Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Saudi Nuclear Mania

Why isn’t Saudi Arabia developing a nuke? Nestled betwixt the two expansionist nuclear powers of Israel and Iran, Saudi Arabia, ceteris parabus, should be developing some kind of nuclear program. And yet, according to all open-source reports, the Kingdom is not. Rationally, the only way to deter both the Islamic Republic or the Jewish State is the possibility of nuclear counter-strike. In the struggle for regional hegemony, there can be only one!

King Abdullah knows quite well that his kingdom has been in continuous competition with Iran since 1979 for the hearts and minds of the global ummah. While Abduallah's predeccesor, King Fahd, busied himself in funding radical Islamist madrasahs in Pakistan, the Iranians worked at stretching their jurisprudent calf-muscles when they decreed death for an obscure Indian author. The Rushie Affair punctuates the cold war that Iran and Saudi Arabia have conducted since Khomeini’s revolution. Saudi Arabia largely bank-rolled Iraq during the Iran-Iraq Temporary Insanity War of 1980-1988. The puritanical Wahhabs still detest the Shi’ah apostates, while the Persians have little patience for inferior Arabs.

At the same time, only 18 short miles separate Israel’s port on the Red Sea, Elat, and Al-Haql in Saudi Arabia; there are only 767 miles between Mecca and Jerusalem. To be delicate, Israel and Saudi Arabia have not always seen eye to eye. Reports suggest that Israel had between ten and twenty nuclear weapons in 1974 and presently has between 200 and 400 warheads, mounted on both F-16 based bombs and Jericho II missiles with a range 1500 km. Saudi Arabia, ever the belligerent financier, funded Egypt, Joran, and Syria during the Six Day War and funded the Yom Kippur War. Today, Saudi diplomats continue to pressure western states, including America, to bring pressure to bear on Israel for not relinquishing the occupied territories. Coupled with the viscerally reactionary strain of anti-Jewish Wahhabism indigenous to Saudi Arabia, conflict with Israel seems increasingly likely, especially in the long run.

So why isn’t Saudi Arabia developing nukes? Proscriptions that such weapons are unIslamic seem mealy-mouthed and ephemeral; after all, it was Saudi cleric Sheik Hamid bin Fahd who decreed nuclear arms permissible during a lengthy fatwa for Bin Ladin in May of 2003. A few months later, in October of 2003, reports began surfacing that then-Crown Prince Abdullah had met quietly with Pakistani officials to discuss sharing arms. The initially unlikely scenario of a Paki-Saudi nuclear alliance seems more and more probable. Given the entrepreneurial zeal of Pakistan’s past nuclear programs, an outsourced nuclear program seems the best way of avoiding culpability. It also rings true with the Kingdom’s fairly consistent policy of funding unpopular mandates while keeping them at arm’s length. As Iran becomes bolder in its bid for nuclear capabilities, the US needs to look much closer at the possibility of Saudi nukes. If the Saudis are working with the Pakistanis, it reinforces one strong point vis-a-vis America's attempts at preventing nuclear proliferation: the sin is not in posessing nukes, the sin is in developing them. America will move mountains to prevent the former and only grumble impotently at the latter.

3 comments:

Dr. Duke Nukem said...

This is a fascinating question. You'd think the Saudis would certainly have the money to start a nuclear program, ten times over. But would they really need one? Because of their oil importance they can probably reasonably rely on protection from the US. Their money and oil is a pretty effective deterrent. There are no open-source reports about the militant or terrorist organizations getting funding from Saudi wallets, and having those groups in your employment can be seen as another pretty effective deterrent. THen again, it almost seems as though Saudi Arabia's success rests on the fact that they try really hard not to get in the middle of anything nasty. They're the bankers and investors. They have money. They have oil. They have almost unanimous foreign support from every member of the international community. They have stability. What do they need nukes for? Nukes would complicate all those profitable business relationships. The only connection between S.A. and nuclear weaponry we need to worry about, is whether or not Saudi money is helping other countries acquire nuclear capabilities.

Gus Van Rant said...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2436948,00.html


The London Times is on the case.

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