US officials: ‘Saudis set to buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan’, IBT By Yasmin Kaye May 17, 2015 Saudi Arabia is said to have taken the “strategic decision” to acquire “off-the-shelf” nuclear weapons from ally Pakistan, senior US officials told the Sunday Times.
Sunni Arab states are increasingly concerned of the repercussions of a deal currently being negotiated between world powers and Shi’ite rival Iran, which they fear may still be able to develop a nuclear bomb.
The deal being negotiated between Iran and the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany would see the Shi’ite nation curb its sensitive nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.
“For the Saudis the moment has come,” a former US defence official told the Sunday Times last week.
“There has been a long-standing agreement in place with the Pakistanis and the House of Saud has now made the strategic decision to move forward.”
‘This stuff is available to them off the shelf’
Another US official working in intelligence told the paper that “hundreds of people at [CIA headquarters] Langley” were working to establish whether Islamabad had already supplied the Gulf nation with nuclear technology or weaponry………….
- Saudi Arabia has financed substantial amounts of Islamabad’s nuclear programme over the past three decades, providing Pakistan‘s government with billions of dollars of subsidised oil while taking delivery of Shaheen mobile ballistic missiles.
“Given their close relations and close military links, it’s long been assumed that if the Saudis wanted, they would call in a commitment, moral or otherwise, for Pakistan to supply them immediately with nuclear warheads,” former Foreign Secretary Lord David Owen told the Sunday Times.
A senior British military officer also told the paper that Western military leaders “all assume the Saudis have made the decision to go nuclear.”
“The fear is that other Middle Eastern powers — Turkey and Egypt — may feel compelled to do the same and we will see a new, even more dangerous, arms race.”
Lt.Gen. Khalid Kidwai, who helped develop Pakistan’s nuclear program, denied Islamabad had ever sent nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia or any other country in recent comments. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/us-officials-saudis-set-buy-nuclear-weapons-pakistan-1501733
Saudi Arabia vows to set off new Middle East arms race and ‘match Iran’s nuclear capability’ The Independent ADAM WITHNALL THURSDAY 14 MAY 2015 Saudi Arabia has threatened to spark a new kind of nuclear arms race in the Middle East, setting out a bullish stance ahead of a rare, high-profile meeting of the US and its Gulf allies at Camp David.
President Barack Obama faces an almost impossible balancing act between making overtures to Iran that will allow it to pursue its nuclear programme for energy purposes, and appeasing the security fears of Sunni Arab leaders………..
It sets up the prospect of a new kind of arms race between the Middle East’s various parties – the implication being that if Iran is to be left to its nuclear programme, why shouldn’t Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE?……..http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-vows-to-set-off-new-middle-east-arms-race-and-match-irans-nuclear-capability-10250789.html
Today’s Links 1–Kerry in Riyadh: A meeting of war criminals, wsws Friday, May 8, 2015 http://mikewhitneysgraspingatstraws.blogspot.com.au/
The US president is scheduled to hold a summit at Camp David next week with the crowned royals of the Gulf Cooperation Council. He is prepared to offer them an advanced ballistic missile defense system as well as bunker buster bombs.
CNN quoted a senior US official as saying that “the president’s goal is building a defense infrastructure and architecture for the Gulf region that also includes maritime security, border security, and counter-terrorism.”
In other words, the Obama administration is further solidifying US reliance on the Saudi monarchy as a key pillar of its drive for domination of the strategically vital and oil-rich Middle East. Even as the US and the other major powers negotiate an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program, Washington is building up Saudi Arabia and the other reactionary Gulf states for a possible war against Iran….
Even as it continued bombing Yemeni cities, the Saudi air force, with Washington’s blessings, dropped arms and supplies this week to Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) forces in Yemen, a movement that the Obama administration had previously portrayed as the paramount terrorist threat. As the most rabidly sectarian enemies of the Houthis—inspired by the Saudi monarchy’s state religion of Wahhabi Islamism that animates similar movements, from ISIS to Boko Haram—AQAP has now been recast as Yemeni patriots.
RIYADH—The nuclear deal that the U.S. and other world powers hope to reach with Iran would put a 10-year curb on the Islamic republic’s nuclear program. For some of Iran’s regional rivals, that is also becoming a deadline for developing nuclear arms of their own.
In Saudi Arabia, there are widespread public calls to match Iran’s nuclear quest. The two other Middle East heavyweights, Turkey and Egypt, could also feel compelled to follow suit, senior Western and Arab officials warn.
Such an arms race would further destabilize what is already the world’s most volatile region, where the risks of a nuclear war would be compounded by the threat of radioactive material falling into the hands of terrorist groups……..http://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-considers-nuclear-weapons-to-offset-iran-1430999409
Pakistan Has Complicated Nuclear Relationship With Saudi Arabia, Iran VOA, Ayesha Tanzeem April 07, 2015 ISLAMABAD—
Iran’s foreign minister visits Pakistan Wednesday to discuss the conflict in Yemen, which many see as a fight for influence between regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Iran also has recently reached a framework nuclear agreement with six world powers to possibly curb the weapons potential of its nuclear program.
Saudi Arabia, in the past, has reportedly sought to form its own nuclear alliances to counter a perceived Iranian threat. A member of the Saudi royal family and the kingdom’s former intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal, warned a few months ago that the kingdom would seek the same nuclear capabilities that Tehran is allowed to maintain under any deal.
In this regard, Pakistan’s relationship with the kingdom is unusual.
On one hand, it has sold nuclear secrets to Iran in the past through a network run by former chief Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan. The network also sold nuclear technology or know-how to Libya and North Korea.
On the other, it has faced allegations of promising Saudi Arabia a nuclear umbrella against Iran.
‘Unacknowledged nuclear partnership’…….http://www.voanews.com/content/pakistan-has-complicated-nuclear-relationship-with-saudi-arabia-iran/2710343.html
Saudi Arabia says it won’t rule out building nuclear weapons, TKG News March 27, 2015 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 subject 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.
Western intelligence agencies believe that the Saudi monarchy paid for up to 60% of Pakistan’s nuclear programme in return for the ability to buy warheads for itself at short notice, the Guardian newspaper reported in 2010.
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.
In 2012 the Saudi Arabian government threatened to acquire nuclear weapons were neighbouring regional power Iran ever to do so……..http://www.tkgnews.com/saudi-arabia-says-it-wont-rule-out-building-nuclear-weapons/
Saudi Arabia, South Korea sign MOU on nuclear power Wed Mar 4, 2015 Reuters) – Saudi Arabia and South Korea have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate on the development of nuclear energy, Saudi state news agency SPA said, building on a deal signed in 2011.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye met with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Tuesday in Riyadh during an official visit, SPA said.
The MOU calls for South Korean firms to help build at least two small-to-medium sized nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia, the South Korean presidential office said in a statement.
“If the two units go ahead, the cost of the contract will be (near) $2 billion,” the statement said……http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/04/saudi-south-korea-nuclear-idUSL5N0W61GM20150304
At corporations, the mentality has shifted from being willing to spend a little more money to use green power to viewing the shift to green power as a way to save money.
renewable energy—for so long a flaky, small-scale enterprise—has developed into an industrial-strength solution that affords big companies the opportunity to lock in the cost of electricity over a period of 20 to 25 years
Each of these new, large-scale transactions will displace and obviate the need for power produced from fossil fuels.
Big Solar: Renewable energy finally makes sense as a utility—and that’s why it’s becoming a threat to coal. http://www.slate.com/articles/business/the_juice/2015/02/apple_kaiser_permanente_solar_investments_renewable_energy_is_finally_a.html
Once the technologies were proven, and the costs began to come down, investors and operators stepped in. Companies put up plants, and then made deals with utilities to buy the output—often at a price above the cost of electricity created by coal plants. Utilities complied in part because of state requirements that they source a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources.
Now we’re entering a new stage. Companies in sectors such as technology, health care, and consumer products—all big consumers of power—are striking deals to purchase huge amounts of renewable energy from newly constructed plants
This is different than companies putting up a solar array, or buying some carbon offsets, or making token greenness gestures. They are conjuring into existence new infrastructure that can’t help but replace coal. Continue reading
renewable sources generate up to 65 percent of Canada’s electricity. Solar and wind are the country’s two fastest growing sources.According to him, Solar photovoltaic capacity reached 1,210 megawatts of cumulative installed capacity in 2013. The Canadian Solar Industry Association forecasts that annual capacity will increase three folds by 2025. By then, the Canadian solar industry will support more than 35,000 jobs, displacing 15 to 31 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
Canada has two of the largest solar farms in the world
Saudi Arabia, Canada to hold renewable energy seminar http://www.arabnews.com/economy/news/651686 29 Oct 14, A Canadian trade delegation, headed by Canada’s Deputy Minister of International Trade Simon Kennedy arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday to meet several Saudi officials and major firms with a special focus on renewable energy in Saudi Arabia.
Canadian Ambassador Thomas MacDonald said Canada’s first renewable energy mission, which is focused on solar technology, will visit the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE), the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), ACWA Power and other industry leaders. Continue reading
Pride and pragmatism: The UAE’s nuclear strategy, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 2 JUNE 2014 Lauren Carty When the United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed an agreement for nuclear cooperation in 2009, the terms of the deal were quickly heralded as a gold standard for US nuclear negotiations and nonproliferation goals. Not only did the UAE agree to forgo uranium enrichment and nuclear waste reprocessing—an unprecedented concession in a bilateral agreement of this type—but the United States also retained the right to order the UAE to remove special fissionable material “if exceptional circumstances of concern from a nonproliferation standpoint so require.”
For its part, the United States agreed that it would not extend terms more favorable than these to any other non-nuclear-weapon state in the Middle East in a peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement. The Emirates, however, probably did not foresee the United States backing off its high standards in future agreements with countries outside the Middle East, such as the 2014 agreement with Vietnam that is awaiting Congress’ likely approval. In spite of the Emirates’ subtle animosity over the more flexible US-Vietnam agreement, they have taken it in stride, and have actually used it as an opportunity to lead and exert dominance over the Arab world, as well as to boast of their commitments to sustainability and clean energy technologies.
A double standard? Unlike any other US nuclear agreement to share certain nuclear technologies with its allies, the 2009 arrangement included the stipulation that the UAE must import low enriched uranium rather than building its own enrichment facilities. Some analysts were puzzled when, five years later, the United States entered into a nuclear cooperation deal with Vietnam that allowed the country to enrich uranium. If the gold standard had been established with the UAE in 2009, why did the United States not apply it to Vietnam? Outmaneuvering China is one answer to this question, along with the fact that Vietnam hardly has the infrastructure to undertake a viable enrichment program. These considerations gave the United States incentive to create nuclear foreign policy on a case-by-case basis.
Whatever the reasons for the discrepancy, the UAE is fully aware that it received the short end of the stick………
Nuclear power is just part of the UAE’s strategy for meeting future energy demands. Abu Dhabi—one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE—has become the headquarters for the International Renewable Energy Agency, an organization of 163 countries including the United States and the European Union. Another emirate, Dubai, looks to gain recognition for its environmental sustainability efforts, aiming to be in the top 10 carbon-neutral cities in the world by the end of the decade……http://thebulletin.org/pride-and-pragmatism-uae%E2%80%99s-nuclear-strategy7219
The DF-3 has a range of 2,650 km and carries a payload of 2,150 kg. It is equipped with a single nuclear warhead with a 1-3 MT yield.
Watched by a wide array of Saudi defense and military dignitaries, headed by Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister Salman bin Abdulaziz, the parade marked the end of the large-scale “Abdullah’s Sword” military war game.
Conspicuous on the saluting stand was the Pakistani Chief of Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif alongside eminent visitors, including King Hamad of Bahrain and Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi………
By showing off their ageing Chinese missiles, the Saudis intimated that they had acquired the more advanced generation of this weapon, which they are keeping under wraps. DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report that in recent visits to Beijing, high-ranking Saudi officials negotiated the purchase of Dong-Feng 21 (DF-21), whose range is shorter, 1,700 km, but more precise and effective in view of its terminal radar guidance system. The West has no information about when the new Chinese missiles were delivered to Saudi Arabia.
5. The presence of the top Pakistani soldier at the parade of military and nuclear hardware was meant as corroboration of Islamabad’s active role as the source of the Saudi nuclear arsenal.
6. The Saudis no longer rely on the American nuclear umbrella. They are developing their own nuclear strike force with the help of China and Pakistan. http://www.debka.com/article/23878/Saudis-parade-nuclear-missiles-for-the-first-time-in-defiance-of-US-Iranian-nuclear-accord
Nuclear Power: Boon Or Bane For The GCC?, Gulf Business,
As the UAE and Saudi race to build nuclear reactors to meet mounting energy needs, the inevitable question arises – is nuclear a viable option?, Gulf business By Aarti Nagra 18 April 14
Fuelled by rising energy demand and depleting oil and gas resources, nuclear energy has gained strong momentum in the GCC, particularly in countries like the UAE. The country has lofty ambitions to generate up to 25 per cent of its electricity needs – or 5.6GW – through nuclear means by 2020.
Abu Dhabi began construction of its first nuclear reactor, Barakah 1, in July 2012, and it is in the process of building three more plants.
Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, the body responsible for the project, announced in February that the first two plants are on schedule and are up to 35 per cent complete……..However, nuclear energy may not necessarily be the best option for the GCC region, states Mohammed Atif, area manager, Energy Advisory, Middle East at DNV GL – Energy.
“A reasonable diversification of fuels is always beneficial for a region in order to reduce risks and price volatility,” he says.
“The right composition of a generation portfolio is always a difficult question and has to take political, economic, technical and environmental aspects into consideration.
“We would suggest entering into a roadmap to achieve security of supply at a good price level even without nuclear energy.”……….An Oxford report on nuclear power production in the GCC published in December 2012 also pointed out that nuclear power generation could prove an expensive option for GCC states.
“The substantial initial investment costs, coupled with the high expected level of long run variable costs, is unlikely to render nuclear power cost effective vis-à-vis conventional oil and gas fired power plants in the region,” it says.
“The existing absence of cost-recovering power tariffs throughout the GCC already renders effective cost recovery for nuclear power unlikely, implying a substantial bill in the form of nuclear power subsidies to be picked up by GCC governments.”
There are also other hidden costs, such as national and regional security concerns and the future disposal of nuclear waste.
“And the acquisition of nuclear technology by GCC states, albeit for civilian purposes, provides fuel to those critics of nuclear power in the region who fear a nuclear arms race in the Gulf should Iran pursue a nuclear weapons programme in the future.
“All these concerns make nuclear power a potentially costly option for the GCC,” the report cautions………….http://gulfbusiness.com/2014/04/nuclear-power-boon-bane-gcc/#.U1WPalVdWik
The risks of a nuclear Saudi Arabia April 7, 2014 by Nick Butler”……….The issue is set out in an excellent new paper for the Belfer Center at Harvard by Olli Heinonen and Simon Henderson. The Saudis’ explanation of their newfound interest in nuclear technology is that they want to use it to produce electric power and to converse oil supplies which can be exported. There is a core of truth in this of course – Saudi Arabia’s domestic oil consumption is rising inexorably and is now more than 3m barrels a day. But, of course, this is exactly the argument used by Iran for its own nuclear research.
Heinonen and Henderson believe the Saudis are preparing the way and giving themselves the option of being able to move beyond civil nuclear power to the point where they could within a matter of months produce some form of weapon. The country undoubtedly has the money to buy whatever is needed and they have close and dangerous allies within Pakistan, a country which is already a nuclear state. Scrutiny by the International Atomic Energy Agency is minimal (bizarrely the organisation spends more money monitoring Jordan) and the Saudis could go a long way down the path to nuclear capability without it becoming obvious until very late in the day.
The prospect of nuclear weapons in the hands of the fragile government of Saudi Arabia is bad enough. The country is fundamentally unstable – held together only by force and by the flow of oil money to an ever growing number of citizens who high expectations and low productivity. But equally concerning is that any further conflict in the region – even at a level below the nuclear threshold – could shake the global energy economy to its foundations……..” http://blogs.ft.com/nick-butler/2014/04/07/the-risks-of-a-nuclear-saudi-arabia/
‘Saudis, Israelis developing new ‘super Stuxnet’ against Iran nuclear program’ Rt.com, 2 Dec 13 Saudi Arabia and Israel’s Mossad intelligence division are co-conspiring to produce a computer worm “more destructive” than the Stuxnet malware to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program, according to a report from the semi-official Iranian Fars news agency.
“Saudi spy chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and director of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency Tamir Bardo sent their representatives to a meeting in Vienna on November 24 to increase the two sides’ cooperation in intelligence and sabotage operations against Iran’s nuclear program,” an anonymous source close to the Saudi secret services told Fars over the weekend.
The source noted that one of the major methods discussed was “the production of a malware worse than…Stuxnet.”
Stuxnet, a computer worm discovered in 2010, formed the basis of a cyberattack that sabotaged Iran’s uranium enrichment program. Its complexity prompted researchers to claim that it could only have been developed by a nation state.
It was generally believed to have been developed by the US and Israel, with former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden only confirming their covert roles in an interview this July.
The intention behind the development of the new malware would be “to spy on and destroy the software structure of Iran’s nuclear program.” The source expressed a desire to remain anonymous on account of the sensitivity of information being shared. The plan would need a great deal of time and funding, with a rough figure of US $1 million being given as an estimate. It was apparently welcomed by Saudi Arabia with open arms……http://rt.com/news/stuxnet-iran-nuclear-mossad-565/
Does Pakistan have nuclear weapons ready to ship to Saudi Arabia? A new BBC report says they are packed and ready to go osted by Julian Borger Friday 8 November 2013 theguardian.comIt has long been rumoured, and often reported, that in return for bankrolling the Pakistani nuclear weapons project, Saudi Arabia has a claim on some of those weapons in time of need. It has never been proved though, nor has it ever been clear how such a deal would work. Continue reading
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