it clear that it disagreed with President Asif Zardari and would not accept a no-first-use pledge. The Mumbai attack put all talk of that pledge off the table for now, but it is a good idea that Mr. Zardari should raise again if and when relations with India improve.

    U.S. policy toward Pakistan in general and the Pakistani bomb in particular has oscillated wildly over the past 30 years between blind enchantment and unsuccessful isolation. President Ronald Reagan turned a blind eye to the program in the 1980s because he needed General Zia and the ISI to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. President George H. W. Bush sanctioned Pakistan for building the bomb in 1990, and Mr. Clinton added more sanctions after the 1998 tests. Both had no choice as Congress had passed legislation that tied their hands and required mandatory sanctions implementation.

    President George W. Bush lifted the sanctions after 9/11 and poured billions into the Pakistani army, much of it unaccounted for, in return for Pakistan’s help again in Afghanistan. On his watch the CIA dismantled much of the A.Q. Khan global network.

    President Barack Obama has a full agenda with Pakistan, burdened by the war in Afghanistan, the hunt for al Qaeda and the internal crisis inside Pakistan. But the nuclear issue will not go away. Mr. Obama’s call for a world without nuclear weapons and his pursuit of Senate ratification of the CTBT will inevitably mean arms control will be back on the U.S.-Pakistan agenda.

    It is in Pakistan’s interest to get into the arms control debate on its own terms. Islamabad should put the no-first-use pledge back on the table with India, and it should sign the CTBT without demanding Indian adherence first. Pakistan’s arsenal works, and it does not need to test again. If it wants to get into the global arms control architecture and get a deal like the one India has gotten, Pakistan needs to show that the days of A.Q. Khan, Kargil and Mumbai are over for good and that it is addressing all the challenges it faces.

    In the meantime Americans should stay away from idle talk by politicians and pundits about “securing” Pakistan’s weapons by force. Such chatter is not only unrealistic but actually counterproductive. It makes the atmosphere for serious work with Pakistan on nuclear security harder, not easier. It gives the jihadists further ammunition for their charge that America secretly plans to disarm the only Muslim state with a bomb in cahoots with India and Israel.

    America needs a policy toward Pakistan and its bomb which emphasizes constancy and consistency and an end to double standards with India. Congress should quickly pass the Kerry-Luger bill that triples economic aid without adding crippling conditions. We should provide military aid, like helicopters and night vision devices, that helps fight extremist groups. We should also continue providing expertise in nuclear security and safety to Pakistan—that is in our interest.

    Today some in Pakistan recognize at long last the existential threat to their freedoms comes from within, from the jihadists like the Taliban and al Qaeda, not from India. Now is the time to help them and ensure their hand is on the nuclear arsenal.

    Corrections & Amplifications
    The president of Pakistan in 1971 was Gen. Yahya Khan. A previous version of this article incorrectly said the military dictator at the time was Yaqub Khan. In addition, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was president in January 1972, not prime minister, as the article incorrectly stated in a previous version.

    —Bruce Riedel is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. A former CIA officer, he chaired President Obama’s strategic review of policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan this winter.

    Pakistan and the Bomb: How the U.S. Can Divert a Crisis - WSJ.com
     
  17. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Pakistan’s growing N-arsenal


    Not India, but a West Asian arms race and the US are driving Pakistan’s nuclear technology expansion

    Why is Pakistan—a country teetering on the brink of breakdown and heavily dependent on the international community for life support—not only increasing its stockpile of fissile material for nuclear weapons, but also expanding its capacity to produce more? The reflexive answer usually is: because of India. Now, there is little doubt that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is India-centric, but this by itself does not completely explain Pakistan’s behaviour. Understanding Pakistan’s nuclear expansion will be incomplete without accounting its participation in the West Asian arms race and its insecurities arising from Washington’s involvement in its nuclear affairs.


    First, the Pakistani military establishment knows from its experiences of the 1999 Kargil war, the 2002 military stand-off and the events following the terrorist attacks on Mumbai last November that its existing nuclear deterrent works. The gravest Pakistani provocation is routinely reciprocated by Indian restraint. Indeed, were it not for Pakistan’s unwillingness to abandon the use of terrorism as an instrument of its policy towards India, it is evident that nuclear weapons would nearly eliminate all risk of war between the two countries.
    Second, it is implicit in India’s nuclear doctrine—no first use, with a minimum credible deterrent—that it does not matter greatly to New Delhi whether Pakistan has 60 warheads or 120. Even if Pakistan’s nuclear guardians distrust mere words, they cannot be entirely oblivious to the fact that, despite having the means to do so, India has not invested in a single new nuclear reprocessing plant—which would increase India’s capacity to build warheads—over the last decade.


    Also, while the India-US nuclear deal enables New Delhi to expand its civilian nuclear power generation capacity, without new reprocessing plants, it constrains the number of warheads India can produce. Under the terms of the deal, India agreed to the separation of its civilian and military facilities. It also agreed to prematurely close down the weapons-related CIRUS research reactor near Mumbai by 2010; as of date, India has not even announced plans for a replacement.


    Third, up until 26/11, India and Pakistan were engaged in a peace process: not quite the conditions for Pakistan to seek a quantum leap in its nuclear arsenal.
    Persuading Pakistan to halt N-expansion requires both the US and China to change their ways
    At the margin, therefore, more warheads do not provide more security for Pakistan vis-à-vis India. So, an analysis of Pakistan’s motives must consider alternative explanations.
    Bruce Riedel, who chaired US President Barack Obama’s policy review for Afghanistan-Pakistan, points out in a recent essay in The Wall Street Journal that there have been “persistent reports of some kind of understanding between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia for Islamabad to provide nuclear weapons to Riyadh if the Saudis feel threatened by a third party with nuclear weapons.” And although they both deny a secret deal, “rumours of one continue to surface as Iran gets closer to developing its own bomb”.


    British journalists Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark, citing former senior US and Pakistani officials, write that the Saudis wanted the “finished product, to stash away in an emergency, and Pakistan agreed to supply it in return for many hundreds of millions of dollars”. Pakistan also brokered the transfer of the nuclear-capable CSS-2 missiles from China to Saudi Arabia in the late 1980s.



    As Iran gets closer to building a nuclear arsenal, Saudi Arabia—the Iranian Shia theocracy’s geopolitical and ideological rival—is likely to seek a nuclear balance across the Persian Gulf. Using Pakistan to hold its arsenal in trust allows Saudi Arabia to stay clear of violating its non-proliferation commitments. Now, even if Pakistan’s own insecurities with respect to its eastern neighbour are kept out of the calculation, Iran’s nuclearization suggests that Pakistan will have to build additional capacity for its Saudi Arabian partner. In other words, Pakistan is in a nuclear arms race all right—but it’s probably a West Asian one.


    There is another angle: After 9/11, the US took steps to “secure” Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal to prevent its unauthorized use. The military establishment fears that its arsenal is compromised by US supervision and potential plans to snatch it. Pakistani leaders believe that nuclear weapons are their ultimate insurance policy. Therefore, the army is likely to protect its nuclear autonomy by building a second, more secret arsenal. The US Congressional Research Service reports that Pakistan has indeed developed such an arsenal although it is described as a “second strike capability” against India. Because of their inability to fully secure Pakistan’s arsenal, US efforts might have paradoxically increased proliferation risks.


    Persuading Pakistan to halt the expansion of its nuclear weapons programme requires both the US and China to change their ways. Money is fungible—it is untenable to argue that US taxpayers are not financing Pakistan’s bomb: US cash going to Islamabad, even if not targeted for military use, only frees up Pakistan’s other resources for nuclear weapons. Washington must then tie its aid to Pakistan freezing further capacity addition. Unless the US shows that it is serious about the matter, how can it expect to get China to stop selling nuclear technology to Pakistan?

    Pakistan?s growing N-arsenal - Views - livemint.com
     
  18. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    I believe its mere speculation that Pak "may" sell some of its nukes, they have already been bought by the Saudis.
     
  19. VayuSena1

    VayuSena1 Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    I doubt the whole conversation here. The reasons and possibilities are as follows:

    1) Pakistan selling nuclear weapons to an eager Saudi would be first detected by the military intelligence in Israel, leading to a possible aggressive assault by the Israeli Air Force on the nuclear installations.

    2) Pakistan selling Chinese-gained nuclear technology to USA-- Chinese government would do anything to let Pakistan keep the nuclear weapons, even if it means donating millions of dollars to them to keep them from selling anything. This is the diplomatic approach I am talking about, unless the Chinese want to weight their technology heavier than the Pakistani alliance and therefore try to take their nuclear weapons by force.

    3) Any attempted sale by Pakistan of something nuclear will be first noticed by the CIA and therefore would lead to severe embargo. While Iran has managed to survive embargos because of oil money, Pakistan has no such thing to export that the world needs very badly, resulting in the collapse of that country and therefore giving a free control to Taliban and other Jihadi organizations.

    4) Another outcome of (1) can be that instead of Israelis, the Iranians could point their ballistic missiles towards Saudi and perhaps even launch a Saddam-like assault just to get hold of the weapons. If Iran has the courage to tough talk USA, I am sure that they are more than capable to handle combined Gulf Cooperation Council forces of Saudi Arabia.

    Therefore, looking at all this it is impossible for Pakistan to make a proliferation to Saudi Arabia for financial excuses, considering that both Israel and Iran would not tolerate a nuclear state right beside them apart from Saudi earning the wrath of USA and NATO countries.
     
  20. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    More terror groups eye Pak nuke weapons: Petraeus


    Many terror groups based in the region are eyeing Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, a top most US commander has said stressing that a strong vigil is needed to be maintained.
    Hinting that groups other than al- Qaeda and Taliban might be seeking to arm themselves with nuclear weapons, General David Petraeus, Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan has suggested that US should stay engaged in the area in which "we have such vital interests".

    Though the US commander did not name the groups, American security officials have said that Punjab based groups like LeT, JeM and Sipah-i-Sabha were now working closely with al-Qaeda and Taliban in the tribal areas close to the Af-Pak border.

    The General also raised the possibility of operating joint military bases with local forces, after US troops withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014.

    Previously US had said that it was only groups like al- Qaeda and Taliban that were out to acquire small sized nuclear weapons, but now General David Petraeus, Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan said "there are many groups operating on Pak-Afghan border eyeing weapons of mass destructions".

    "There are certainly other elements in Pakistan, the Pakistani Taliban and several other varieties of elements who generally have symbiotic relationships, the most extreme of which might, indeed, value access to nuclear weapons or other weapons that could cause enormous loss of life," Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    While the focus of the hearing was the war in Afghanistan, the central theme of the US commanders deposition was on threat emanating from ungoverned areas of Pakistan, which served as havens for terror groups of all hues.

    While assuring the lawmakers that nuclear weapons of Pakistan were for the moment safe and secure, the General said a constant vigil needed to be maintained.

    "I mean, they killed several thousands in one destructive act. And some have shown a willingness to carry out similar destructive acts if they had the means at their survival," he said.

    The General said it was very important for US to stay engaged in the region and for this he mooted the idea of setting up joint military bases with local forces.

    Citing his tenure in Iraq, Petraeus said that US should have enabler troops that train, advise and support local forces in countries where the US has important security interests.

    He and Michele Flournoy, the Under Secretary of Defence stressed at the meeting that any continued military relationship with Afghanistan would require negotiations with the government there.

    Senators both Republicans and Democrats pressed to find out what could be done to assist and even compel Pakistan to do more to rout insurgents from those areas.

    "The Pakistanis are the first to note that more needs to be done", Petraeus said. The General said while the bulk of al-Qaeda was holed up underground in the tribal area, the group continued to maintain small presence inside Afghanistan.

    Petraeus said al-Qaeda had about 100 operatives or fighters inside Afghanistan. On efforts to woo Taliban foot soldiers, the US commander said attempts were showing progress and about 700 former Taliban fighters had officially reintegrated with the Afghan authority and another 2000 were now in early stages of reintegration process.




     
  21. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    If Petraeus was really concerned about this it sure was not expressed at the NSG in the China-Pak nuke deal.
     

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