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USA’s Michael Flynn involved in a secret hare-brained nuclear scheme with Russia and Saudi Arabia

the genius idea developed by Flynn and Co. was a U.S.-Russian partnership to build and operate nuclear plants and export the dangerous spent fuel under strict controls

It would be “funded entirely by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries” The kingdom’s upfront cost? “Close to a trillion dollars” 

the Saudis would recoup their costs by selling energy to Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar—

MICHAEL FLYNN, RUSSIA AND A GRAND SCHEME TO BUILD NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS IN SAUDI ARABIA AND THE AND THE ARAB WORLD http://www.newsweek.com/flynn-russia-nuclear-energy-middle-east-iran-saudi-arabia-qatar-israel-donald-623396
BY JEFF STEIN ON 6/9/17     By the time Michael Flynn was fired as President Donald Trump’s nationalsecurity adviser in February, he had made a lot of bad decisions. One was taking money from the Russians (and failing to disclose it); another was taking money under the table from the Turks. But an overlooked line in his financial disclosure form, which he was forced to amend to detail those foreign payments, reveals he was also involved in one of the most audacious—and some say harebrained—schemes in recent memory:

In 2015 and 2016, according to his filing, Flynn was an adviser to X-Co Dynamics Inc./Iron Bridge Group, which at first glance looks like just another Pentagon consultancy that ex-military officers use to fatten their wallets. Its chairman and CEO was retired Admiral Michael Hewitt; another retiredadmiral, Frank “Skip” Bowman, who oversaw the Navy’s nuclear programs, was an adviser. Other top guns associated with it were former National Security Agency boss Keith Alexander and retired Marine Corps General James “Hoss” Cartwright, former vice chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose stellar career was marred when he was prosecuted last year for lying to the FBI during a leak investigation.

In the summer of 2015, knowledgeable sources tell Newsweek, Flynn flew to Egypt and Israel on behalf of X-Co/Iron Bridge. His mission: to gauge attitudes in Cairo and Jerusalem toward a fantastical plan for a joint U.S.-Russian (and Saudi-financed) program to get control over the Arab world’s rush to acquire nuclear power. At the core of their concern was a fear that states in the volatile Middle East would have inadequate security for the plants and safeguards for their radioactive waste—the stuff of nuclear bombs.

But no less a concern for Flynn and his partners was the moribund U.S. nuclear industry, which was losing out to Russian and even South Korean contractors in the region. Or as Stuart Solomon, a top executive along with Hewitt at his new venture, IP3 (International Peace, Power and Prosperity), put it in a recent speech to industry executives, “We find ourselves…standing on the sidelines and watching the competition pass us by.”

That the oil-rich, sun-soaked Arab Middle East would pursue nuclear energy seems paradoxical. But as The Economist noted in 2015, “Demand for electricity is rising, along with pressure to lower carbon emissions; nuclear plants tick both boxes.” And some of the region’s major players, like Egypt and Jordan, don’t have oil and gas resources and “want nuclear power to shore up the security of their energy supplies,” The Economist said.

So the genius idea developed by Flynn and Co. was a U.S.-Russian partnership to build and operate plants and export the dangerous spent fuel under strict controls. Flynn’s role would be helping X-Co/Iron Bridge design and implement a vast security network for the entire enterprise, according to an internal memo by ACU Strategic Partners, one of the lead companies involved, obtained by Newsweek.

Not only would the project revive the U.S. nuclear industry, but it would cost American taxpayers nothing, its principals asserted. It would be “funded entirely by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries,” according to the ACU memo. The kingdom’s upfront cost? “Close to a trillion dollars,” says a project insider, who asked for anonymity in exchange for discussing internal matters. Theoretically, the Saudis would recoup their costs by selling energy to Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar—which hosts the largest U.S. military base in the region. (Qatar doesn’t seem to be an option for the moment, since six of the Arab states, led by the Saudis, severed diplomatic relations with it on June 5 over its alleged support of terrorism.)

Left out of this grand nuclear scheme: Iran (along with Syria, its war-ravaged Shiite proxy). In fact, “it was always part of the project that Russia’s involvement…would tilt Russia away from Iran,” Fred Johnson, ACU’s chief economist, wrote in an email to his advisers obtained by Newsweek. Not only would Russia earn cash for being a dumping ground for radioactive waste, Johnson wrote, but the consortium would purchase “Russian military hardware” to compensate Moscow for losing military sales to Iran.

“Further plans to sideline Iran,” Johnson wrote, included “the development of X-Co,” the Hewitt company that Flynn was advising, “with its very visible deployment of Sea Launch,” a Russian company “that would provide a platform for rockets.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions talks with former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn inside of the inaugural parade reviewing stand in front of the White House on January 20, 2017 in Washington, 

It’s unclear whether Flynn was involved in negotiating with Sea Launch. The former general, now being pursued by federal investigators probing contacts between Russian officials and Trump’s inner circle, did not respond to an inquiry from Newsweek. People associated with the Middle East project say they thought Flynn’s involvement was limited to sounding out the Egyptians and Israelis on security aspects of the enterprise. He listed no income from X-Co/Iron Bridge on his financial disclosure form and “was not paid,” except for his travel expenses, according to Thomas Cochran, a prominent scientist and nuclear nonproliferation proponent involved with the project. (The cost of business-class round-trip airfare and exclusive hotels for the trip would have ranged between $10,000 and $15,000.)

Hewitt denied that isolating Iran was part of the plan. “X-Co wasn’t created to simply ‘sideline Iran,’” he responded to Johnson and their associates in an email. “It was designed to set the conditions for stability which were the precursors to building 40 plants” and to “solidify the GCC, Jordan, Egypt under a security construct, led by two superpowers, using state of the art capability.”

But the project faced opposition from the Obama administration, Cochran says. “They didn’t want to do it with the Russians and didn’t want to do it while they were negotiating the Iran deal,” he tells Newsweek.

Trump’s embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the other hand, offered an attractive possibility. And when Flynn, who had connections to the Russians, became the candidate’s national security adviser, the ACU team, led by British-American dealmaker Alex Copson, suddenly seemed to have an inside man. Last year, Copson was touting such connections when he tried to buy an unfinished nuclear plant in Alabama in concert with the Russians, telling a Huntsville reporter that “Alabama’s two senators”—both Republicans, and one, Jeff Sessions, then a top Trump campaign adviser—“can help the next administration move this project forward.” Copson’s bid for the plant failed.

When reports surfaced that the FBI was investigating possible collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign, however, some of Copson’s partners and advisers decided it was time to walk away. “When Copson decided he was going to saddle up with the Trump team, that was the last straw for me,” the insider says. “I said it’s time to regroup.”

The Saudis hadn’t shown much interest anyway, the insider says. “Copson was promising the advisers lots of money if the Saudis put up money,” but it failed to materialize. “And so there’s nothing that anyone was going to gain unless the project was a success,” he tells Newsweek.

Hewitt and his associates also split from ACU to pursue their own path toward a nuclear-powered Middle East, one that would swap in China for Russia as a nuclear partner, two sources close to the project say. (Hewitt declined to discuss plans for IP3, telling Newsweek he was “working hard to create our public persona right now.”)

But the highly regarded Cochran stayed with ACU. A longtime senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, where he was director of its nuclear program, Cochran was the author of countless studies and articles over the decades and had initiated with Moscow the U.S.-Soviet nuclear test ban verification project in 1986. He “has extraordinary chutzpah,” a writer for Scientific American observed in 1998. “He is willing to take on what most people wouldn’t bother with because they assume it’s hopeless.”

Or nuts. In 2001, a writer for the left-wing In These Times weekly got hold of a draft proposal for a 1990s-era project that Cochran was involved in, the Nuclear Proliferation Trust, which envisioned taking control of spent fuel from reactors around the world and shipping it to Russia “on large ships mounted with an arsenal of weapons designed to ward off nuclear pirates,” wrote Jeffrey St. Clair. “The big question is what happens to the waste after it arrives in Russia.” Would NPT guards be authorized to fire on rogue Russian soldiers or Chechen rebels? And what would stop corrupt Russians from selling weapons-grade uranium to anyone who could pony up the cash?

Similar concerns are all the more reason to partner with the Russians today in an ironclad security arrangement, Hewitt says. “We’re always going to be engaged in the security of the Middle East,” he told a May gathering at the Nuclear Energy Institute. “It is in our best interests to ensure that nuclear power is introduced with all of the safety [standards of the U.S.].”

Cochran urges critics not to lose focus on the big picture, which he alternately likens to launching the U.S. Marshall Plan, which rebuilt Europe after World War II, and the Tennessee Valley Authority, which tamed rivers and brought electricity and industrial development to the American South in the 1930s. “It would provide energy and jobs and so forth for countries like Egypt and others in the region,” he says, “so that these young men have got something more useful to do than go out and shoot each other.”

For a project fraught with such diplomatic and logistical minefields, however, Copson is an odd choice to lead ACU into the Middle East. “A sometime bass player with the British rock band Iron Butterfly,” according to Time, Copson once famously “described the natives of the Marshall Islands as ‘fat, lazy fucks’ when they nixed one of his nuke dump schemes” in the Central Pacific Ocean, the muckraking journalist Greg Palast wrote in 2001. (The islands are now disappearing under rising seas.)

Copson did not respond to several calls and emails asking for comment. But it’s not likely the Trump team, many of whom are under close scrutiny for their undisclosed Russian contacts, will be any help to Copson now. And the Saudis aren’t “taking the kind of steps that would be required to really get serious about setting up a civil nuclear-energy infrastructure,” says Tristan Volpe, a fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C.

Others suspect the Saudis are up to something more nefarious because of the U.S.-led nuclear deal with Iran. The Saudis “have big ambitions for nuclear,” says David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, D.C. “The issue is whether they cross over into any processing or enrichment” with secret partners like Pakistan or China, he says.

Flynn once expressed deep worries about a Saudi-Iranian nuclear arms race. In a January 2016 interview with Al-Jazeera, he sounded like Cochran, the elder statesman of the nonproliferation movement. “An entirely new economy is what this region needs,” he said, especially for the millions of unemployed young men living under corrupt autocracies and tempted by extremism. “You’ve got to give them something else to do. If you don’t, they’re going to turn on their own governments.”

But that was before he hitched up with Trump, who has embraced the Saudi monarchy and ratcheted up his rhetoric against Iran. Talk of a grand scheme to create jobs in the Middle East, meanwhile, has evaporated, with the Russia scandal enveloping not only Flynn but Trump’s entire presidency.

Correction: An earlier version of this story called Thomas Cochran a onetime president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. He was director of its nuclear program.

June 21, 2017 Posted by | Russia, Saudi Arabia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Trump and retinue in Saudi Arabia – the main event $110 billion arms package

Saudis welcome Trump with gold medal, receive arms package, By JULIE PACE and JONATHAN LEMIRE, RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP), 21 May 17  — President Donald Trump basked in Saudi Arabia’s lavish royal welcome Saturday as he left behind, at least temporarily, the snowballing controversies dogging him in Washington. Trump rewarded his hosts with a $110 billion arms package aimed at bolstering Saudi security and a slew of business agreements.

“That was a tremendous day, tremendous investments in the United States,” Trump said during a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef……..

Trump made no substantial remarks on his first day abroad and spent most of his time shuttling between opulent palace ballrooms with the king. The two were overheard discussing natural resources and arms, and Salman bemoaned the destruction caused by Syria’s civil war.

The most tangible agreement between the two leaders was the $110 billion sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia that is effective immediately and could expand up to $350 billion over 10 years. The deal includes tanks, combat ships, missile defense systems, radar and communications, and cybersecurity technology. The State Department said the agreement could support “tens of thousands of new jobs in the United States.”

Trump was joined on the trip by the CEOs of several major U.S. companies, which announced their own agreements with the Saudis. Among them was a $15 billion arrangement with GE focused on power, oil and gas, and health care.

The president was trailed on the trip by a large number of advisers, including Tillerson, chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon. Trump’s son-in law, Jared Kushner, and daughter Ivanka, both senior advisers, were also part of the official delegation………https://www.apnews.com/0f8266623c3548e1952525d93011bd56

May 22, 2017 Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia seeking bids for 700-Megawatt Wind and Solar Projects

Saudis to Seek Bids for 700-Megawatt Wind and Solar Projects, Bloomberg, by Anthony Dipaola

April 11, 2017
  • Energy Ministry qualifies 51 companies to bid for power plants
  • First Solar, renewables unit of EDF among qualified companies

Saudi Arabia will begin seeking bids next week from renewable-energy companies to build wind and solar plants with a combined capacity of 700 megawatts as part of the kingdom’s $50 billion program to boost power generation and cut its oil consumption.

Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih will announce a request for proposals for the projects, the next phase in the country’s bidding process, at a conference next week in Riyadh, the ministry said Monday in an emailed statement. The ministry qualified 27 companies to bid for a 300-megawatt solar plant and 24 firms for a 400-megawatt wind farm.

The project is part of a plan to transform the Saudi economy by weaning it off oil and creating new industries. Other Middle Eastern countries including the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Morocco are also developing renewable energy to curb fuel imports or conserve crude oil for export. Saudi Arabia plans to develop almost 10 gigawatts of renewables by 2023, requiring investment of $30 billion to $50 billion, Al-Falih said in January…….https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-10/saudis-to-seek-bids-for-700-megawatt-wind-and-solar-projects

April 12, 2017 Posted by | renewable, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia’s $US50bn clean energy plan focusses on solar and wind

text-relevantSaudi Arabia to focus on solar, wind in $US50bn clean energy plan REneweconomy By  on 18 January 2017 PV Magazine Speaking yesterday at an Abu Dhabi’s Sustainability Week (ADSW) event, Saudi Arabia’s energy, industry and mineral resources minister Khalid Al-Falih announced a new grand energy plan for the country. The new program is set to commence in a few weeks’ time, when Saudi Arabia’s government will launch the first round of bidding for a new renewable energy tender, energy minister Al-Falih announced at the World Future Energy Summit 2017 (WFES) in Abu Dhabi.

The energy minister did not, however, provide any details regarding the capacity that will be auctioned in the tender.

He did inform the attendants that Saudi Arabia’s new master program for the energy sector will require between USD 30 to 50 billion investment, which will need to come via the private sector.

Solar and wind power will be the preferred technologies in the auctions, but geothermal and waste projects will also be considered, just with a smaller role to play.

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest oil producer, is aiming for renewable energy installations, primarily of solar and wind, of 9.5 GW by 2023, but this is just the starting point, the country’s energy minister told the ADSW.

By 2030, the country will generate 70 percent of its electricity from natural gas and 30 percent from renewables and other sources, promised Al-Falih.

“Other resources” include nuclear power plants, of which plans for two nuclear reactors totaling 2.8 GW are currently in the early stages of consideration and planning…….. http://reneweconomy.com.au/saudi-arabia-to-focus-on-solar-wind-in-us50bn-clean-energy-plan-35690/

January 20, 2017 Posted by | renewable, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia, vulnerable to terrorist attacks, is buying 16 nuclear power plants from Russia

elephant-terror-in-roomSaudis Buy 16 Nuclear Plants From The Russians, Terrorists Rejoice http://dailycaller.com/2016/09/06/saudis-buy-16-nuclear-plants-from-the-russians-terrorists-rejoice/#ixzz4JViTS5aX  ANDREW FOLLETT Energy and Environmental Reporter Saudi Arabia will buy 16 nuclear power plants from Russia for $100 billion despite terrorism concerns, according to a Monday announcement from a government-controlled nuclear power company.

Saudi Arabia has a long history of terrorist attacks within its borders, and the country itself has been accused of directly funding Islamic terrorism. The planned reactors would be incredibly vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

Saudi Arabia’s new reactors would not produce the weapons-grade plutonium necessary to make a nuclear weapon, but materials from them could be used to create dirty bombs. A dirty bomb combines radioactive material with conventional explosives that could contaminate the local area with high radiation levels for long periods of time and cause mass panic, though it would be millions of times weaker than an actual nuclear device. The Islamic State wants to steal this kind of radioactive material for a dirty bomb.

“There are prospects for cooperation in the field of nuclear energy,” Yury Ushakov, aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, told journalists. “Our company, which has the most advanced technologies, is ready to join the project on construction of 16 nuclear power reactors in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The project is provided until 2030, its cost is $100 billion,”

Russia and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement last year to work together on “peaceful” nuclear energy projects. The stated purpose of these reactors is to generate electricity, power desalination plants and reduce domestic oil consumption so Saudi Arabia can sell the oil abroad. The reactors will be built by the Russian government controlled Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Cooperation.

Russia has supported the development of nuclear power in other countries with terrorism problems, such as AlgeriaIran and Egypt.

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September 7, 2016 Posted by | marketing, Russia, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

China marketing nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia

Buy-China-nukes-1China nuclear developer, Saudi’s Falih meet on nuclear cooperation By Reuters | Aug 30, 2016,BEIJING: China’s leading state nuclear project developer China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) said it met on Monday with Saudi energy minister Khalid Al-Falih to discuss cooperation in the nuclear power sector.

Beijing is embarking on an ambitious plan to export its locally developed nuclear technology as well as its equipment manufacturing capacity, potentially worth billions of dollars.

CNNC chairman Sun Qin told Al-Falih that China is ready to cooperate fully with Saudi Arabia over nuclear power, according to a short statement posted on the CNNC website late on Monday.

The statement said the Saudi energy ministry welcomed CNNC in expanding its business in the kingdom, including research and development of nuclear technology, uranium mining and the building of nuclear power stations, but gave no further details.  The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on training nuclear personnel, the statement said. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/53924844.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

August 31, 2016 Posted by | China, marketing, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

Wikileaks reveals The Saudi Cables

civil-liberty-2smThe Saudi Cables.  Cables and other documents from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Foreign Affairs https://wikileaks.org/saudi-cables/buying-silence

A total of 122619 published so far

Buying Silence: How the Saudi Foreign Ministry controls Arab media

On Monday, Saudi Arabia celebrated the beheading of its 100th prisoner this year. The story was nowhere to be seen on Arab media despite the story’s circulation on wire services. Even international media was relatively mute about this milestone compared to what it might have been if it had concerned a different country. How does a story like this go unnoticed?

Today’s release of the WikiLeaks “Saudi Cables” from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs show how it’s done.

The oil-rich Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its ruling family take a systematic approach to maintaining the country’s positive image on the international stage. Most world governments engage in PR campaigns to fend off criticism and build relations in influential places. Saudi Arabia controls its image by monitoring media and buying loyalties from Australia to Canada and everywhere in between.

Documents reveal the extensive efforts to monitor and co-opt Arab media, making sure to correct any deviations in regional coverage of Saudi Arabia and Saudi-related matters. Saudi Arabia’s strategy for co-opting Arab media takes two forms, corresponding to the “carrot and stick” approach, referred to in the documents as “neutralisation” and “containment”. The approach is customised depending on the market and the media in question.

“Contain” and “Neutralise”

The initial reaction to any negative coverage in the regional media is to “neutralise” it. The term is used frequently in the cables and it pertains to individual journalists and media institutions whose silence and co-operation has been bought. “Neutralised” journalists and media institutions are not expected to praise and defend the Kingdom, only to refrain from publishing news that reflects negatively on the Kingdom, or any criticism of its policies. The “containment” approach is used when a more active propaganda effort is required. Journalists and media institutions relied upon for “containment” are expected not only to sing the Kingdom’s praises, but to lead attacks on any party that dares to air criticisms of the powerful Gulf state.

One of the ways “neutralisation” and “containment” are ensured is by purchasing hundreds or thousands of subscriptions in targeted publications. These publications are then expected to return the favour by becoming an “asset” in the Kingdom’s propaganda strategy. A document listing the subscriptions that needed renewal by 1 January 2010 details a series of contributory sums meant for two dozen publications in Damascus, Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Kuwait, Amman and Nouakchott. The sums range from $500 to 9,750 Kuwaiti Dinars ($33,000). The Kingdom effectively buys reverse “shares” in the media outlets, where the cash “dividends” flow the opposite way, from the shareholder to the media outlet. In return Saudi Arabia gets political “dividends” – an obliging press.

An example of these co-optive practices in action can be seen in an exchange between the Saudi Foreign Ministry and its Embassy in Cairo. On 24 November 2011 Egypt’s Arabic-language broadcast station ONTV hosted the Saudi opposition figure Saad al-Faqih, which prompted the Foreign Ministry to task the embassy with inquiring into the channel. The Ministry asked the embassy to find out how “to co-opt it or else we must consider it standing in the line opposed to the Kingdom’s policies“.

The document reports that the billionaire owner of the station, Naguib Sawiris, did not want to be “opposed to the Kingdom’s policies” and that he scolded the channel director, asking him “never to host al-Faqih again”. He also asked the Ambassador if he’d like to be “a guest on the show”.

The Saudi Cables are rife with similar examples, some detailing the figures and the methods of payment. These range from small but vital sums of around $2000/year to developing country media outlets – a figure the Guinean News Agency “urgently needs” as “it would solve many problems that the agency is facing” – to millions of dollars, as in the case of Lebanese right-wing television station MTV.

Confrontation

The “neutralisation” and “containment” approaches are not the only techniques the Saudi Ministry is willing to employ. In cases where “containment” fails to produce the desired effect, the Kingdom moves on to confrontation. In one example, the Foreign Minister was following a Royal Decree dated 20 January 2010 to remove Iran’s new Arabic-language news network, Al-Alam, from the main Riyadh-based regional communications satellite operator, Arabsat. After the plan failed, Saud Al Faisal sought to “weaken its broadcast signal“.

The documents show concerns within the Saudi administration over the social upheavals of 2011, which became known in the international media as the “Arab Spring”. The cables note with concern that after the fall of Mubarak, coverage of the upheavals in Egyptian media was “being driven by public opinion instead of driving public opinion”. The Ministry resolved “to give financial support to influential media institutions in Tunisia“, the birthplace of the “Arab Spring”.

The cables reveal that the government employs a different approach for its own domestic media. There, a wave of the Royal hand is all that is required to adjust the output of state-controlled media. A complaint from former Lebanese Prime Minister and Saudi citizen Saad Hariri concerning articles critical of him in the Saudi-owned Al-Hayat and Asharq Al-Awsat newspapers prompted a directive to “stop these type of articles” from the Foreign Ministry.

This is a general overview of the Saudi Foreign Ministry’s strategy in dealing with the media. WikiLeaks’ Saudi Cables contain numerous other examples that form an indictment of both the Kingdom and the state of the media globally.

August 26, 2016 Posted by | civil liberties, media, Saudi Arabia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Saudi prince hints at possibility of getting nuclear weapons

Saudi prince: Getting nuclear weapons possible, WMTW 8, By Nicole Gaouette, 8 May 16  “…….Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief, and retired Israeli Army Maj. Gen. Yaakov Amidror, a former adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke in Washington Thursday night at a discussion arranged by The Washington Institute for Near East Policy…….
Turki said “all options” would be on the table if Iran moves toward a bomb, “including the acquisitions of nuclear weapons, to face whatever eventuality might come from Iran.”

Officials from the kingdom, which is party to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, have raised that possibility in the past. However, they have more strongly stressed the need for the Middle East to be a “weapons of mass destruction free zone,” as Turki did at the event. …….http://www.wmtw.com/politics/saudi-prince-getting-nuclear-weapons-possible/39420576

May 9, 2016 Posted by | Saudi Arabia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia may turn to solar power, as low oil prices hit finances

Is the fear of bankruptcy forcing oil-rich Saudi turn to solar power? Wait for 25 April http://www.firstpost.com/business/is-fear-of-bankruptcy-forcing-oil-rich-saudi-turn-to-solar-power-wait-for-25-april-2744388.html   Apr 22, 2016 In March 2016, Saudi Arabia stunned the world with an unusual announcement. Its oil minister Ali al-Naimi stated the following at a Berlin conference: “I don’t think there is a more ideal country for renewables than Saudi Arabia, given its abundant sunshine, available land and plentiful sand, which is needed for making solar panels”. Of course, this won’t happen overnight, he added by way of clarification. He expects consumers to continue using fossil fuel for the next 50 years. But his statement that Saudi Arabia would make a foray into solar power was the last thing investors had on their minds.

In fact, should Saudi Arabia put its money behind solar power, expect the pace of growth for solar to climb frenetically. Solar power is already expected to grow by 28% during 2016.

Already, last year was a scorcher. 2015 ended with around 59 GW (giga Watt or 1,000 MW) of solar installed capacity. This made it another record year in terms of solar PV installation, It represented a 700% increase from the 2008 annual demand. Clearly, the solar PV industry has grown exponentially and is worth more than $100 billion now.

2016 promises to be another double digit growth year . Various analysts put the growth of solar power in 2016 anywhere between 10-17%, to about 69 GW. Almost 93% of the demand will come from just three countries: India, China and the US. Saudi Arabia’s investments could cause this number to flare up further.

But why is Saudi Arabia moving away from oil? To understand its decision to begin looking to solar energy, it might be helpful to listen carefully to the utterances of Prince Mohammed bin Salman, grandson of the founder king of Saudi Arabia.

Just a few days ago, in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek he pointed to the urgent need for his country to restructure its finances. He was of the belief that his country should change fundamentally. The alternative would be catastrophic.

It was only last year that the country’s managers discovered that thanks to rapidly falling oil prices, Saudi Arabia had witnessed a continuous (and precipitous) fall in its forex reserves. Analysts believed that bankruptcy would be just a couple of years away. The oil price crash had resulted in a budget shortfall of almost $200 billion. Historically, the country depended on oil for 90% of its budget requirements. Now that was fast evaporating.

That could also explain why all eyes are now set on 25 April (three days away) when Prince Mohammed is slated to present his “Vision for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” That is when he is likely to unfold a plan incorporating widespread economic and social changes. According to BusinessWeek, it includes

1) the creation of the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, which will eventually hold more than $2 trillion in assets—enough to buy all of Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Berkshire Hathaway, the world’s four largest public companies.

2) an IPO that could sell off “less than 5 percent” of Saudi Aramco, the national oil producer, which will be turned into the world’s biggest industrial conglomerate (watch out, Mukesh Ambani!).

3) diversification into non-petroleum assets, hedging the kingdom’s nearly total dependence on oil for revenue.

According to BusinessWeek, these moves “will technically make investments the source of Saudi government revenue, not oil . . .[so that] within 20 years, we will be an economy or state that doesn’t depend mainly on oil.”

Expect solar power to be a major driver. And wait for April 25!

This is a two part series article on the solar fortunes. Read the second part tommorrow.

April 22, 2016 Posted by | renewable, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia political analyst says that the kingdom has a nuclear bomb

Atomic-Bomb-SmSAUDIS CLAIM TO HAVE NUCLEAR BOMB http://www.infowars.com/saudis-claim-to-have-nuclear-bomb/   Pakistan has agreed to deliver nuclear weapons to Riyadh Kurt Nimmo | Infowars.com – FEBRUARY 20, 2016  
Earlier this week a Saudi political analyst told RT’s Arab network the kingdom has a nuclear weapon. Dahham Al-‘Anzi made the claim while saying Saudi Arabia is engaged in an effort to “minimize the Iranian threat in the Levant and Syria.”

Although Saudi Arabia has officially denied it has a nuclear weapons program and has publicly stated it opposes nuclear weapons in the Middle East, it has funded a military nuclear program and received scientific assistance from the United States and Pakistan.

Despite this cooperation, US Secretary of State John Kerry told the Saudis in January there would be “all kinds of NPT consequences” if Riyadh received a nuclear weapon from Pakistan.

The Saudis began financing Pakistan’s atomic weapons project in 1974. “Our achievements are yours,” the Pakistani president, General Zia-ul-Haq, told the Saudis in the 1980s.

In the late 1980s the Saudis secretly bought dozens of CSS-2 ballistic missiles from China. The CSS-2, also known as the Dong Feng, is based on the Russian 9K720 Iskander missile. The intercontinental ballistic missile is designed to carry a 3 megaton nuclear warhead to a distance up to 12,000 kilometers.

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,” said Gary Samore, Obama’s former counter-proliferation adviser.

In 2013 a senior NATO spokesman told the BBC nuclear weapons made in Pakistan on behalf of Saudi Arabia are ready to be delivered. In 2009 King Abdullah warned visiting US special envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross Saudi Arabia “will get nuclear weapons” if Iran pursued a nuclear weapons program.

Following the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran, the Saudis reasserted their desire to obtain a nuclear weapon.

“I think Saudi Arabia would seriously try to get the bomb if Iran did. It’s just like India and Pakistan. The Pakistanis said for years they didn’t want one, but when India got it, so did they,”said Jamal Khashoggi, the head of a Saudi news channel owned by the Saudi royal family.

February 22, 2016 Posted by | Saudi Arabia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

King of Saudi Arabia willing to back Iran nuclear deal

King Salman of Saudi Arabia set to back Iran nuclear deal — at a price, Washington Times,  By Guy Taylor – , September 3, 2015

President Obama is set to receive an official, albeit reluctant nod of approval for the Iran nuclear deal when Saudi Arabia’s new king visits theWhite House for the first time Friday, but analysts say it will come at a price as Riyadh seeks Washington’s support for its increasingly anti-Iranforeign policy in the Middle East……..

Saudi Arabia, backed by its vast oil wealth and reserve, has pursued an increasingly activist foreign policy that now features support for insurgent forces in Syria, as well as a proxy war against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.

But analysts say that despite some key differences, the U.S.-Saudi connection remains solid.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir hasalready expressed the kingdom’s willingness to accept the Iran nuclear deal, despite its misgivings on Tehran and a larger frustration with what it sees as a passive U.S. approach to the region under Mr. Obama.

“Both nations are close strategic partners in spite of their differences, and both states need each other,” said Anthony Cordesman, a longtime Middle East expert at the Center for Strategic International Studies in Washington.

King Salman’s visit will likely end in “some kind of public statement that puts as positive a spin as possible on the meeting,” Mr. Cordesman told Agence France-Presse. Ahead of Friday’s meeting, Jamal Khashoggi, head of al-Arab News Channel, owned by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, told Reuters that the U.S.-Saudi “relationship is entering a new phase.”……….

Mr. Obama’s hand in the talks was considerably strengthened this week as the White House obtained the bare minimum Senate votes needed to sustain his veto of any congressional rejection of the Iran deal.

The veto threat itself may prove unnecessary as the number of Democrats supporting the deal now numbers 37 following Thursday’s announcements by the three Democratic lawmakers. With four more votes, Democrats could filibuster the rejection motion in the Senate and avoid a veto fight altogether. Several of the seven undecided SenateDemocrats are reportedly leaning toward supporting Mr. Obama. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/sep/3/king-salman-of-saudi-arabia-set-to-back-iran-nucle/?page=2

September 5, 2015 Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

Neutron bomb attack on Yemen, by Israelis, in Saudi plane?

Saudis Have Israel Nuke Yemen for Them http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/05/21/358343/By Gordon Duff, Senior Editor on May 21, 2015 Neutron bomb dropped by IAF plane with Saudi markings… By Gordon Duff and Jeff Smith, Editors A video received from Yemen, believed to be taken May 20, 2015, of an explosion, when analyzed by nuclear weapons experts is, by very high probability, a neutron bomb that could only have been an Israeli attack.  The analysis:

A. Its not a conventional 2k lb bomb. It’s much bigger.

B. Its either a very large MOAB bigger than 4,000 lbs. or; ???? Max weight for an F-15 / 16 is about 2,000 lb payload per bomb rack making the deployment of a MOAB impossible.

C. Its appears to be a small neutron bomb. The size, color, lightning effect and duration of the fire ball being suspended in mid air and the very large mushroom cloud is the main give away. The CCD cameras imaging device was “scintillating” (detecting Neutrons) That is the white pixel flashes in the video. When the photo has white pixel flashes in it, that is because it is being hit by neutrons from the nuclear fireball blast. It overloads the ccd’s electronic circuit producing white flashes.

If the radiation is too high it will burn out the chip. They had big problems with this in Japan with the Fukushima robots cameras failing due to very high radiation counts.

D. Delivery is most likely by an IDF F-16 with a Saudi paint job on the plane. They are not even hiding their use anymore, they just don’t publicly admit it and the IAEA does nothing or says nothing. That is the true war crime. The UN just ignores it unless the US, France or GB complains…….. Russia and China say nothing.

E. This is now the second known use of nukes in Yemen by Saudi Arabia…………..

Post Script:

A. The range of the camera is calculated to be about 4 to 5 miles from ground zero based on shock wave timing.

B.Saudi has no F-16’s. The aircraft reported to be used to droop the bomb in Yemen were F-16’s. Photos and acoustic signature confirms that the jet engines noise is from a single engine jet fighter of the F-16 type.


Jeff Smith is a nuclear physicist and former IAEA inspector.

August 7, 2015 Posted by | Israel, Saudi Arabia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France keen to save AREVA, by selling nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia

Hollande-salesFrance plans new Saudi nuclear reactors, Sky News 25 June 2015 France has confirmed it is looking into building two nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia, as part of 12 billion euro ($A17.31 billion) worth of deals struck between the nations.

Under one of the agreements Airbus will sell 23 H-145 multipurpose helicopters to Saudi Arabia for 500 million euros as well as launch a feasibility study into building the reactors, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday……..

The study for two European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) – which France considers the safest and most advanced in the world – takes on added significance given the current efforts by Saudi Arabia’s rival, Iran, to develop its own nuclear capabilities.

In addition to the study, France will sign an agreement to train the Saudis on nuclear safety and the treatment of nuclear waste……

France has been reinforcing links with the conservative kingdom despite persistent criticism of its human rights record,…… http://www.skynews.com.au/news/world/mideast/2015/06/25/france-plans-new-saudi-nuclear-reactors.html#sthash.tI5czLBA.dpuf

 

June 26, 2015 Posted by | France, marketing, Saudi Arabia | 2 Comments

Nuclear power a very poor deal for Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia must not focus on nuclear power THERE IS LITTLE DOUBT THAT NUCLEAR POWER WILL NOT BE ABLE TO COMPETE ECONOMICALLY WITH SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC AND WIND ENERGY BY ALI AHMAD AND M. V. RAMANA, SPECIAL TO GULF NEWS JUNE 25, 2015

On June 19, 2015, Russia and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement to cooperate on nuclear energy development, with Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV announcing that Russia would play a significant role in the kingdom’s plan to build 16 nuclear reactors by 2032. In March, there was an agreement with South Korea to conduct a preliminary study to review the feasibility of constructing a new Korean reactor design called the Smart — which has never been built anywhere — in Saudi Arabia.

Although Saudi Arabia has officially expressed interest in acquiring nuclear power since 2006, it is clear that this effort has gained momentum in the last few months, since the progress of negotiations between P5+1 (United States, Britain, France, Russia, China plus Germany) and Iran over the latter’s nuclear programme. Though some may find it understandable on strategic grounds, it is important to realise that nuclear power fares poorly if compared economically with fast-growing renewable technologies, especially solar photovoltaic energy.

Currently fossil fuel, oil and natural gas-based electricity generation constitutes essentially all of Saudi Arabia’s power production capacity. But it is desirable to develop alternative sources of electricity and both nuclear power and renewables have been held out as possibilities……

Nuclear reactors not only take long periods to construct, but are also prone to major construction delays and huge cost overruns. This is true in many countries, including industrialised economies with substantial nuclear capacity such as the US and France. Even without delays, establishing a nuclear power programme from scratch can take a minimum of 10 years. The UAE, for instance, started its programme in 2008 and expects to connect its first reactor to the grid in 2018. In comparison, solar projects typically have a one to two-year construction period.

If Saudi Arabia, for example, decides to build a nuclear reactor today, it will likely take a minimum of 10 years for it to start generating electricity. Therefore, any cost comparison must be based on what solar power may cost in 2025 rather than today’s costs. This time period is significant and if the dramatic decline in the cost of solar photovoltaic panels over the past decade (more than 75 per cent since 2009) continues till the end of this decade, the cost of generating nuclear power will exceed that of photovoltaic energy. There are good reasons to expect solar power costs to decline further in a similar fashion, including the relative lack of maturity of underlying technologies.

Even without such declines, there is evidence that renewable energy is already more economical than nuclear power. ……

Saudi Arabia is a natural location for investing in solar energy. It has one of the highest Direct Normal Irradiation resources in the world.

Likewise, wind energy too has significant potential in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, there is much greater scope with renewable energy for Saudi Arabia to ensure a higher degree of localisation and create a base of highly skilled workforce. Such localisation is certainly more difficult, if not impossible, to achieve with nuclear power.

Therefore, there is little doubt that nuclear power will not be able to compete economically with solar photovoltaic and wind energy. ….http://gulfnews.com/opinion/thinkers/saudi-arabia-must-not-focus-on-nuclear-power-1.1540888

June 26, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia threatening to develop nuclear weapons

Saudis ready to go nuclear: ‘All options are on the table’ if talks fail to contain Iran, ambassador says, National Post Con Coughlin, The Telegraph | June 9, 2015 “…….this year came Saudi Arabia’s dramatic military intervention in neighbouring Yemen. Saudi warplanes and troops are now involved in a bitter conflict with Iranian-backed rebels from the Houthi religious movement in Yemen. And Saudi Arabia has been confirmed as one of the region’s dominant military powers.

In the past two years, it has beaten Britain into fourth place in the world’s military spending league with a defence budget of around 37 billion pounds (compared with the UK at around 34 billion pounds)……

Now the Saudis have raised the alarming prospect of the Middle East becoming embroiled in a nuclear arms race after the country’s blunt warning that “all options are on the table” if Iran fails to resolve the international stand-off over its nuclear programme…..

Western intelligence agencies believe that the Saudi monarchy paid for up to 60 per cent of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, in return for the ability to buy warheads for itself at short notice. ………..http://news.nationalpost.com/news/world/saudis-ready-to-go-nuclear-all-options-are-on-the-table-if-talks-fail-to-contain-iran-ambassador-says?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NP_Top_Stories+%28National+Post+-+Top+Stories%29

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Saudi Arabia, weapons and war | 1 Comment