Saudi Arabia's nuclear ambitions

jarugn
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Re: Saudi Arabia's nuclear ambitions

Postby jarugn » 31 Oct 2003 20:52

To deny is to lie

http://interestalert.com/brand/siteia.shtml? Story=st/sn/10310000aaa06fab.upi&Sys=siteia&Fid=WORLDNEW&Type=News&Filter=World%20News

Commentary: To deny is to lie

By ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE, UPI Editor in Chief

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- The predictable deluge of categorical denials from Islamabad and less categorical versions from Riyadh flooded the Internet on queue. This reporter wrote from Pakistan last week that Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Abdullah and President Pervez Musharraf had reached a secret understanding when they met on Oct. 20: Pakistan's nuclear arsenal would provide the kingdom a nuclear "deterrent" in case of need.

Saudi Arabia worries about (1) the future of the House of Saud; (2) Iran's nuclear ambitions; and (3) Israel's monopoly of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Pakistan has similar worries about Israel's recent $1 billion arms deal with India, also a major nuclear power and Pakistan's archrival.

Add to the volatile geopolitical mix a sudden fear, shared by Gen. Musharraf and Prince Abdullah, that the U.S. could go down to defeat in Iraq, as it did in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia. The two leaders, which we did not know when we filed our first report from Islamabad, decided they could not stand idly by and must respond positively to Bush administration entreaties for troop contributions. For this to happen, they would have to water down their preconditions of a Security Council resolution and an invitation from an elected representative Iraqi government. This is still too far in the future, and the need is now.

Both Musharraf and Abdullah have concluded that a U.S. defeat -- or anything that could be perceived as a U.S. humiliation -- would have catastrophic repercussions for their regimes and for every other moderate government from Morocco to Malaysia and Indonesia on either side of the Malacca Strait. Under a scenario worked out by the two heads of state in Islamabad on Oct. 20, the Saudis would be the first to step up to the Iraqi plate with a token force, followed quickly by Pakistan with a large force of approximately 15,000. But this would still require an Iraqi governing council that stops squabbling over turf and begins to think and act like a real government.

Musharraf's calculation is that when the Saudis dispatch a token force to Iraq, he will then be in a position to silence his own tough critics in Pakistan's two mainstream political parties, as well as the coalition of six politico-religious leaders known as the Muttahida-e-Majlis-e-Amal or MMA. Presumably none would dare criticize Saudi Arabia since MMA's honchos are still receiving Saudi financial support for both political parties and radical madrassas (that continue to disobey Musharraf's orders for a modern syllabus). The clergy's recent fatwa against any Pakistani soldier who sets foot on Iraqi soil with a weapon would presumably become null and void.

Many things can still go awry. But for now, Abdullah has succeeded in making Musharraf accept President Bush's Iraqi case as well as its own. The Saudis find it intolerable that the only nuclear power in the Middle East (Iran is not an Arab country) is Israel. They confide that as long as the strategic equation is skewered in favor of Israel there will be no Palestinian state. The Saudis were shocked in March 2002 at an Arab summit in Beirut when prince Abdullah managed to get the entire Arab League to approve normal diplomatic and economic relations between Israel and 22 Arab countries in return for the pre-June 1967 war frontiers -- without so much as a beep out of Jerusalem or Washington.

Both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia routinely deny anything of importance their governments haven't released to the media. For eleven consecutive years, the late Pakistani military dictator, Gen. Zia ul-Haq, dismissed stories about his secret nuclear weapons program as either poppycock or balderdash. When this writer suggested to him in 1982 he would be better off going public instead of denying what every western intelligence knew to be true, he said, "You have my word of honor, Arnaud, we are not developing nuclear weapons nor do we have any interest in acquiring any."

During those eleven years, ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence agency) agents had been dispatched to every country that had built a nuclear plant "to spy or steal" for Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. And after Zia was killed in a mysterious air crash, successive Pakistani presidents and prime ministers continued Zia's tradition of the big lie repeated often enough to demonstrate that artificial intelligence is no match for stupidity.

In 2001, three months prior to 9/11, Musharraf sent his foreign minister to Washington to deliver Pakistan's word of honor that it was not assisting the Taliban. Two weeks before that, this reporter traveled from Quetta, the capital of Pakistani Baluchistan, and Kandahar, then the religious capital of Mullah Omar's medieval theocracy, and saw scores of Pakistani supply trucks on the only road into southwestern Afghanistan.

After 9/11 and just before the U.S. unleashed Operation Enduring Freedom on Oct. 7, Musharraf dispatched ISI chief Gen. Mahmoud Ahmad to Kandahar to instruct Mullah Omar to turn over Osama Bin Laden in order to avoid war. Instead, the chief spook of an all-powerful agency advised Omar to hang on to Bin Laden. Again, spirited denials and denunciations of a lying western media. Two days before the first U.S. bombs fell, Musharraf fired and retired Ahmad.

President Musharraf has denied almost everything of any importance that might lead Washington to question his loyalty. The exchange of nuclear technology for North Korean missiles? Never happened. ISI's links to al-Qaida? Bullfeathers. ISI-supervised training camps for Kashmiri jihadis (holy warriors)? Horsefeathers. ISI's involvement in the December 2001 terrorist attack against the Indian parliament in New Delhi? Media garbage. ISI's knowledge of Wall Street Journal's Daniel Pearl's executioners? Twaddle in all its unrationed splendor.

While Musharraf was meeting with president Bush at Camp David June 24, Gen. Aziz Khan, Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, a largely ceremonial post, denounced the U.S. at a public gathering in Rawalakot, Kashmir: "America is the number one enemy of the Muslim world and is conspiring against Muslim nations all over the world." Pakistani papers were advised to spike the story. To inquiring foreigners, the government said it was yet another anti-Pakistani lie.

Growing opposition to Musharraf in the army? This is not denied because it hasn't been published yet. The president's stated desire to continue as Chief of Army Staff (COAS) -- the top military post -- for at least one more year has led to scuffling in the wheelhouse of the ship of state. Seven full generals are due to retire before that time -- without a crack at COAS. Aziz Khan, a fundamentalist, is one of them. Denials to come.

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Re: Saudi Arabia's nuclear ambitions

Postby svinayak » 01 Nov 2003 00:25

[color=red]The president's stated desire to continue as Chief of Army Staff (COAS) -- the top military post -- for at least one more year has led to scuffling in the wheelhouse of the ship of state. Seven full generals are due to retire before that time -- without a crack at COAS. Aziz Khan, a fundamentalist, is one of them. Denials to come.</font>

Very significant!

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Re: Saudi Arabia's nuclear ambitions

Postby khan » 01 Nov 2003 00:38

Look like the neo-cons are loosing their patience with Bush's and Powell's appeasement policy.

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Re: Saudi Arabia's nuclear ambitions

Postby shiv » 03 Nov 2003 07:41

CROSS POST FROM CRS THREAD
Saudi-Pakistani Nuclear Linkage Marks The Opening Of A Sunni Muslim Security
Umbrella

The deal between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan on nuclear and missile technology
sharing marks the beginning of a new era in which the Sunni Muslim world will
assert itself with a nuclear umbrella which could eventually cover a set of
core Arab states. One driving force behind this unfolding umbrella is the
realisation that the Christian, Jewish, Communist and Hindu worlds have
nuclear weapons ? and the belief that the Shiite world is working towards it
? while the Sunni holy places remain outside the protection of such
armaments. Unlike during the cold war, Saudi Arabia is no longer assured of
protection from a nuclear attack.

Pakistan?s nuclear weapons, which are under the control of a Sunni elite that
has long had security links with Riyadh, are in effect being made available
for the protection of the kingdom, and by extension of the House of Saud.
This is despite strong anti-proliferation pressures on both countries,
particularly from the US. Reports of such co-operation have been strongly
denied by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The US government has suggested that the
information is not supported by evidence, but the reports have persisted.

The sectarian justification for the extension of the Pakistani nuclear
umbrella to Saudi Arabia disguises a number of mutual benefits which are more
urgent. Pakistan is in desperate need of financial assistance, without many
strings attached. The Saudi royal family, which is getting steadily more
nervous about the intentions of the US in terms of re-ordering the Middle
East, wants to hedge its bets in case Washington begins to apply pressure for
real democratic change.

Thus there is a perfect geo-political fit in which (a) Saudi Arabia can
provide oil to Pakistan, which will free up the latter?s liquid financial
resources for other expenditures outside the scrutiny systems applied in the
case of American or multilateral aid; and (b) Islamabad can provide Riyadh
with deployable nuclear weapons and technology to mount them on intermediate
range ballistic missile systems, either those acquired from China in the late
1980s or from more modern versions to be transferred by Islamabad.

Pakistan has had experience with such barter arrangements in the 1990s, when
it began providing nuclear technology to North Korea in exchange for
Pyongyang?s missiles and related technological expertise. Islamabad had
denied (and continues to deny) proliferating to North Korea, but rather
emphasised that it needed security linkages with Pyongyang to offset the
perceived threat from India. Pyongyang now has a nuclear capability, which
the US appears uncertain how to handle.

Similarly, Pakistani proliferation to Saudi Arabia is being finessed by
emphasising the threat to both from Iran ? which is politically convenient in
the post-9/11 era where Tehran is nominally regarded as a member of the ?axis
of evil? by the Bush administration, while both Riyadh and Islamabad are
viewed as allies. This approach seems to be working. After Saudi Arabia and
Pakistan denied signing any nuclear deal, a State Department spokesman
stated: "We are confident that Pakistan clearly understands our concerns
regarding proliferation of nuclear technology. We would also note that Saudi
Arabia is a signatory of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, under which it
has agreed not to obtain nuclear firepower."

Yet the end result will be the same as in the North Korean case, i.e. Saudi
Arabia will acquire a nuclear capability. As much as Saudi Arabia and
Pakistan may be concerned about Iran, the two countries are focusing on
correcting the Arab-Israeli nuclear imbalance as well. Increasingly, the view
is taking hold in the Arab World that the impunity with which Israel acts
militarily in the region ? the recent strike within Syrian territory, for
example ? is derived from its nuclear capability and the knowledge that the
Arabs do not have it. A nuclear Saudi Arabia would go some way towards
redressing this imbalance, and may even make Israel more amenable to a just
settlement.

In fact, nuclearisation of the Arabian Peninsula will not only reduce the
strategic autonomy of Israel in the area but also that of the US. For
instance, Iraq could become a quagmire of Vietnamese proportions if the
ability of the US to strike militarily at will anywhere in the region is
taken away by the possibility of nuclear retaliation. Conversely, a
nuclearised Saudi Arabia or Iran would be able to intervene covertly in Iraq
with relative impunity ? either directly or through proxy groups or states -
safe in the knowledge that the US would consider the costs of a nuclear
confrontation too high to risk facing retaliation targeting Europe or even
the American mainland. This principle is already being applied by Pakistan in
the Afghan theatre of the war against terror, by functioning nominally as an
ally of the US while at the same time subverting American objectives by
reviving the Taliban movement and protecting Al Qaida remnants.

The Background: Saudi-Pakistani nuclear collaboration is not something out of
the blue. Riyadh and Islamabad had been skirting the issue of nuclear
co-operation for decades, in one way or another. The deal between the two
countries, which reportedly took place when Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdel
Aziz visited Islamabad on Oct. 18-19, 2003, was virtually inevitable.

Western media reports about a prospective deal began to emerge in September
2003. Britain?s Guardian newspaper reported on Sept. 18 that ?a strategy
paper being considered at the highest levels in Riyadh? was examining the
issue of going nuclear. The paper claimed that ?UN officials said there have
been rumours going back 20 years that the Saudis wanted to pay Pakistan to do
the research and development on nuclear weapons?. It pointed out that, in
1999, a Saudi defence delegation led by Defence Minister Prince Sultan
visited Pakistan to tour its secret nuclear facilities at Kahuta and to be
briefed by Dr. Abdul Qader Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb. That
visit raised alarms in the West because a tour of the super-secret Kahuta
facility was denied even to elected Pakistani prime ministers (like Benazir
Bhutto) by the country?s military establishment. A paper by the South Asia
Analysis Group dated Oct. 1 claimed there were ?reports emerging but not
confirmed that Pakistan has stored some nuclear weapons in storage in Saudi
Arabia, but to remain under Pakistani control".

On Oct. 20, Arnaud de Borchgrave, editor-in-chief of United Press
International (UPI) and a veteran American journalist with excellent
connections in Pakistan, reported that a ?ranking? and ?unimpeachable
Pakistani source? had informed him that ?Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have
concluded a secret agreement on nuclear cooperation? ? during the visit by
Crown Prince Abdullah to Islamabad at the head of a 200-member delegation
including Foreign Minister Prince Saud. De Borchgrave added that the source
claimed: "It will be vehemently denied by both countries? but future events
will confirm that Pakistan has agreed to provide KSA (Kingdom of Saudi
Arabia) with the wherewithal for a nuclear deterrent".

Subsequent to the de Borchgrave article, another report by Global Information
Systems/Defence and Foreign Affairs Weekly, written by Yossef Bodansky and
Gregrory R. Copley, said their ?highly reliable? sources in Islamabad and
Riyadh reported on Oct. 21 that Islamabad and Riyadh had ?reached a secret
but definitive agreement to station nuclear weapons on Saudi soil, fitted to
a new generation of Chinese-supplied long-range (4,000 to 5,000 km) ballistic
missiles which would be under Pakistani command, but clearly with some form
of joint Saudi-Pakistani command and control?.

Like de Borchgrave, Bodansky and Copley claimed that the deal was struck
during Abdullah?s visit to Pakistan, adding that they had also discussed the
issue at an unreported one-to-one meeting on the margins of the Organisation
of Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Oct. 15. The
GIS/Defence and Foreign Affairs Weekly pointed out that basing nuclear
weapons in Saudi Arabia would give Islamabad a second-strike capability to
deter an Indian nuclear or conventional attack. For Saudi Arabia it eases
concerns about Israel. During the Saudi delegation?s visit, Foreign Minister
Prince Saud Al Faisal said in Islamabad on Oct. 19 that Indian-Israel
military cooperation was a "worrying element" which could unleash instability
and arms race in the region.

On Oct. 23, the conservative American internet daily ?Worldnet? claimed that
an Israeli intelligence official told the Knesset Defence Committee that
Saudi Arabia was seeking nuclear warheads from Pakistan for its land-based
missiles. According to Worldnet, Israeli military intelligence chief
Maj.-Gen. Aharon Zeevi stated that was consistent with details he heard in
September in Washington from experts speaking before the US Senate.

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Re: Saudi Arabia's nuclear ambitions

Postby Calvin » 03 Nov 2003 07:56

Note the date on this (OCtober 17th):

http://www.dawn.com/2003/10/17/ebr1.htm

$1bn Saudi oil facility Pakistan seeking two years' extension

By Our Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, Oct 16: Pakistan is seeking a two-year extension in the Special Oil Facility (SOF) amounting to around $1 billion from Saudi Arabia, a finance ministry official told Dawn on Thursday.

This will be one of the important topics of discussions between the leadership of the two countries during the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz who arrives here on Saturday, the official said.

The existing Saudi Oil Facility for Pakistan expires on December 31, 2003. Pakistan now wants supply of about 50,000 barrels of crude oil under the SOF for two years i.e. December 2005, he said. The prime minister, said the official, had also discussed the issue with the Saudi authorities during his recent visit the Kingdom.

[...] The oil imports under the SOF had amounted to Rs39 billion during the year 2002-03, but for the current year they are projected at Rs31 billion.

Pakistan's total oil imports amounted to around $3.06 billion during 2002-03, up by around 10 per cent against oil imports for the year before partly due to a reduction in the SOF.

[...] Total oil imports (both crude and POL) range around 20 million tons, of which KPC meets 75 per cent of high speed diesel and 25 per cent of furnace oil. The remaining requirement is met through imports from Saudi Arabia, most of the time on a special price and time-delay basis.

Saudi Arabia had provided oil worth $2 billion to Pakistan on deferred payments in 1998 and 1999 at the request of then prime minister Nawaz Sharif following sanctions imposed against Pakistan by the world community because of nuclear detonations. A major portion of this amount was later converted into a grant and the facility was extended in the subsequent years and continues till to date.

Pakistan's crude oil requirement is around 5.5 million tons at the rate of around 100,000 barrels per day (bpd). This includes around 55,000 bpd of Arabian light, about 25,000 bpd of Iranian light and about 10,000 bpd of Upper Zakum.

Total annual furnace oil requirement is around eight million tons, followed by six million tons of high speed diesel and comparatively small quantities of kerosene and other products.

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Re: Saudi Arabia's nuclear ambitions

Postby Calvin » 03 Nov 2003 08:09

These fellows are (deliberately?) mixing up the units in this article. I will re-write in the same units so that we can all understand what is going on...

--
ISLAMABAD, Oct 16: Pakistan is seeking a two-year extension in the Special Oil Facility (SOF) amounting to around $1 billion from Saudi Arabia, a finance ministry official told Dawn on Thursday.
[...]

The existing Saudi Oil Facility for Pakistan expires on December 31, 2003. Pakistan now wants supply of about 50,000 barrels [per day] of crude oil under the SOF for two years i.e. December 2005, he said. [...] Saudi Arabia, on its part, is said to be interested in engaging Sui Northern or Sui Southern or both in the development of its gas transmission system. The oil imports under the SOF had amounted to Rs39 billion [$0.67 billion] during the year 2002-03, but for the current year they are projected at Rs31 billion [$0.64 billion].

Pakistan's total oil imports amounted to around $3.06 billion during 2002-03, up by around 10 per cent against oil imports for the year before partly due to a reduction in the SOF.

Pakistan's major suppliers, notwithstanding the petroleum sector deregulation, are Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait. The two Kuwaiti companies - Bakri and Kuwait Petroleum Company - together provide around 90 per cent of total oil imports.

Total oil imports (both crude and POL) range around 20 million tons (157 MM bbl = 430,000 bpd), of which KPC meets 75 per cent of high speed diesel and 25 per cent of furnace oil. The remaining requirement is met through imports from Saudi Arabia, most of the time on a special price and time-delay basis.

Saudi Arabia had provided oil worth $2 billion [@$20/bbl = 100 MM bbl = 274,000 bpd] to Pakistan on deferred payments in 1998 and 1999 at the request of then prime minister Nawaz Sharif following sanctions imposed against Pakistan by the world community because of nuclear detonations. A major portion of this amount was later converted into a grant and the facility was extended in the subsequent years and continues till to date.

Pakistan's crude oil [does not include refined product] requirement is around 5.5 million tons at the rate of around 100,000 barrels per day (bpd). This includes around 55,000 bpd of Arabian light, about 25,000 bpd of Iranian light and about 10,000 bpd of Upper Zakum.

Total annual furnace oil requirement is around eight million tons [172,000 bpd], followed by six million tons [125,000 bpd] of high speed diesel and comparatively small quantities of kerosene and other products.

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Re: Saudi Arabia's nuclear ambitions

Postby Prateek » 04 Nov 2003 00:55

Recently I even heard on an NPR discussion that the Egyptians are trying to claim that thay are Egyptians and NOT ARABS.. Some how alienating themselves from being called the Arabs.

The whole bunch of nations that lie between India and Israel are behaving differently, the only commonality among them is this fear now ... :)

[url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/11/02/wsimp02.xml&sSheet=/news/2003/11/02/ixworld.html]Saudis fear that Britain sees them as the next Iran
(Filed: 02/11/2003)

Saudi officials believe that Britain and the US have begun a smear campaign against their country, writes John Simpson
[/url]

There was silence among the orderly lines of men sitting cross-legged down the length of a hall in the King Abd-al Aziz Mosque. Someone looked at his watch. Another man fiddled with the box of food in front of him, caught the disapproving looks of his neighbours, and stopped.

Then came the stuttering of a microphone, and expectant movement in the lines. The instant the muezzin's voice proclaimed the end of the day's fasting, the hungry men pulled their boxes open and started eating. The warm evening air was filled with the smell of chicken and saffron rice. Iftar, the evening feast, had begun.

The holy month of Ramadan is a bad time to visit Saudi Arabia if you want to do business. This year it is worse then usual: to the irritation of the Saudi government, the British Foreign Office and the American State Department have warned people not to come here unless they have to.

Half a column-inch in the newspapers here hints at the reason: a senior al-Qaeda figure, Abu Mohammed al-Ablaj, has sent out an e-mail promising "devastating attacks" during Ramadan. This is presumably part of the information the British and Americans have based their warnings on. It looks to me as though al-Ablaj is talking about Iraq, but now that people have taken to suing their governments for not telling them the obvious, the State Department and the Foreign Office tend to warn first and ask questions afterwards.

This has, of course, got up the nose of the Saudis in no small way. The government here maintains that it has a very firm grip on the security situation. Six hundred suspects have been arrested since April, and 3,500 Muslim clerics have been sent for "re-education". At Friday prayers two days ago, the sermon I heard could have been written by the Ministry of Information, it was so politically correct.

The irritation with Britain and America is widespread throughout officialdom, from Saudi Arabia's urbane ambassador to London, Prince Turki al-Faisal, to his relative Prince Sultan, the minister of defence. Last Thursday, choosing his words carefully, Prince Sultan told a group of generals who came to offer their Ramadan greetings that there was a smear campaign against the kingdom. "We are neither terrorists nor parasites," he said.

In other words, he was responding angrily to accusations in Washington that Saudi Arabia, the recipient in the past of so much American military support, is somehow behind the new wave of anti-American violence.

Here, most people seem to take it for granted that the United States has shifted decisively away from Saudi Arabia as a result of the September 11 attacks. They see the invasion of Iraq as being America's way of securing a safe supply of oil for the future, and assume that the shifting of US military bases from here to Qatar and Iraq symbolises the parting of the ways.

As for the British attitude, it is a source of annoyance rather than anger. The Saudis expect a greater sensitivity and understanding from the British, and feel that they haven't had it. Senior government figures scan British statements anxiously for any sign that London believes that Saudi Arabia is going the way of Iran, a generation ago; and they feel they can spot them.

Having watched the course of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, I think the similarities are exaggerated - and yet the danger is clearly there. The Shah, too, tried to re-educate his clergy, but he did it the hard way and simply reinforced their anger and willingness to be martyred. In the teeming slums of Teheran his soldiers shot down the demonstrators, while he himself vacillated between toughness and conciliation.

The Saudis are aware of the precedent, though they feel that the experiences of a Shi'ite state have little relevance to them. Perhaps they are right, but history never repeats itself precisely. Two weeks ago, hundreds of Saudis demonstrated for economic and political reform in the streets of Riyadh; since demonstrations are illegal here, the police dispersed them with tear gas and arrested a hundred or more.

As in Iran in 1978, the opposition comes as much from liberals as from fundamentalists, and they have a tendency to make a brief, tactical alliance, though it doesn't last long. Like the Shah, the Saudi government is experimenting with a little ultra-cautious liberalisation: press restraints are marginally fewer, and there will be limited elections next year.

These are nerve-racking times for the Saudi government. It feels abandoned by its friends and increasingly threatened by its enemies, and the princes who control most of the ministries cannot agree on the right way forward. Maybe Ramadan will pass off without the attacks the Americans and British have warned about; even so, the political choices here won't be any easier.

John Simpson is the BBC's World Affairs Editor

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Re: Saudi Arabia's nuclear ambitions

Postby jrjrao » 04 Nov 2003 04:28

From the South China Morning Post. No URL.

November 3, 2003

Nuclear deterrent deal fuelled by oil; Pakistan and Saudi Arabia's agreement is mutually beneficial, experts believe
by Peter Kammerer Foreign Editor

Pakistan, long accused by western experts of supplying weapons and technology to nations opposed to the United States, is fighting allegations that it has promised Saudi Arabia nuclear missiles.

The assurance was apparently struck in Islamabad last month during a meeting between Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf.

Both countries have denied the claim, but experts do not doubt that Saudi Arabia has an interest in obtaining a deterrent against Iran and Israel.

Pakistan has denied, but failed to disprove, allegations that it helped North Korea develop nuclear weapons and sold missiles to Iran. The two countries have for decades had acrimonious relations with the US, while Pakistan was similarly opposed to Washington until it agreed to support the American-led war in neighbouring Afghanistan in October 2001.

Arnaud de Borchgrave, senior adviser to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, wrote in The Washington Times on October 18 that if asked by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan would provide nuclear missiles in return for oil.

He said last week the denial by Pakistan's military leadership was in keeping with its record of lying about nuclear issues.

Under western pressure, Iran has agreed to allow inspections of facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Mr de Borchgrave said although the move lessened Saudi concerns, it was still eager to have insurance.

"Pakistani friends have told me in the past few days that the heat is off, but the understanding remains," he said. "When and if needed, Saudi Arabia would be protected by Pakistan's nuclear deterrent just as the European Nato allies have been protected by the British, French and American nuclear deterrents."

Iran's leaders oppose the Saudi royal family because of its more than half a century of close ties to Washington based on oil exports. Saudi-US relations have weakened as a result of the war against Iraq.

In the late 1980s, Pakistan deployed a military brigade to defend Saudi oil reserves. In the wake of US-imposed sanctions for Pakistan's nuclear tests, the Saudi government set up a special account to provide oil at a discount price.

Nuclear non-proliferation researcher Gaurav Kampani said Saudi Arabia was also rumoured to have bankrolled Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme in the 1980s and ballistic missile development in the 1990s.

"As with these latest reports, there's no hard evidence," he said from his office at the Monterey Institute of International Affairs' Centre for Non -Proliferation Studies.

London-based consultant Simon Henderson, an associate with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said Saudi officials, at an off-the-record conference in London in September, had said their government was considering either developing nuclear weapons, purchasing them or pushing for a nuclear -free Middle East.

"We know that the Saudis are scared of the threat from Iran and we assume that because they can no longer depend upon an American security umbrella, that they are considering other security umbrellas," Mr Henderson said.

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Re: Saudi Arabia's nuclear ambitions

Postby Calvin » 04 Nov 2003 06:31

Other than the WP article, is the fact that the other articles are being posted in a variety of obscure journals a sign that the SD is either suppressing the information, or merely floating a trial balloon?


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