Washington Acts to Avert Israeli Strike and Transfer of Pakistani Nukes to Saudi Arabia
If the US proposal for resolving the Iranian nuclear issue is accepted in Geneva this week, Washington – and the world – will have to face before the end of 2013 three nuclear-armed Middle East nations: Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Israel is the only one with a stock of weapons in operational condition.
Saudi Arabia has kept its nuclear resources on a shelf in Pakistan, although Saudi Air Force transports are parked nearby ready to pick up the nuclear warheads and take off for the oil kingdom under an escort of Pakistani fighter jets.
DEBKA Weekly’s military and intelligence sources more than once covered the arrival in Saudi Arabia at the end of 2012 of a detachment of Pakistani officers and troops for securing the ShaheedII-Hatf-6 batteries, which are capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to a distance of around 2,000 km.
Last month, former Israeli military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin told a conference in Sweden that if Iran got the bomb, “the Saudis will not wait one month. They have already paid for the bomb and will go to Pakistan and bring back what they need.”
On the shelf in Iran, are all the components needed to assemble bombs and warheads, as well as enough enriched uranium for break-out into operational nuclear weapons. All they have to do is lift them off the shelf.
Tehran warned that rejecting the US proposal held risks of attack
Referring to the latest America proposal before the Geneva negotiations between Iran and the Six World Powers starting Thursday, Nov. 7, senior US negotiator, Undersecretary Wendy Sherman said Wednesday: “We’re looking for ways to put additional time on the clock” and “Such a first step by Tehran, which denies seeking the capability to make nuclear weapons, would create space for further negotiations on a comprehensive settlement.”
This was seen as an admission that Tehran, in defiance of every diplomatic effort, had been able to reach its desired nuclear threshold.
All other issues have therefore paled in comparison. Washington urgently needs to buy time now – at least six months – to bring Iran to the “first step” towards stopping its nuclear program advancing further and “start rolling parts of it back.” In return, Washington offers "very limited, temporary, reversible sanctions relief.”
It was hoped in the White House that Tehran will see the wisdom of the American proposal, and grasp that turning it down, would jump forward the risk of an Israeli military strike on its nuclear program, as well as shooting Saudi Air Force transports up in the sky with a cargo of Pakistani warheads for the oil kingdom. Upon delivery, they would rapidly be made operational atop missiles posted opposite the Iranian border 200 km east of Riyadh.
Jerusalem and Riyadh in contact on a response
During the past week, Israeli preparations for attacking Iran went into high gear and emergency military facilities were opened up. This may have been a performance for putting the squeeze on President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry into holding off on a deal with Iran. Or maybe it was for real.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pulled no punches when he told Kerry in their two conversations Wednesday that the American proposal was not just a “bad deal,” but the worst possible bargain Israel could imagine.
But he also understood it to be a “done deal,” as DEBKA Weekly first revealed in late September, and there was nothing he could do to keep it off the table.
As the week wore on and the US Secretary hopped from Cairo to Riyadh to Jerusalem, it became increasingly clear that his mission was not to sell the Obama administration’s Iranian strategy to the Saudis and Israelis – and certainly not to crack the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate – but rather to tie the hands of King Abdullah and Binyamin Netanyahu against lashing out against Iran.
By spreading word in the last couple of weeks, that he would announce a nuclear accommodation with Tehran in person in time for Christmas, Obama had hoped to mislead Jerusalem and Riyadh and catch them by surprise this week when the bombshell deal was dropped from Geneva.
This plan fizzled. Kerry found both rulers onto the US-Iranian scheme and realized that the two capitals were in communication on how to respond.