Saudi Arabia has made a “strategic decision” to purchase “off-the-shelf” nuclear weapons from Pakistan, a US official says.
“There has been a long-standing agreement in place with the Pakistanis and the House of Saud has now made the strategic decision to move forward,” British newspaper Sunday Times quoted a former US defense official as saying in a Sunday report.
“Hundreds of people at [CIA headquarters in] Langley” were trying to discover if Islamabad had already supplied the Persian Gulf nation with nuclear technology or arms, another unnamed US intelligence official said.
Over the past three decades Saudi Arabia has financed considerable amounts of Islamabad’s nuclear program and provided it with billions of dollars of subsidized oil.
“Given their close relations and close military links, it’s long been assumed that if the Saudis wanted, they would call in a commitment, moral or otherwise, for Pakistan to supply them immediately with nuclear warheads,” British former Foreign Secretary Lord David Owen was quoted as saying.
Western military leaders “all assume the Saudis have made the decision to go nuclear,” he added.
“The fear is that other Middle Eastern powers — Turkey and Egypt — may feel compelled to do the same and we will see a new, even more dangerous, arms race,” he noted.
World top arms importer
Back in March, Saudi Arabia became the world’s biggest importer of weapons, according to an arms trade report.
According to the Global Defense Trade Report, Saudi Arabia spent over $6.4 billion on weapons purchases in 2014, putting India in the second place.
Over the past year, the Saudi kingdom increased its arms imports by 54 percent.
“Growth in Saudi Arabia has been dramatic and, based on previous orders, these numbers are not going to slow down,” RT quoted IHS expert Ben Moores as saying.
According to a separate report, Muhammad Khilewi, an official in the Saudi mission to the UN, who requested US asylum in 1994, provided documents which allegedly described the Kingdom’s long-time support for Iraq’s nuclear weapons program during Saddam Hussein’s regime. Around $5 billion were given to the regime on the condition that functional nuclear technology and, if possible, nuclear weapons be transferred to Saudi Arabia.
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