Saudi Arabia is ready to carry out nuclear tests to “protect Muslims”
There has long been a lot of discussion whether Saudi Arabia has a nuclear bomb. World powers refrain from commenting on the subject, while Riyadh acts out of line from time to time. In mid-February, a political analyst from Saudi Arabia Dahham Al-'Anzi announced an approaching test of nuclear weapon in an interview to MEMRI-TV.
The expert’s comment could well be regarded as another fake, as he’s not the kingdom’s official representative. However, Saudi Arabia is a totalitarian state, where political and intellectual life is subdued to the monarch and his numberless relatives. So Saudi experts won’t make statements for nothing. The Wahhabist kingdom’s authorities speak from their mouth.
“We acquired the bomb two years ago. A nuclear test is expected soon,” Dahham Al-'Anzi said. According to him, the fact isn’t new to anybody. “The superpowers know about this. Earlier, we stated that, if Iran carries out a nuclear bomb test, Saudi Arabia will do the same. No problem,” he added.
The Saudi expert bent the truth. Riyadh threatened to obtain nuclear weapon if Teheran carries out a test. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia has nothing to worry about: Iran has signed a nuclear-weapons agreement. The reason is Riyadh has probably obtained a nuclear bomb and is looking for a reason to justify such a stance.
Dahham Al-'Anzi says the country needs the deadly weapons to defend Muslims from Al-Assad’s “bloody” regime. “Saudi Arabia acts like a responsible member of an international community. Russia supports Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, while Syrians are being eliminated. Saudi Arabia’s army won’t sit idly! What have we been buying rockets and planes for? Why are we getting so much weapon, if not for defending Arab and Muslim rights?” the analyst argues.
Riyadh is not capable to produce even simple weapons, importing a wide range of military weaponry. Saudi Arabia, then, is likely to get a nuclear bomb from abroad. According to experts, the kingdom has bought it from Pakistan. Saudi Arabia has been investing into Pakistan’s nuclear programme for more than 30 years; in 1998 the investment proved successful. Pakistan became one of six nuclear-weapons state.
Islamabad has many times disproved that it gave Riyadh a nuclear bomb and parts of nuclear arsenals. Pakistan’s authorities say news about negotiations and the deal with the kingdom is misinformation. However, it doesn’t pay to take Islamabad’s word for it.
Pakistan hasn’t signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The country is formally free to deliver nuclear arsenal, its components and technologies. Moreover, Pakistan continues to build up its nuclear arsenal. As of now, Islamabad has about a hundred nuclear warheads.
The main obstacle in the way of the buildup is lack of sufficient financing. Saudi Arabia, then, looks like an ideal backer for Pakistan’s poor economy. That’s why, for billions of dollars, Islamabad will publicly state anything and secretly produce warhead for Arabian customers.
Since late 80s, Riyadh has got ways of delivery those warheads. Saudi Army possesses Chinese ballistic rockets DF-3A, capable to hit the mark at a distance of 2,800 kilometres. Riyadh has allegedly bought from China more advanced DF-21. Ballistic rockets are generally used for strategic non-nuclear deterrence, but can also carry nuclear warheads, if required.
Stakes are extremely high
In the Mid East Saudi Arabia poses as the centre of Sunni world. The kingdom has holy places, religious school, with local businessmen supporting plenty of Islamist groups. Now Riyadh is trying to add military strength to its cultural influence. The kingdom is number four in the list of countries by their military expenditures with more than 10% of GDP. Above 80% of weapons is bought from the U.S., but now Riyadh is ready to make a deal even with Russia.
The Saudi Arabian army is equipped with rather modern combat equipment. At the same time, the royal force hasn’t enjoyed any military success. According to high-profile agency Global Firepower, the Saudi Arabian army is 28th in the world, after Israel and Iran.
Saudi Arabia’s combat ineffectiveness is felt in neighbouring Yemen, where the royal forces fight against rebels since last March. In spring 2016, Saudi Arabia is going to send several thousand special operations soldiers to Syria. Military analysts note weak morale of Saudi Arabian forces and predict their defeat in Syria.
The kingdom has invested dozens of billions of dollars to acquire a status of a nuclear-weapons state, but has reached no success. This fact irritates the Saudi elite. Defeat in Syria will be a blow for the kingdom. Stakes are extremely high, while Russia and Iran are not afraid of a land operation. In the current situation Saudis have to take an ace from their sleeve or compromise, that is recognize a defeat in foreign politics.
It is possible that the nuclear test which political expert Dahham Al-‘Anzi talked about will be carried out in Yemen. This mountainous country has been turned to Saudi Arabia’s testing ground where it tests any kind of weapon. The royal air forces bomb-destroy not only rebels, but living quarters, and get away with these war crimes. In the end of May 2015, Yemen suffered a military strike. As media suggest, Riyadh used a neutron bomb which is another kind of nuclear weapon.
At the same time Saudi Arabia pushes for the non-nuclear Mid East, formally refusing to develop a nuclear bomb. The words of the Saudi expert sound as a warning in this context: the Wahhabist regime is ready for everything to “protect Muslims”.
Saudi Arabia acquiring a status of a nuclear-weapons state will change balance of forces in the region. A nuclear bomb will serve as a measure of leverage with neighbouring countries and Russia. However, such a development of events will dissatisfy Washington, which is encouraging. In mid-January 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry indicated that sanctions will be imposed on Riyadh if it dares to buy a nuclear bomb.
Translated by Philipp Chernenko