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Saudi Arabia Eyes Pakistani Nukes To Face Iran

Saudi PrinceTurki al-Faisal

Saudi Arabia has been beefing up its military links with Pakistan to
counter Iran’s expansionist plans and this reportedly includes acquiring
atomic arms from the only Muslim nuclear power or its pledge of nuclear
cover.
Pakistan has become a front-line state for Sunni Islam and is being
positioned by its leaders, particularly in the powerful military and
intelligence establishments, as a bulwark against Shiite Iran and its
proxies.
Increasingly, Pakistan is rushing to the defense of Saudi Arabia,
with whom it has a long had discreet security links. It is reported to
have put two army divisions on standby for deployment to Saudi Arabia if
the kingdom is threatened by Iran or the pro-democracy uprisings
sweeping the Arab world.
It is even reported to be prepared to provide Saudi Arabia with
nuclear weapons if threatened by Iran. In return, it has been promised
Saudi Arabian oil and treasure.
The Saudis have portrayed the roiling rivalry with the Iranians as a
new, menacing chapter of the 1,300-year-old struggle between Sunni and
Shiite Islam.
“The stakes are enormous,” says Bruce Riedel, a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist.
“Pakistan has the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world. It
will soon surpass the United Kingdom as the fifth-largest nuclear
arsenal. It is the sixth-largest country in the world in terms of
population,” Riedel wrote in the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel.
“It will soon surpass Indonesia as the country with the largest Muslim population.”
The Saudis have long had close relations with Pakistan and there have
been persistent reports that they, and other Persian Gulf states, have
funded Islamabad’s nuclear arms program for decades.
It is widely held in the Middle East that if Iran does produce
nuclear weapons Pakistan will provide the Saudis with weapons from
Islamabad’s stockpile.

Concerns about Saudi plans to buy ready-made nuclear weapons, rather
than go through the lengthy and verifiable process of developing their
own, were raised in June 1994.
A Saudi defector, Mohammed Khilewi, the No. 2 official in the Saudi
mission to the United Nations in New York, claimed Riyadh had paid up to
$5 billion to Saddam Hussein to build it a nuclear weapon.
Khilewi, an expert in nuclear proliferation who was the Saudi
delegate to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, had produced 13,000
documents to support his claim the kingdom engaged in a secret 20-year
effort to acquire nuclear weapons, first with Iraq, which Riyadh backed
in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, and then with Pakistan.
Khilewi’s documents showed that Riyadh helped bankroll Pakistan’s
clandestine nuclear project and signed a pact that in the event Saudi
Arabia was attacked with nuclear weapons, Islamabad would respond
against the aggressor with its own nuclear arms.
The Wall Street Journal and Britain’s Guardian daily said a leading
Saudi royal, Prince Turki al-Faisal, warned U.S. and British military
commanders meeting outside London June 8 that if Tehran didn’t curtail
its nuclear program, Riyadh would seek nuclear weapons of its own.
Iranian acquisition of nuclear arms, the prince said, “would compel
Saudi Arabia … to pursue policies which could lead to untold and
possibly dramatic consequences.”
Turki, who headed Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Directorate in
1977-2001, didn’t spell out what those consequences might be but a
senior official in Riyadh observed, “We cannot live in a situation where
Iran has nuclear weapons and we don’t.”

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