Saudi Arab Threatens To Abandon Its Non-Nuclear Status

Discussion in 'Subcontinent & Central Asia' started by pyromaniac, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. pyromaniac

    pyromaniac Founding Member

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    The United States believes that Pakistan has 60 nuclear weapons, and is producing nuclear material for at least 5-6 more bombs a year. The U.S. has provided money and technical assistance to ensure the security of those weapons. It is believed that Pakistan stores its nukes with the nuclear material kept separate from the rest of the weapon (which contains the explosives that compress the enriched uranium, causing the nuclear explosion, as well as the electronics and warhead components needed to trigger the explosion.)

    Pakistan built its nuclear weapons in order to guarantee its independence from Indian attack, invasion and conquest. India has no interest in conquering Pakistan. That would nearly double the number of Moslems in India, as well as adding an area that has a lot more poverty and corruption. Then there are the Pakistani tribal territories, with over 20 million tribal people who have, for thousands of years, raided into, and occasionally invaded, India. Pakistanis are coming to accept this Indian attitude as true, and for the last five years, the two countries have been negotiating to settle the territorial and political differences that have caused decades of violence (and four wars) between the two nations. Most people, on both sides of the border, agree that a nuclear war would be a tragic disaster for both nations, insuring that neither could claim "victory" with a straight face.

    Pakistan denies that it is expanding its nuclear arsenal, but U.S. intelligence (and their Indian counterparts) believe otherwise. Sixty weapons should be sufficient to maintain the "balance of terror" with India. What no one wants to discuss openly is the risk of Pakistan selling its "surplus" of nukes to another country. Pakistan certainly needs the money, and already has a track record of peddling nuclear weapons technology. The UN IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) continues investigating Pakistani nuclear weapons scientist A Q Khan's illegal nuclear weapons technology smuggling organization. IAEA believes that Khan's group not only had a wider reach than previously thought, but is still in business.

    Khan is suspected of peddling nuclear secrets as far back as the late 1990s. In 2004, Khan finally admitted it. There was popular outrage in Pakistan at a local politicians suggestion that A Q Khan, who originally stole technology from the West and created Pakistan's nuclear bombs, be questioned by foreign police for his role in selling that technology (as a private venture) to other nations (like Libya and North Korea). Khan was placed under house arrest after he confessed, and kept away from journalists, but was otherwise untouchable, because he was a national hero for creating the "Islamic Bomb." Popular demand eventually led to Khan being released from house arrest last year.

    The IAEA continues to question Khan's customers, some of whom (particularly Libya) have been very cooperative. It is now known, for example, that most of the nuclear weapons documents provided were in electronic form. Thus the information could be easily copied and distributed. There's no way to track down how many copies there are or who has them. It is known that the documents are not in wide distribution, but it is likely that someone (especially in Iran and North Korea) has copies. But there are indications that the documents are still on the market.

    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.


    NBC Weapons: The Saudi Nuke
     
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  3. Ash

    Ash Regular Member

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    Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistani nuclear weapons projects, and believes it could obtain atomic bombs at will, a variety of sources have told BBC Newsnight.

    While the kingdom's quest has often been set in the context of countering Iran's atomic programme, it is now possible that the Saudis might be able to deploy such devices more quickly than the Islamic republic.

    Earlier this year, a senior Nato decision maker told me that he had seen intelligence reporting that nuclear weapons made in Pakistan on behalf of Saudi Arabia are now sitting ready for delivery.

    Last month Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, told a conference in Sweden that if Iran got the bomb, "the Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb, they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring."

    Since 2009, when King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia warned visiting US special envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross that if Iran crossed the threshold, "we will get nuclear weapons", the kingdom has sent the Americans numerous signals of its intentions.

    Gary Samore, until March 2013 President Barack Obama's counter-proliferation adviser, has told Newsnight:

    "I do think that the Saudis believe that they have some understanding with Pakistan that, in extremis, they would have claim to acquire nuclear weapons from Pakistan."

    The story of Saudi Arabia's project - including the acquisition of missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads over long ranges - goes back decades.

    In the late 1980s they secretly bought dozens of CSS-2 ballistic missiles from China.

    These rockets, considered by many experts too inaccurate for use as conventional weapons, were deployed 20 years ago.

    This summer experts at defence publishers Jane's reported the completion of a new Saudi CSS-2 base with missile launch rails aligned with Israel and Iran.

    It has also been clear for many years that Saudi Arabia has given generous financial assistance to Pakistan's defence sector, including, western experts allege, to its missile and nuclear labs.

    Visits by the then Saudi defence minister Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz al Saud to the Pakistani nuclear research centre in 1999 and 2002 underlined the closeness of the defence relationship.


    Defence publisher Jane’s revealed the existence of Saudi Arabia’s third and undisclosed intermediate-range ballistic missile site, approximately 200 km southwest of Riyadh
    In its quest for a strategic deterrent against India, Pakistan co-operated closely with China which sold them missiles and provided the design for a nuclear warhead.

    The Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan was accused by western intelligence agencies of selling atomic know-how and uranium enrichment centrifuges to Libya and North Korea.

    AQ Khan is also believed to have passed the Chinese nuclear weapon design to those countries. This blueprint was for a device engineered to fit on the CSS-2 missile, i.e the same type sold to Saudi Arabia.

    Because of this circumstantial evidence, allegations of a Saudi-Pakistani nuclear deal started to circulate even in the 1990s, but were denied by Saudi officials.

    They noted that their country had signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and called for a nuclear-free Middle East, pointing to Israel's possession of such weapons.

    The fact that handing over atom bombs to a foreign government could create huge political difficulties for Pakistan, not least with the World Bank and other donors, added to scepticism about those early claims.

    In Eating the Grass, his semi-official history of the Pakistani nuclear program, Major General Feroz Hassan Khan wrote that Prince Sultan's visits to Pakistan's atomic labs were not proof of an agreement between the two countries. But he acknowledged, "Saudi Arabia provided generous financial support to Pakistan that enabled the nuclear program to continue."

    Whatever understandings did or did not exist between the two countries in the 1990s, it was around 2003 that the kingdom started serious strategic thinking about its changing security environment and the prospect of nuclear proliferation.

    A paper leaked that year by senior Saudi officials mapped out three possible responses - to acquire their own nuclear weapons, to enter into an arrangement with another nuclear power to protect the kingdom, or to rely on the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.

    It was around the same time, following the US invasion of Iraq, that serious strains in the US/Saudi relationship began to show themselves, says Gary Samore.

    The Saudis resented the removal of Saddam Hussein, had long been unhappy about US policy on Israel, and were growing increasingly concerned about the Iranian nuclear program.

    In the years that followed, diplomatic chatter about Saudi-Pakistani nuclear cooperation began to increase.

    In 2007, the US mission in Riyadh noted they were being asked questions by Pakistani diplomats about US knowledge of "Saudi-Pakistani nuclear cooperation".

    The unnamed Pakistanis opined that "it is logical for the Saudis to step in as the physical 'protector'" of the Arab world by seeking nuclear weapons, according to one of the State Department cables posted by Wikileaks.

    By the end of that decade Saudi princes and officials were giving explicit warnings of their intention to acquire nuclear weapons if Iran did.

    Having warned the Americans in private for years, last year Saudi officials in Riyadh escalated it to a public warning, telling a journalist from the Times "it would be completely unacceptable to have Iran with a nuclear capability and not the kingdom".

    But were these statements bluster, aimed at forcing a stronger US line on Iran, or were they evidence of a deliberate, long-term plan for a Saudi bomb? Both, is the answer I have received from former key officials.

    One senior Pakistani, speaking on background terms, confirmed the broad nature of the deal - probably unwritten - his country had reached with the kingdom and asked rhetorically "what did we think the Saudis were giving us all that money for? It wasn't charity."

    Another, a one-time intelligence officer from the same country, said he believed "the Pakistanis certainly maintain a certain number of warheads on the basis that if the Saudis were to ask for them at any given time they would immediately be transferred."

    As for the seriousness of the Saudi threat to make good on the deal, Simon Henderson, Director of the Global Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told BBC Newsnight "the Saudis speak about Iran and nuclear matters very seriously. They don't bluff on this issue."

    Talking to many serving and former officials about this over the past few months, the only real debate I have found is about how exactly the Saudi Arabians would redeem the bargain with Pakistan.

    Some think it is a cash-and-carry deal for warheads, the first of those options sketched out by the Saudis back in 2003; others that it is the second, an arrangement under which Pakistani nuclear forces could be deployed in the kingdom.

    Gary Samore, considering these questions at the centre of the US intelligence and policy web, at the White House until earlier this year, thinks that what he calls, "the Nato model", is more likely.

    However ,"I think just giving Saudi Arabia a handful of nuclear weapons would be a very provocative action", says Gary Samore.

    He adds: "I've always thought it was much more likely - the most likely option if Pakistan were to honour any agreement would be for be for Pakistan to send its own forces, its own troops armed with nuclear weapons and with delivery systems to be deployed in Saudi Arabia".

    This would give a big political advantage to Pakistan since it would allow them to deny that they had simply handed over the weapons, but implies a dual key system in which they would need to agree in order for 'Saudi Arabian' "nukes" to be launched.

    Others I have spoken to think this is not credible, since Saudi Arabia, which regards itself as the leader of the broader Sunni Islamic 'ummah' or community, would want complete control of its nuclear deterrent, particularly at this time of worsening sectarian confrontation with Shia Iran.

    And it is Israeli information - that Saudi Arabia is now ready to take delivery of finished warheads for its long-range missiles - that informs some recent US and Nato intelligence reporting. Israel of course shares Saudi Arabia's motive in wanting to worry the US into containing Iran.

    Amos Yadlin declined to be interviewed for our BBC Newsnight report, but told me by email that "unlike other potential regional threats, the Saudi one is very credible and imminent."

    Even if this view is accurate there are many good reasons for Saudi Arabia to leave its nuclear warheads in Pakistan for the time being.

    Doing so allows the kingdom to deny there are any on its soil. It avoids challenging Iran to cross the nuclear threshold in response, and it insulates Pakistan from the international opprobrium of being seen to operate an atomic cash-and-carry.

    These assumptions though may not be safe for much longer. The US diplomatic thaw with Iran has touched deep insecurities in Riyadh, which fears that any deal to constrain the Islamic republic's nuclear program would be ineffective.

    Earlier this month the Saudi intelligence chief and former ambassador to Washington Prince Bandar announced that the kingdom would be distancing itself more from the US.

    While investigating this, I have heard rumours on the diplomatic grapevine, that Pakistan has recently actually delivered Shaheen mobile ballistic missiles to Saudi Arabia, minus warheads.

    These reports, still unconfirmed, would suggest an ability to deploy nuclear weapons in the kingdom, and mount them on an effective, modern, missile system more quickly than some analysts had previously imagined.

    In Egypt, Saudi Arabia showed itself ready to step in with large-scale backing following the military overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi's government.

    There is a message here for Pakistan, of Riyadh being ready to replace US military assistance or World Bank loans, if standing with Saudi Arabia causes a country to lose them.

    Newsnight contacted both the Pakistani and Saudi governments. The Pakistan Foreign Ministry has described our story as "speculative, mischievous and baseless".

    It adds: "Pakistan is a responsible nuclear weapon state with robust command and control structures and comprehensive export controls."

    The Saudi embassy in London has also issued a statement pointing out that the Kingdom is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and has worked for a nuclear free Middle East.

    But it also points out that the UN's "failure to make the Middle East a nuclear free zone is one of the reasons the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia rejected the offer of a seat on the UN Security Council".

    It says the Saudi Foreign Minister has stressed that this lack of international action "has put the region under the threat of a time bomb that cannot easily be defused by manoeuvring around it".

    BBC News - Saudi nuclear weapons 'on order' from Pakistan
     
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  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    And what is the US doing about this?

    Soon we will have the Armageddon between the Shias and the Sunnis.

    Maybe that is the aim!
     
  5. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    Those CSS2 are so expensive that they are only to be used for special payload. So KSA were planning it for long time. Probably Pakistan is only country in the world to sold nuke warhead for cash. It is pertinant to note that they were first to barter nukes for missiles from NK. By this rate they will be first country to either give terrorist their nukes or pakistani nukes will come in the hands of terrorists by attack on militry facility.
     
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  6. AVERAGE INDIAN

    AVERAGE INDIAN EXORCIST Senior Member

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    Defence publisher Jane’s revealed the existence of Saudi Arabia’s third and undisclosed intermediate-range ballistic missile site, approximately 200 km southwest of Riyadh

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Long walk Elite Member

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    So the Highly Classified info Become Bright Now

    Once the news was Denoted as "The Bride of the Monarch "

    Now It's Confirmed If Iran announced or Demonstrated a Nuke Device within a Month The KSA too announce the Nuke
     
  8. kseeker

    kseeker Retired

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    We should not be surprised about this news. Long back itself Pukes had announced that, Puke's nuclear weapons are Islamic Nukes, will be shipped to friendly nations whenever need arises !

    Let the game begin and let terrorists kill each other :clobber:
     
  9. Compersion

    Compersion Senior Member Senior Member

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    Saudi Arabia's Shadow War
    The Kingdom is turning to Pakistan to train Syria’s rebels. It’s a partnership that once went very wrong in Afghanistan. Will history repeat itself?

    Saudi Arabia's Shadow War - By David Kenner | Foreign Policy

     
  10. dhananjay1

    dhananjay1 Regular Member

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    This couldn't be going on without the approval of NATO.
     
  11. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    Pakistan may be moving some of its nukes to Saudi Arabia to protect them from Indian airstrikes and cruise missiles. Saudi Arabia could then mate those nukes with longer-range missiles from third-party countries under a cover of plausible deniability, which gives Pakistan a credible second-strike option.
     
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  12. BangersAndMash

    BangersAndMash Regular Member

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    With your imagination, you should be a director for lollywood movies! pakis will come in droves to watch!
     
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  13. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    Relatives have told me that Pakistan, Iran, China, Russia, and the United States all have good reasons to exacerbate tensions between India and Saudi Arabia.

    Pakistan - reasons are obvious
    Iran - the more India and SA dislike each other, the more oil India buys from Iran
    China - is actively pitching that Saudi Arabia should create its own blue-water navy to help secure sea lanes in the IOR. Tensions with India would help immensely in this regard.
    Russia - is the long-term enemy of Saudi Arabia in Chechnya, Syria, Iran, etc.; sells tons of weapons to India, would love to see tensions increase
    The United States - is a large arms supplier of both SA and India, and would love to see them buy more from the LockMart Dollar Store
     
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  14. Illusive

    Illusive Senior Member Senior Member

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    How will pakistan use this second strike capability, from SA?

    And who will provide them long range missiles?
     
  15. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    China would be helped by a naval arms race between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as it would create powerful third-party navies that are mutually competitive yet all share a common interest in protecting Chinese oil shipments across the IOR.

    This would let China secure its oil lanes in the region with fewer deployed assets. It would also loosen the IN's grip over the IOR.
     
  16. ladder

    ladder Senior Member Senior Member

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    Deniability is just like bastard child, effective only until the 'issue' grows up to ask for his/her share.
    That's in other word un-manageable.
    It will be grow into being un-manageable because it's the law of nature.

    Then Saudi will have to decide the price they have to pay.Whatever price that they have to eventually pay will outweigh the advantages as the Saudi know how much the Pakistani are worth.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2013
  17. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    China gave Saudi Arabia DF-3A missiles in 1987. China could easily supply a boosted-range DF-25 if Saudi Arabia ever comes knocking again. The DF-25 is road-mobile, has a CEP of about 50 meters (thanks to the Beidou and GPS links), built-in radar/infrared decoys, a depressed terminal flight profile, and can launch on 15-25 minutes of alert, which makes it immeasurably more effective than the missiles Pakistan currently has.

    Pakistan could simply staff the missile sites with its personnel, and sign a nuclear-assistance treaty with Saudi Arabia similar to what the US has with NATO countries that currently possess US nuclear weapons.
     
  18. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    You do realize that Saudi Arabia has a higher approval rating of the 'Muslim nuke' than Pakistan itself does, right?
     
  19. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    can you give me location of this on google map. it will be very interesting to see if Chinese have same kind of missile launching facility as has KSA. As KSA must have borrowed the practice from PLA.
     
  20. ladder

    ladder Senior Member Senior Member

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    That's because it's not in Saudi soil yet.
    Saudi have financed Pak nuke all through 80's, but still in 2013 you hear the news of reports that states about events in future.
    Food for thought?
    Go figure.
     
  21. Illusive

    Illusive Senior Member Senior Member

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    So Saudi will drag itself in a nuclear war between Indian and pak overtly at the cost of nuking itself conveniently ignoring the fact that they never directly helped them in previous wars.

    You giving long range missiles to SA will only earn you an enemy in Iran.
     

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