Now this is a disturbing bit of news. The UKs Independent reports …
Saudi Arabia intends to buy an “off the shelf” nuclear weapon from Pakistan, according to US officials quoted in The Sunday Times.
The report comes amid ongoing negotiations between Iran and other world powers over its nuclear programme, and a potential thawing of relations between the US and Iran.
Saudi Arabia is wary of a potential deal on Iran’s nuclear programme and Prince Turki bin Faisal, the former Saudi intelligence chief, has warned that it could pave the way for nuclear proliferation in the region.
The Sunday Times report suggests that Saudi Arabia has already taken the decision to acquire a nuclear device from its ally Pakistan.
The report quotes an anonymous US defence official as saying: “There has been a longstanding agreement in place with the Pakistanis [over nuclear weapons] and the House of Saud has now made the strategic decision to move forward.”
FYI, that Sunday Times article is here. (and yes, sorry, they have a paywall)
So let’s see then … a nation run by a strand of extremely fanatical Islamic clerics, essentially a theocratic dictatorship, will gain access to Nuclear weapons … what could possibly go wrong?
So is this true, or is something else going on?
The bottom line is that we do not really know, so I’ll indulge myself in a bit of speculation.
Iran has been flexing its regional influence by reaching out in many directions, and so the threat of a different faction of Islam, Shi’ism, becoming more powerful and more influential must indeed be something that greatly worries Saudi Arabia, not just in theory but also in reality. In response to this threat, Saudi Arabia has already launched a war against the Iran-backed Houthi takeover of Yemen with a series of air strikes. In response to that, Houthi forces launched a large scale cross-border attack on Saudi Arabia on 1st May that has been pushed back.
The stories of a Nuclear Saudi Arabia may have in fact been designed to send a clear decisive message to Iran telling them in no uncertain terms that Saudi Arabia will do whatever it takes, and that Iran needs to back off, or else.
But why would Iran be acting so decisively against Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Arabia has been pumping the stuff like crazy and forcing the price right down. Low oil prices are a direct threat to Iran (despite the sanctions) It is their life blood, so they have been seeking to not only control the flow of oil but to also destabilise Saudi Arabia. One step on that road includes putting in place an Iran friendly regime in Yemen and to also nurture Shiite uprisings in the region. I’m not making this up, Iran has indeed directly threatened Saudi Arabia over this precise issue.
It also most probably explains the Saudi insistence on hanging a prominent Shia cleric who has been critical of the house of Saud in the next week or so.
In the end it all most probably comes down to several things … fanatical beliefs (Wahhabbism vs Shi’ism), and wealth that is determined by who controls the flow of oil.