The Saudis No Longer Wait for US, Are Developing Own Nuclear Strike Capability

It was the linkage that caught Tehran's attention. On Tuesday, Nov. 22, President Barack Obama's National Security Adviser Tom Donilon said that the toppling of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime would serve Iran a serious blow and further isolate the Islamic Republic.
Change in Damascus was inevitable, said Obama's national security adviser. It would constitute Iran’s greatest setback in the region yet – "a strategic blow that will further shift the balance of power in the region against Iran."
Donilon spoke in the wake of a new round of tough US energy and financial sanctions against Iran.
He made the first admission by a high-ranking Obama administration official that Washington's interest in ousting Assad was not just a matter of his nine-month long brutal crackdown of a popular uprising, but even more, as the most momentous strategic defeat confronting Iran in the Middle East.
The statement capped two weeks during which the US was reported to be mustering resources for exercising its military option against Iran's nuclear program.
In the second week of November, the US Air Force was said to have commissioned the new Massive Ordinance Penetrator, known as the MOP, in September.
This bomb can explode 200 feet underground; it is designed to destroy deeply buried and fortified targets such as the depots Iran is believed to have sunk deep underground to house its nuclear facilities.


US lavishes bunker busters, F-16 warplanes on Arab allies


Then, Monday, Nov. 21, the Pentagon was disclosed preparing for a formal congressional review of an arms sale to the United Arab Emirates, including about 600 satellite-guided bunker-buster bombs. Each weighting 2,000 pounds, they are part of a munitions package for the US ally whose fighter pilots fly the world’s most technologically advanced Lockheed Martin Corp. F-16s.
Two days earlier, on Nov. 19, the Washington Post enthusiastically described Saudi Arabian plans for a military buildup to halt Iran. It drew on Saudi sources to disclose that the army will augment its 150,000-strong forces with an extra 125,000 men and that the National Guard will add the same number of troops to its estimated 100,000.
The Saudi Navy will spend more than $30 billion buying new ships and sea-skimming missiles; the Air Force will procure 450 to 500 additional planes, and the Ministry of Interior was expanding its police and special forces units by about 60,000.
The Saudi shopping list is a rare bonanza for US and European arms producers and merchants.
The WP article did not indicate the length of time that would elapse between Iran's attainment of nuclear arms and the doubling of the Saudi armed forces, or how long it would take to train Saudi pilots to fly the 72 new Eurofighters from EADS and 84 new F-15s from Boeing on that list.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly's Gulf sources stress that this stream of US disclosures aimed at more than demonstrating the eagerness of Persian Gulf emirates to spend their way into projects for halting Iran – or even US willingness to support this effort with a lavish supply of sophisticated fighter planes and weapons.
It was meant to address a pointed Saudi grievance.


"Anyone who wants to survive in the Middle East needs a nuclear weapon"


On Nov. 15, the Saudi London-based paper Asharq Alawsat ran an unusual article penned by Saudi Arabia's most prominent Muslim preacher, Dr. Aaidh al-Qarni, under the headline: "The West wages jihad but forbids us from doing so."
The message conveyed between the lines was that Saudi Arabia had finally given up on the Obama administration's Iran and Middle East policies. Having decided to wait no longer for American military or diplomatic initiatives, the oil kingdom had resolved to develop or acquire its own nuclear option to counter a nuclear-armed Iran.
This article would not have seen print without the endorsement of the royal house in Riyadh.
Here are some excerpts:
"… How can the West wage jihad but prohibit us Muslims from doing so… (rhetorical question)
Here I am talking about the fact that the West has produced nuclear missiles yet prevents us from doing so… Its factories produce rockets, bombs, missiles, and frigates, rocket-launchers and aircraft carriers, whilst our factories only produce bubble-gum and Pepsi…
"…Look at the five major nuclear states; how they advise others to abandon their nuclear weapons and oppose the atomic bomb, whilst the United States itself originally gained its respect and political weight because of its nuclear arsenal. They preach to other states and advise all nations to be peaceful, transparent and hospitable, urging them not to manufacture nuclear weapons because this constitutes a global threat.
"In fact, the five major nuclear states do not want other nations to manufacture nuclear weapons so that they can maintain their hegemony, authority and tyranny.
"The West was wise to develop the intercontinental ballistic missile and the atomic bomb, yet it prevents us in the Middle East from doing so because it knows that in order to rule the world and monopolize its wealth, one needs overpowering strength and clear superiority. We in the Middle East are supposed to be content with reading history and reveling in the glories of the past, but this is only good for students in literacy classes…
"Anyone who wants to survive in the Middle East today, therefore, must possess nuclear weapons."


Saudi Arabia joins the Middle East nuclear race


DEBKA-Net-Weekly's sources report the same grievance prompted Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief and adviser to King Abdullah, to voice opposition to an American or Israel attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. At a Washington press appearance on Nov. 15, he declared, "Such an act, I think, would be foolish, and to undertake it I think would be tragic."
Both comments reflect the policy currently espoused in Riyadh: Saudi has in fact given up on anyone else taking military action against Iran's nuclear program after waiting in vain for America or Israel to pursue such action. Acting on this conclusion, our military sources report the Saudis have plunged into creating their own multibillion program for building nuclear weapons and acquiring the missiles to deliver them.
They hope to end up with a counterweight to a nuclear-armed Iran across the Persian Gulf.
This program is proceeding in great secrecy at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), at the Red Sea town of Thuwal. This site, spread over more than 36 square kilometers (14 sq. miles), also comprises a marine sanctuary and research facility.
Every American intelligence effort to gain admittance to the campus's military and nuclear labs have so far been thwarted.

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