Author: Shivom Seth
Posted: Tuesday , 22 Jul 2014
Mumbai (Mineweb) –
Author: Shivom Seth
Posted: Tuesday , 22 Jul 2014
Mumbai (Mineweb) –
South Korea began a nuclear weapons program in 1970, in response to the Nixon Doctrine’s emphasis on self-defense for Asian allies. Following the withdrawal of 26,000 American troops, the South Korean government established a Weapons Exploitation Committee, which decided to pursue nuclear weapons. By 1975 the US had pressured France into not delivering a reprocessing facility, effectiely ending attempts to develop nuclear weapons. Under pressure from the United States, Korea ratified the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) on 23 April 1975. Although President Park Chung-Hee said in 1977 that South Korea would not develop nuclear weapons, he continued a clandestine program that only ended with his assassination in October 1979.
South Korea may have had plans in the 1980s to develop nuclear weapons to deter an attack by the North. The plans were reported to have been dropped under US pressure. However, the reports seem to have emanated in the form of hearsay from a South Korean opposition legislator, with no confirmation from US or South Korean officials, or independent sources. The United States remained concerned, as indicated by the “special” inspections that the US conducts at the center of Seoul’s nuclear research, the Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) located at Daeduk, near the city of Taejon. The United States maintains a ban on plutonium being supplied to the South Korea.
In connection with the NPT, the Safeguards Agreement between Korea and the IAEA has been in force since 14 November 1975. In 1975, only 2 nuclear facilities, TRIGA II and III research reactors, were under IAEA safeguards. However, because of the active nuclear power program in Korea, 33 facilities are now under IAEA safeguards.
As an active measure to maintain the increase use of nuclear material and facilities, a national inspection system was introduced to respond to all international obligations and to ensure international transparency and credibility of nuclear activities in Korea.
The Technology Center for Nuclear Control (TCNC) was established at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute in 1994 to develop safeguards technology and to provide technical assistance to the Government. In 1996, MOST authorized TCNC at KAERI as the technical assistant agency for national safeguards implementation.
In addition, each nuclear facility or installation has designated a person in charge of safeguards, which was strongly recommended by the Government to strengthen the State’s System of Accounting for and Control of nuclear material (SSAC). Even though the Government is at the top and the center of the Korean SSAC in terms of hierarchy, it is the close cooperation amongest organizations and institutions that has made safeguards implementation succeed in Korea.
National inspection were performed for 7 facilities in 1997 on a trial basis and were carried out for 13 facilities in 1998 as an intermediate step before full implementation. During these periods, necessary elements such as inspection criteria and procedures, inspection equipment, and inspection information management system were developed for full scope national inspection.
In 2001, the full scope national inspection was performed for 33 facilities. Although the national inspection system in Korea needs to be further developed, its benefit is already foreseen. Advanced inspection equipment have been developed for efficient and effective inspection both for the IAEA and Korea. Since 1999, Korea has accomplished 95% of the IAEA safeguards inspection goal attainment. In October 2001, Korea and the IAEA signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the implementation of enhanced cooperation for light water reactors.
As of October 2002, a total of 17 nuclear power units were in operation, and three units are under construction. A further eight units are to be constructed from 2003. Korea has around 15 GW of nuclear power capacity, which accounts for 28.0% of its total electric power capacity. To enhance the safety and to cut the costs of nuclear power plants, Korea has developed an advanced power reactor with a capacity of 1,400MWe, called APR1400, on the basis of technological self-reliance of the 1,000MWe Korea Standard Nuclear Power Plant (KSNP) in 1995. Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company(KHNP), the sole consumer of nuclear fuel in Korea, has a basic guideline to ensure the nuclear fuel supply and to pursues the economic efficiency at the same time by applying an international open bid.
South Korea admitted to embarrassment but not to wrongdoing as international inspectors investigated the secret enrichment of uranium at government-run nuclear facilities. The government said it was fully cooperating with a team of inspectors from the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that departed after concluding a week-long inspection. Revelations that scientists in South Korea had engaged in clandestine uranium enrichment in 2000, albeit in microscopic quantities, emerged at a time when Seoul was playing a leading role in efforts to end North Korea’s nuclear weapons drive.
These experiments were done by a small group of scientists for research purposes on a laboratory scale and without the knowledge or authorization of the government of the Republic of Korea. The head of the research institute admitted that the uranium enrichment experiment by South Korean government scientists was conducted three times in 2000 with his approval. And the government of the Republic of Korea did not have an enrichment or reprocessing program at all, and do not have and will not have that enrichment or reprocessing facilities.
One of these conversion activities, which took place at three facilities that had not been declared to the Agency, involved the production of about 150 kilograms of natural uranium metal, a small amount of which, according to the ROK, was later used in the AVLIS experiments. The ROK authorities have pointed out that the uranium enrichment experiments took place in the context of a broader experimental effort to apply AVLIS techniques to a wide range of stable isotopes. According to the ROK, only about 200 milligrams of enriched uranium were produced.
International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors visited three previously undeclared facilities in South Korea. The inspection team visited another facility for which the results of environmental samples had revealed the presence of slightly irradiated depleted uranium with associated plutonium. The ROK authorities informed the Agency that, in the early 1980s, a laboratory scale experiment had been performed at this facility to irradiate 2.5 kilograms of depleted uranium and separate a small amount of plutonium.
News of the experiment prompted nervous reaction from Japan.
The Korean government will take measures to avoid a recurrence of this issue by creating a national center for controlling nuclear material, and educating scientists to remind them of their safeguard obligation; and safeguard agreements mean that even minute amounts of nuclear material must be reported to the IAEA.
South Korean scientists extracted plutonium in 1982 without reporting it. A week after admitting government scientists enriched uranium in a clandestine experiment four years earlier, South Korea revealed it also engaged in plutonium research more than 20 years ago. South Korean officials confirmed that several milligrams of plutonium were extracted in a 1982 experiment at the country’s nuclear energy research institute. South Korean diplomats insisted the experiments were extremely limited and conducted purely for scientific research.
Under the NPT, South Korea is allowed to conduct experiments with nuclear material. But all such experiments have to be reported to the IAEA so it can verify that none of the material involved is being used for military purposes. So the experiments themselves are not illegal. But carrying them out without declaring them to the appropriate international agency is illegal.
South Korea started the initial stages of a clandestine nuclear weapons program during the early 1980s, when the future of its security relationship with the United States was in doubt. That was after Washington announced possible plans to withdraw U.S. troops from South Korea: “The United States learned of this nuclear activity and through political pressure and persuasion was able to end the program at a very early stage.
After the end of its nuclear weapon program, by the late 1980s South Korea retained interest in reprocessing spent fuel from its civilian nuclear power program, hoping that plutonium recycling would reduce dependence on imported uranium. The United States consistently opposed South Korean reprocessing initiatives, citing weapons proliferation concerns.
British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL) had sought to obtain reprocessing contracts with South Korea, similar to the arrangements in place with Japan. An export licence was granted on 11 November 1997 for the export of up to 50kg of recycled low enriched uranium powder to the Republic of Korea for research and development on nuclear fuel. A shipment of 43.7kg of nuclear fuel containing reprocessed uranium was exported under this licence by BNFL to South Korea for use in the Hanaro research reactor at Daeduk in 1998.
In November 2004, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported, in a confidential report, that quantities of nuclear material produced over a 20-year period by South Korea as part of nuclear experiments were not significant by that the activities and the failure by South Korea to declare them were, however.
In the study of Bible prophecy it is imperative to look at the nations of the world military capabilities to assess the possible role these nations will have in the end times. For example in determining who the Antichrist will be you would be very wrong if you said Fidel Castro of Cuba, no matter how much you despise this man. He would not have a nations military capability to support his role.
In looking at the first two seals of the book of Revelation we can see two men, one riding a white horse and the other riding a red horse. The first is a skilled archer and he holds a bow in his hand the second is good in personal close encounter combat and it is given a sword.
The first rider is given the command to go out and conquer militarily as the bow implies and the second is given the order to take away the peace of the world. I identify these men as the leader of the USA (white horse) and the leader of Russia.
From the text it is implied that these two are responsible for the deaths of 1/4 of the population of the world or approximately 1,782,000,000 people. This number is gigantic and hard to understand. In the war raging beteen Hamas and Israel at this time the number of casualties do not reach the 1,000 killed.
It is quite evident that to kill 1/4 of the world, weapons of mass destruction must be utilized and nuclear weapons would be the first choice. I have a hard time placing the prophecies of the bible listed in other books like Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38-39, Jeremiah 49, Ezekiel 29 and all the others falling before the time of the book of Revelation. and within the context of the first two seals. Who is the red horse rider doing war against? Where is Islam in the book of Revelation? If Islam is gone who is left.
These questions must be answered as all end times prophecies must follow a logical outcome and all must be considered in the relationship of one to the other.
I am including here a link to the nuclear power nations of the world. You can also find info on their armies and economies that form an essential part of modern day war making abilities, again think of Fidel Castro’s example. Nando
Expert on Middle East Issues
When the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki and his colleagues in the State of Law Coalition were occupying all government posts in an totalitarian manner and at all levels of the government, it was quit predictable that the situation in Iraq will become as critical as it is right now. However, it would be also too simplistic to blame Nouri Al-Maliki for all the problems with which Iraq is currently faced. Perhaps, major factors that have brought Iraq to its current critical state can be summarized as follows.
Nouri Al-Maliki and State of Law Coalition
Since he came to power, the prime minister of Iraq has been following a totalitarian approach and did not believe in consulting other parties or showing respect for the opposition views. As a result of sticking to this attitude by Maliki, the political gaps continued to widen not only between the prime minister and Sunni politicians, but even with Shias as well following the second parliamentary elections in Iraq that were held after the fall of the country’s former dictator, Saddam Hussein. If it were not for consultations by Tehran, two powerful Shia clerics, Muqtada Al-Sadr and Ammar Al-Hakim would not have conceded to a repeated term for Maliki as prime minister and he would have not been able to become the country’s prime minister for a second time. However, Maliki continued with his totalitarian policies and as time went by, he became even lonelier than before. The policies he adopted in Sunni-dominated areas were even worse. Those affiliated with the Baath party, the relatives of Saddam and even other Sunni groups had developed a strong hatred toward Shias, in general, and Nouri Al-Maliki, in particular, after they were set aside from the power structure. The prime minister of Iraq, however, continued his discriminatory policies in those areas dominated by Sunnis and further enraged them by not allowing them to take part in the political game. As a result, it is very natural for a powder keg to be set off with the first spark.
The theory of Salafism and Wahhabism enjoys a high amount of potential for the promotion of violence and radicalism. This ideology, which is specifically fostered by Saudi Arabia, has found a powerful fan base among Sunni groups in the Middle East region, especially in those parts when Sunni people are disgruntled with their governments. Since the fall of Saddam Hussein, regional power equations have taken a positive turn in favor of Iran’s national interests. Therefore, it is quite natural for Saudi Arabia to try to turn the table. Acting in a sinusoidal manner, this country has tried all existing options to bring about a major change in the existing conditions in Iraq. Riyadh, as such, has spared no effort from lending its support to violent acts by groups that oppose the central government to making recourse to civil mechanisms and providing spiritual and material support for political groups that oppose Nouri Al-Maliki. Undoubtedly, the government of Saudi Arabia as well as part of the Saudi society has played a crucial role in supplying military equipment to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq. In the absence of that support, the ISIS would not have progressed as far as it already has.
The question is what are the viewpoints of Turkey and Iran, which have always followed the developments in Iraq with a lot of sensitivity?
Perhaps the most eccentric policy toward the ongoing developments in Iraq has been taken by its northern neighbor, Turkey. Despite the fact that Ankara has been always greatly concerned about the emergence of an independent Kurdish entity in the region, it is currently supporting the independence of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. In reality, however, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been taking great risks in Iraq. The fact that the next presidential election in Turkey is forthcoming and due to the considerable effect that the votes cast by Turkish Kurds will have in determining the final result of the election, Erdogan has decided to embark on a very dangerous game in Iraq. By trying to pass himself as a major support base for Massoud Barzani [the president of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region] and Iraqi Kurds, Erdogan is trying to attract as many of Turkish Kurds’ votes as possible. On the other hand, Erdogan believes that by supporting the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in Iraq, he will be able to sway a great degree of influence on that state in the figure. This will be a newly established country with a lot of crude oil for exports. However, almost all analysts know that this is a very dangerous game in which the possibility of Erdogan losing the game is tantamount to his chances for winning it.
Out of all regional countries, Iran benefitted most from the fall of Saddam. Perhaps, the overthrow of Saddam was more beneficial to Iran than even the United States. Therefore, it is no surprise that Tehran is now very concerned about the ongoing developments in Iraq and is opposed to any form of disruption in stability of Iraq as well as any obstacle that may prevent establishment of a powerful central government in its western neighbor. Iran has good friendly relations with all Shia groups in Iraq. However, the charismatic personality of Maliki and the way he ran the government had caused Iran to prefer Maliki over other Shia groups up to the present time. However, it goes without saying that if the need arises, Iran will be ready to prefer a more moderate person over Maliki in order to guarantee the survival of an integrated Iraq. From the viewpoint of Iran, such ideas as disintegration of Iraq, permanent occupation of part of Iraq by the ISIS as well as the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in Iraq are unacceptable ideas.
What will come next?
Following the inauguration of the new Iraqi parliament and appointment of a moderate figure out of Sunni groups as speaker of the new parliament, it seems that Maliki will have to say goodbye to power. Perhaps, this is one of the few chances that Iraq will have to overcome the ongoing crisis for which no short-term solution is perceivable. Kurds will not lose what they have gained so far and any central government coming to power in Iraq will possibly have to accept that the city of Kirkuk will never return under Baghdad’s control. Kurds, on the other hand, are well aware that those parties that are positive to independence of Kurdistan sway less power and influence in the country than those parties that are opposed to this process. In other words, under present circumstances, Turkey and Israel are the main parties supporting independence of Kurds, while two major foreign powers with influence in Iraq; that is, Iran and the United States have already indicated their opposition to any demand that would lead to disintegration of Iraq. Iran and the United States are also in agreement over another issue, which is annihilation of the ISIS. Both countries are wary about further growth of Salafi fundamentalism and a worst-case scenario for both Tehran and Washington is further advances of this terrorist group. Therefore, it seems that all the roads lead to Iran and the United States again, of course, provided that officials in both countries decide to strive toward the same goal and cooperate with each other away from longstanding problems that have marred their relations.
The Local | 5 Sep 2012, 11:12
American nuclear weapons will not be removed from Germany, despite their departure being a long-term aim of the German government, it has emerged.
Although Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle had put the removal of the 20 or so US nuclear warheads from Germany at the heart of his foreign policy aims, signs emerged two years ago that this might not be feasible.
Now, the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper reported on Wednesday, the government has bowed to NATO plans to not only keep the bombs in Germany, but to modernise them.
Billions will be spent on modernising the bombs themselves, while the Bundeswehr is expected to spend around €250 million to keep its Tornado fighter jets – which would be used to drop the US nuclear bombs – serviceable until 2024.
In what it called an about-turn in German defence policy, the newspaper said the move was particularly painful for Westerwelle, who it noted had anchored the withdrawal of the US nukes from Germany in the 2009 coalition agreement.
Officially there are between 10 and 20 nuclear bombs at the Büchel Air Base in Rhineland Palatinate – relics of the Cold War stock of about 200 which were kept there until the 1990s.
Although many do not see the point of keeping the weapons in Germany, the paper said France, Turkey and eastern European states are keen to see them stay, while other countries want to see Russia reduce its tactical nuclear weapons arsenal first.
The Berliner Zeitung newspaper heard from military experts that the government had given up its position at the NATO summit in Chicago at the end of May, when Chancellor Angela Merkel and Westerwelle both assented to a joint declaration.
That declaration included a statement saying that nuclear weapons were a central component of the total NATO capacity, and that the current deployment was sufficient to provide an effective defence.
But although the foreign ministry still stresses that NATO is, in principle, working towards disarmament and control, Karl-Heinz Kamp, research director of the NATO Defence College in Rome, said there were several reasons why the Germans had to back down.
“Generally the euphoria about nuclear disarmament has dissipated,” he told the Frankfurter Rundschau. “And the relationship between Russia and the USA has cooled again. And with his public foray, Westerwelle did not make negotiations in NATO easier.”
He said the US was planning to spend around $4 billion to modernise the bombs and make them steerable rather than just drop bombs as they are now, yet this has also brought criticism.
“The modernisation of these weapons by the USA threatens to remove the strict distinction between tactical and strategic weapons,” said Gernot Erler, foreign affairs spokesman for the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD).
He said the SPD would call on the government to explain what steps it now planned in working towards the aim of removing US nuclear weapons from Germany and Europe.
While the kingdom’s quest has often been set in the context of countering Iran’s atomic programme, it is now possible that the Saudis might be able to deploy such devices more quickly than the Islamic republic.
Earlier this year, a senior Nato decision maker told me that he had seen intelligence reporting that nuclear weapons made in Pakistan on behalf of Saudi Arabia are now sitting ready for delivery.
Last month Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, told a conference in Sweden that if Iran got the bomb, “the Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb, they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring.”
Since 2009, when King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia warned visiting US special envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross that if Iran crossed the threshold, “we will get nuclear weapons”, the kingdom has sent the Americans numerous signals of its intentions.
Gary Samore, until March 2013 President Barack Obama’s counter-proliferation adviser, has told Newsnight:
“I do think that the Saudis believe that they have some understanding with Pakistan that, in extremis, they would have claim to acquire nuclear weapons from Pakistan.”
The story of Saudi Arabia’s project – including the acquisition of missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads over long ranges – goes back decades.
In the late 1980s they secretly bought dozens of CSS-2 ballistic missiles from China.
These rockets, considered by many experts too inaccurate for use as conventional weapons, were deployed 20 years ago.
This summer experts at defence publishers IHS Jane‘s reported the completion of a new Saudi CSS-2 base with missile launch rails aligned with Israel and Iran.
Visits by the then Saudi defence minister Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz al Saud to the Pakistani nuclear research centre in 1999 and 2002 underlined the closeness of the defence relationship.
In its quest for a strategic deterrent against India, Pakistan co-operated closely with China which sold them missiles and provided the design for a nuclear warhead.
The Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan was accused by western intelligence agencies of selling atomic know-how and uranium enrichment centrifuges to Libya and North Korea.
AQ Khan is also believed to have passed the Chinese nuclear weapon design to those countries. This blueprint was for a device engineered to fit on the CSS-2 missile, i.e the same type sold to Saudi Arabia.
Because of this circumstantial evidence, allegations of a Saudi-Pakistani nuclear deal started to circulate even in the 1990s, but were denied by Saudi officials.
They noted that their country had signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and called for a nuclear-free Middle East, pointing to Israel’s possession of such weapons.
The fact that handing over atom bombs to a foreign government could create huge political difficulties for Pakistan, not least with the World Bank and other donors, added to scepticism about those early claims.
In Eating the Grass, his semi-official history of the Pakistani nuclear program, Major General Feroz Hassan Khan wrote that Prince Sultan’s visits to Pakistan’s atomic labs were not proof of an agreement between the two countries. But he acknowledged, “Saudi Arabia provided generous financial support to Pakistan that enabled the nuclear program to continue.”
Whatever understandings did or did not exist between the two countries in the 1990s, it was around 2003 that the kingdom started serious strategic thinking about its changing security environment and the prospect of nuclear proliferation.
A paper leaked that year by senior Saudi officials mapped out three possible responses – to acquire their own nuclear weapons, to enter into an arrangement with another nuclear power to protect the kingdom, or to rely on the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.
It was around the same time, following the US invasion of Iraq, that serious strains in the US/Saudi relationship began to show themselves, says Gary Samore.
The Saudis resented the removal of Saddam Hussein, had long been unhappy about US policy on Israel, and were growing increasingly concerned about the Iranian nuclear program.
In the years that followed, diplomatic chatter about Saudi-Pakistani nuclear cooperation began to increase.
In 2007, the US mission in Riyadh noted they were being asked questions by Pakistani diplomats about US knowledge of “Saudi-Pakistani nuclear cooperation”.
The unnamed Pakistanis opined that “it is logical for the Saudis to step in as the physical ‘protector’” of the Arab world by seeking nuclear weapons, according to one of the State Department cables posted by Wikileaks.
Having warned the Americans in private for years, last year Saudi officials in Riyadh escalated it to a public warning, telling a journalist from the Times “it would be completely unacceptable to have Iran with a nuclear capability and not the kingdom”.
But were these statements bluster, aimed at forcing a stronger US line on Iran, or were they evidence of a deliberate, long-term plan for a Saudi bomb? Both, is the answer I have received from former key officials.
One senior Pakistani, speaking on background terms, confirmed the broad nature of the deal – probably unwritten – his country had reached with the kingdom and asked rhetorically “what did we think the Saudis were giving us all that money for? It wasn’t charity.”
Another, a one-time intelligence officer from the same country, said he believed “the Pakistanis certainly maintain a certain number of warheads on the basis that if the Saudis were to ask for them at any given time they would immediately be transferred.”
As for the seriousness of the Saudi threat to make good on the deal, Simon Henderson, Director of the Global Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told BBC Newsnight “the Saudis speak about Iran and nuclear matters very seriously. They don’t bluff on this issue.”
Talking to many serving and former officials about this over the past few months, the only real debate I have found is about how exactly the Saudi Arabians would redeem the bargain with Pakistan.
Some think it is a cash-and-carry deal for warheads, the first of those options sketched out by the Saudis back in 2003; others that it is the second, an arrangement under which Pakistani nuclear forces could be deployed in the kingdom.
Gary Samore, considering these questions at the centre of the US intelligence and policy web, at the White House until earlier this year, thinks that what he calls, “the Nato model”, is more likely.
However ,”I think just giving Saudi Arabia a handful of nuclear weapons would be a very provocative action”, says Gary Samore.
He adds: “I’ve always thought it was much more likely – the most likely option if Pakistan were to honour any agreement would be for be for Pakistan to send its own forces, its own troops armed with nuclear weapons and with delivery systems to be deployed in Saudi Arabia”.
This would give a big political advantage to Pakistan since it would allow them to deny that they had simply handed over the weapons, but implies a dual key system in which they would need to agree in order for ‘Saudi Arabian’ “nukes” to be launched.
Others I have spoken to think this is not credible, since Saudi Arabia, which regards itself as the leader of the broader Sunni Islamic ‘ummah’ or community, would want complete control of its nuclear deterrent, particularly at this time of worsening sectarian confrontation with Shia Iran.
And it is Israeli information – that Saudi Arabia is now ready to take delivery of finished warheads for its long-range missiles – that informs some recent US and Nato intelligence reporting. Israel of course shares Saudi Arabia’s motive in wanting to worry the US into containing Iran.
Amos Yadlin declined to be interviewed for our BBC Newsnight report, but told me by email that “unlike other potential regional threats, the Saudi one is very credible and imminent.”
Doing so allows the kingdom to deny there are any on its soil. It avoids challenging Iran to cross the nuclear threshold in response, and it insulates Pakistan from the international opprobrium of being seen to operate an atomic cash-and-carry.
These assumptions though may not be safe for much longer. The US diplomatic thaw with Iran has touched deep insecurities in Riyadh, which fears that any deal to constrain the Islamic republic’s nuclear program would be ineffective.
Earlier this month the Saudi intelligence chief and former ambassador to Washington Prince Bandar announced that the kingdom would be distancing itself more from the US.
While investigating this, I have heard rumours on the diplomatic grapevine, that Pakistan has recently actually delivered Shaheen mobile ballistic missiles to Saudi Arabia, minus warheads.
These reports, still unconfirmed, would suggest an ability to deploy nuclear weapons in the kingdom, and mount them on an effective, modern, missile system more quickly than some analysts had previously imagined.
In Egypt, Saudi Arabia showed itself ready to step in with large-scale backing following the military overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi’s government.
There is a message here for Pakistan, of Riyadh being ready to replace US military assistance or World Bank loans, if standing with Saudi Arabia causes a country to lose them.
Newsnight contacted both the Pakistani and Saudi governments. The Pakistan Foreign Ministry has described our story as “speculative, mischievous and baseless”.
It adds: “Pakistan is a responsible nuclear weapon state with robust command and control structures and comprehensive export controls.”
The Saudi embassy in London has also issued a statement pointing out that the Kingdom is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and has worked for a nuclear free Middle East.
But it also points out that the UN’s “failure to make the Middle East a nuclear free zone is one of the reasons the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia rejected the offer of a seat on the UN Security Council”.
It says the Saudi Foreign Minister has stressed that this lack of international action “has put the region under the threat of a time bomb that cannot easily be defused by manoeuvring around it”.
A commander of Moqtada al Sadr’s newly renamed “Peace Brigades” describes plans to reunify Iraq—with a little help from Iran. Will they fight ISIS as hard as they fought the U.S. Army?