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
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 R N Bhaskar 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.
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.
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
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…………..
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.
France 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
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
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
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
Saudi Arabia: an unlikely ally in the march towards renewable energy, Guardian, Molly Scott Cato, 5 June 15 The oil-rich kingdom’s enthusiasm for renewables has nothing to do with saving the planet from climate change and everything to do with economic dominance “……..How striking, therefore, to learn that the Saudi oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, is predicting that within just 25 years we could no longer need fossil fuels. This, from a representative of a country that has done more than most to block progress in climate negotiations.
Of course, this announcement has little, if anything, to do with a newly discovered yearning to save the planet from climate change; it has everything to do with economics. Saudi Arabia finds itself in the fortunate position whereby it can effortlessly switch from dominating the energy market of the 20th century through oil to dominating the 21st century with renewables. Al-Naimi believes that solar power will benefit the economy even more than fossil fuels. The evidence for this is that global investment in renewables jumped 16% in 2014, with solar attracting over half the total funding for the first time, driven by a 80% decline in manufacturing costs for solar in the last six years……..
Far from being a curse that concentrates power in the hands of an elite, renewables work most effectively when in community ownership. Energiewende(energy transformation) in Germany has shown this to be the case. Here, local ownership of renewables has provided a dramatic economic payback to investing communities.
The end game of climate change was always going to be a tussle between the vested interests of the past, using the wealth and power of the fossil fuel era to defend their assets, and the visionary supporters of the new clean energy technologies. The powerhouse states of the fossil era look set to overtake us on the path to a renewable energy future, while we continue to live under a finance curse inflicted on us by a government deeply attached to the finance industry. Saudi Arabia’s motivation may not be protecting the planet from climate change, or indeed improving community control over energy production, but it might just become a useful ally in the transformation towards a new energy era. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/04/saudi-arabia-ally-renewable-energy-oil-rich
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/
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