An Unprecedented Alliance (Daniel 7:7)

By John Irish and Andrea Shalal | MUNICH
Saudi Arabia and Israel both called on Sunday for a new push against Iran, signaling a growing alignment in their interests, while U.S. lawmakers promised to seek new sanctions on the Shi’ite Muslim power.
Turkey also joined the de facto united front against Tehran as Saudi and Israeli ministers rejected an appeal from Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for Sunni Gulf Arab states to work with Tehran to reduce violence across the region.
While Saudi Arabia remains historically at odds with Israel, their ministers demanded at the Munich Security Conference that Tehran be punished for propping up the Syrian government, developing ballistic missiles and funding separatists in Yemen.
International sanctions on Iran were lifted a year ago under a nuclear deal with world powers, but Republican senators said at the conference they would press for new U.S. measures over the missiles issue and Tehran’s actions to “destabilize” the Middle East.
He sidestepped a question about Israel’s call for concerted action with Sunni Arab states amid growing speculation that the two countries could normalize relations and join forces to oppose Tehran, much as Turkey has done.
The six Arab members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), especially Saudi Arabia, accuse Iran of using sectarianism to interfere in Arab countries and build its own sphere of influence in the Middle East. Iran denies the accusations.
“Iran remains the single main sponsor of terrorism in the world,” Adel al-Jubeir told delegates at the conference. “It’s determined to upend the order in the Middle East … (and) until and unless Iran changes its behavior it would be very difficult to deal with a country like this.”
Al-Jubeir said Iran was propping up the government of President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war, funding the Houthi movement in Yemen and fomenting violence across the region.
The international community needed to set clear “red lines” to halt Iran’s actions, he said, calling for banking, travel and trade restrictions aimed at changing Tehran’s behavior.
“The real division is not Jews, Muslims … but moderate people versus radical people,” Lieberman told delegates.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also criticized what he called an Iranian “sectarian policy” aimed at undermining Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
“Turkey is very much against any kind of division, religious or sectarian,” he said. “It’s good that we are now normalizing our relations with Israel.”
Zarif opened Sunday’s session with the call for dialogue to address “anxieties” in the region. This followed a visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Oman and Kuwait last week to try to improve ties, his first visit to the Gulf states since taking power in 2013.
Asked if Iran’s envisioned regional dialogue could include Israel, Zarif said Tehran was looking at a more “modest” approach. “I’m focusing on the Persian Gulf. We have enough problems in this region so we want to start a dialogue with countries we call brothers in Islam,” he said.
Zarif dismissed any suggestions his country would ever seek to develop nuclear weapons. When asked about the new U.S. administration’s tough rhetoric on Iran’s role in the region and calls to review the nuclear deal, he said Tehran did not respond well to threats or sanctions.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said he and other senators were preparing legislation to further sanction Iran for violating U.N. Security Council resolutions with its missile development program and other actions.
Senator Christopher Murphy, a Democrat and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Washington needed to decide whether to take a broader role in the regional conflict.
“We have to make a decision whether we are going to get involved in the emerging proxy war in a bigger way than we are today, between Iran and Saudi Arabia,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by David Stamp)

Nuclear Winter Is Unavoidable (Revelation 8:10)

10:47 09.12.2014(updated 11:37 09.12.2014)
VIENNA, December 9 (Sputnik), Daria Chernyshova — In the event if a nuclear war breaks out in one region of the Earth, the entire planet would suffer grave consequences, characterized by falling temperatures, less precipitation and reduced sunlight, Mike Mills, a scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, told Sputnik Tuesday.
“Even if the nuclear war happened in one part of the planet – India and Pakistan – the whole globe would be affected by the temperatures dropping, precipitating dropping, sunlight dropping and also the amount of harmful ultra-violet would increase, because of the ozone layer,” Mills said on the sidelines of the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.He described a scenario where after an initial explosion cities would be engulfed by giant firestorms, like those seen during World War II – in Tokyo and Hiroshima.
Heat from the sun would encourage smoke from the fires to rise up into the stratosphere, where the ozone layer is. Since weather features like rain do not occur this high up in the atmosphere, the smoke could not be simply washed away by rain, like it would lower down. Thus it could remain in the stratosphere for years, absorbing sunlight, preventing it from reaching the surface of the Earth. As a result, temperatures at the surface would drop and precipitation patterns would be affected. This in turn would have an impact on agriculture and ecosystems, leading to reductions in crop production, which in turn could give rise to a global famine.
Mills pointed out that as long as countries possess nuclear weapons, it is not a question if they will be used, but when.
“You know that governments change, and relations between countries can change; and as long as we possess the ability to annihilate each other and pose this catastrophic risk to the survival of our species and others on the planet, if we gave as long enough time, they would be used, eventually. Right now there is an increasing number of countries with nuclear weapons and that increases the risk of conflict between different nuclear armed states exponentially,” Mills told Sputnik urging to reverse that.
He stressed that nuclear powers are not doing enough to eliminate nuclear weapons. For instance, the new START treaty signed in 2010 between the United States and Russia, did not consider the climatic consequences of nuclear war. Mills pointed out the need to raise awareness about the risks of a nuclear winter, as in his view, greater awareness would put more pressure on governments to push for disarmament.“You really can’t ignore the impact on humanity of that kind of a war, and if someone were to say – well, we don’t care what happens to human beings after nuclear war, we have to question that kind of leadership whether it is coming from the military or diplomats,” Mills said adding that the well-being of society should be at the forefront of international leaders’ minds.
The Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons is taking place on December 8-9 in Hofburg Palace in the Austrian capital. Its aim is to promote nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. According to the conference’s organization committee,over 16,000 nuclear warheads still exist, many of which are on “high alert”.

India Points to the Real Issue with Pakistan (Daniel 8)

 
India Rejects Pakistan Peace Plan, Calls for Revival of Terrorism Talks
By DAVID BRUNNSTROM / REUTERS | October 2, 2015

WASHINGTON — India on Thursday rejected a four-point peace plan for Kashmir proposed by Pakistan but said talks among officials of both countries on terrorism that collapsed in August should be revived.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced his proposal at the annual United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, saying the two nuclear-armed countries should formalize a cease-fire in Kashmir and take steps to demilitarize the divided region.

India issued a swift rebuttal, accusing Pakistan of claiming to be the primary victim of terrorism while “in truth, it is actually a victim of its own policy of breeding and sponsoring terrorists.”
On Thursday, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj told the General Assembly that India remained open to dialogue, “but talks and terror cannot go together.”

“We don’t need four points, we need just one: Give up terrorism and let us sit down and talk,” she said.

Swaraj said the talks between national security advisers on all issues related to terrorism should be held, as well as an early meeting of senior military officials to address the situation on the border.
“If the response is serious and credible, India is prepared to address all outstanding issues through a bilateral dialogue,” she said.

Planned talks between national security advisers from India and Pakistan were canceled in August hours before they were due to start, dashing hopes the two might tackle the violence that many fear could one day spark a nuclear showdown.

In the talks, India had wanted only to discuss terrorism-related issues. Pakistan sought a wider agenda, including the status of Kashmir.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since becoming independent countries in 1947, two of them over the Himalayan region of Kashmir, which both claim in full but rule in part.

Sharif, elected in 2013, promised to improve relations with India. But since then domestic troubles have forced him to cede more control over foreign and security policy to Pakistan’s more hawkish military.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken a hard line with Pakistan, insisting he is unwilling to discuss other issues unless Pakistan admits its role in terror attacks in India.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs made it clear that Sharif’s proposal was a non-starter. “To de-militarize Kashmir is not the answer,” ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said in a tweet. “To de-terrorize Pakistan is.”

India Points to the Real Issue with Pakistan (Daniel 8)

 
India Rejects Pakistan Peace Plan, Calls for Revival of Terrorism Talks

By DAVID BRUNNSTROM / REUTERS | October 2, 2015

WASHINGTON — India on Thursday rejected a four-point peace plan for Kashmir proposed by Pakistan but said talks among officials of both countries on terrorism that collapsed in August should be revived.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced his proposal at the annual United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, saying the two nuclear-armed countries should formalize a cease-fire in Kashmir and take steps to demilitarize the divided region.

India issued a swift rebuttal, accusing Pakistan of claiming to be the primary victim of terrorism while “in truth, it is actually a victim of its own policy of breeding and sponsoring terrorists.”
On Thursday, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj told the General Assembly that India remained open to dialogue, “but talks and terror cannot go together.”

“We don’t need four points, we need just one: Give up terrorism and let us sit down and talk,” she said.

Swaraj said the talks between national security advisers on all issues related to terrorism should be held, as well as an early meeting of senior military officials to address the situation on the border.
“If the response is serious and credible, India is prepared to address all outstanding issues through a bilateral dialogue,” she said.

Planned talks between national security advisers from India and Pakistan were canceled in August hours before they were due to start, dashing hopes the two might tackle the violence that many fear could one day spark a nuclear showdown.

In the talks, India had wanted only to discuss terrorism-related issues. Pakistan sought a wider agenda, including the status of Kashmir.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since becoming independent countries in 1947, two of them over the Himalayan region of Kashmir, which both claim in full but rule in part.

Sharif, elected in 2013, promised to improve relations with India. But since then domestic troubles have forced him to cede more control over foreign and security policy to Pakistan’s more hawkish military.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken a hard line with Pakistan, insisting he is unwilling to discuss other issues unless Pakistan admits its role in terror attacks in India.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs made it clear that Sharif’s proposal was a non-starter. “To de-militarize Kashmir is not the answer,” ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said in a tweet. “To de-terrorize Pakistan is.”

Babylon makes secret deal with the devil (Ezekiel 17)

 

President Obama approved Iran’s nuclear plan in secret 2011 talks, Khamenei bares

Monica Cantilero
13 August 2015

US President Barack Obama made contact with Iranian officials and even gave his approval for Iran to begin a nuclear programme in 2011 during covert talks with Iranian officials, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei revealed in a recent speech.

The comments made by Iran’s Supreme Leader contradicted those of the Obama administration, which claimed that it only started talking to Iranian officials after the current president, Hassan Rouhani, was elected to his post in August 2013, Fox News wrote.

In his speech, Khamenei disclosed that talks between the US and Iran began during the term of the anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadenejad, Rouhani’s predecessor.
It was at this time that Obama allegedly endorsed Iran’s right to have a nuclear programme.
“The issue of negotiating with the Americans is related to the term of the previous [Ahmadinejad] government, and to the dispatching of a mediator to Tehran to request talks,” said Khamenei in his speech, as translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

“At the time, a respected regional figure came to me as a mediator and explicitly said that US President [Obama] had asked him to come to Tehran and present an American request for negotiations,” Khamenei revealed.

“The Americans told this mediator: ‘We want to solve the nuclear issue and lift sanctions within six months, while recognising Iran as a nuclear power.’”

“I told that mediator that I did not trust the Americans and their words, but after he insisted, I agreed to re-examine this topic, and negotiations began,” Khamenei continued.

According to a senior Iranian official, Hossein Sheikh Al-Islam, US Secretary of State John Kerry sent a letter to Iran saying that the US “recognises Iran’s rights regarding” nuclear enrichment, The Washington Free Beacon wrote.

“We came to the [secret] negotiations [with the United States] after Kerry wrote a letter and sent it to us via [mediator Omani Sultan Qaboos], stating that America officially recognises Iran’s rights regarding the [nuclear fuel] enrichment cycle,” Al-Islam said, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute.

“Then there were two meetings in Oman between the [Iranian and US] deputy foreign ministers, and after those, Sultan Qaboos was dispatched by Obama to Khamenei with Kerry’s letter,” Al-Islam said.

Israel Cyberattacks Iran (Ezekiel 17)

 

Spy Virus Linked to Israel Targeted Hotels Used for Iran Nuclear Talks

Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab finds three hotels that hosted Iran talks were targeted by a virus believed used by Israeli spies

By ADAM ENTOUS and DANNY YADRON
Updated June 10, 2015 7:50 p.m. ET

When a cybersecurity firm discovered it had been hacked last year by a virus widely believed to be used by Israeli spies, it wanted to know who else was on the hit list.

The Moscow-based firm, Kaspersky Lab ZAO, checked millions of computers world-wide and three luxury European hotels popped up. The other hotels tested—thousands in all—were clean.

Researchers at the firm weren’t sure what to make of the results. Then they realized what the three hotels had in common.

Each was infiltrated by the virus before hosting high-stakes negotiations between Iran and world powers over curtailing Tehran’s nuclear program.

The spyware, the firm has now concluded, was an improved version of Duqu, a virus first identified by cybersecurity experts in 2011, according to a Kaspersky report and outside security experts. Current and former U.S. officials and many cybersecurity experts say they believe Duqu was designed to carry out Israel’s most sensitive intelligence collection.

The Saudis Will Go Nuclear (Dan 7)

  

The Saudis are ready to go nuclear

By Con Coughlin
6:00AM BST 08 Jun 2015

The kingdom’s ambassador to London tells the Telegraph that ‘all options are on the table’ if talks fail to keep Iran in check

Since its creation 85 years ago, Saudi Arabia has acquired a reputation as a country that tries to avoid confrontation with its neighbours at all costs. During the long war between Iran and Iraq during the 1980s the Saudis desperately sought to preserve their neutrality, even if Riyadh’s sympathies lay with its fellow Sunni co-religionists in Iraq rather than the Shi’ite Muslim hardliners running Iran.
Similarly, Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the two Gulf wars against Saddam Hussein was kept to a minimum. Saudi warplanes made a modest contribution to the overall air campaign during the 1991 liberation of Kuwait, while Riyadh steadfastly refused to involve itself in the 2003 Iraq war. In other conflicts affecting the region, such as the Palestinian intifada, the Saudis have preferred to channel their immense oil wealth in support of Arab allies rather than become directly involved in the strife.
But then this year came Saudi Arabia’s dramatic military intervention in neighbouring Yemen. Saudi warplanes and troops are now involved in a bitter conflict with Iranian-backed rebels from the Houthi religious movement in Yemen. And Saudi Arabia has been confirmed as one of the region’s dominant military powers.

In the past two years, it has beaten Britain into fourth place in the world’s military spending league with a defence budget of around £37 billion (compared with the UK at around £34 billion). The military offensive in Yemen has seen Saudi Arabia deploy an estimated 150,000 troops – nearly twice the size of the British Army – while Saudi fighter jets, many of them British-made, have flown thousands of sorties.

Now the Saudis have raised the alarming prospect of the Middle East becoming embroiled in a nuclear arms race after the country’s blunt warning that “all options are on the table” if Iran fails to resolve the international stand-off over its nuclear programme.

Prince Mohammed bin Nawwaf bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s long-serving ambassador to London, says that for many years the kingdom upheld the policy established by the late King Fahd that Riyadh would not pursue a policy of developing nuclear weapons. “Then it became known that Iran was pursuing a policy that could be shifted to a weapons-of-mass-destruction programme,” Prince Mohammed explained in an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph. “This has changed the whole outlook in the region.”

Like many in the Arab world and beyond, the Saudis are hoping the current negotiations with Iran on the nuclear issue, being led by US President Barack Obama, will provide assurances that Tehran does not possess the means to build an atom bomb.

“We have always expressed our support for resolving the Iranian nuclear file in a diplomatic way and through negotiation,” said Prince Mohammed. “We commend the American president’s effort in this regard, provided that any deal reached is watertight and is not the kind of deal that offers Iran a licence to continue its destabilising foreign policies in the region. The proof is in the pudding.”
Negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 – the US, the UK, France, China and Russia (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council) and Germany – are due to be concluded by the end of this month. Negotiators are pressing Tehran to freeze key elements of its uranium-enrichment cycle – which can be used to produce nuclear warheads – in return for easing the sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.

Despite attempts lasting more than a decade to resolve the issue, Iran has yet to make any significant concessions on its nuclear programme. The New York Times reported last week that Tehran’s stockpile of nuclear fuel had increased by 20 per cent in the past 18 months. That would make a nonsense of the Obama administration’s contention that Iran had frozen its enrichment operations for the duration of the negotiations. Consequently, there are fears in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states that Mr Obama is more interested in reaching an accommodation with reformists in Iran than in standing by America’s traditional allies in the Arab world.

Prince Mohammed, who is a senior member of the Saudi ruling family, insists the negotiations must produce serious commitments from Iran not to produce nuclear weapons. “We hope we receive the assurances that guarantee Iran will not pursue this kind of weapon,” he said. “But if this does not happen, then all options will be on the table for Saudi Arabia.

Iran’s nuclear programme poses a direct threat to the entire region and constitutes a major source and incentive for nuclear proliferation across the Middle East, including Israel.”

Western intelligence agencies believe that the Saudi monarchy paid for up to 60 per cent of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, in return for the ability to buy warheads for itself at short notice. Any failure by Iran to provide the necessary safeguards by the end of this month could see Riyadh activate that deal, thereby enabling Saudi Arabia to become the Arab world’s first nuclear power. And if that were to happen, then many other regional powers, such as Egypt and Turkey, would also attempt to follow suit – a nuclear arms race in the world’s most unstable region.

Prince Mohammed’s comments should serve as a warning to Mr Obama as he briefs other G7 leaders on the Iran talks at this week’s summit in Germany.

From Saudi Arabia’s perspective, though, Prince Mohammed believes Riyadh has every right to be alarmed at the prospect of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, particularly in the light of its involvement in supporting the Houthis to overthrow Yemen’s government. “The Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, set about taking over Sanaa and then attempting to takeover Aden,” he said. “The reason air strikes became necessary was to reverse that advance and keep the road open for a political solution.
“All the evidence supports the fact that Iran is using the Houthis as warring agents for them to transform Yemen into a springboard for the delusional hegemonic designs in the Arab world.”
He played down suggestions that, equipped with its new military might, his country had its own plans for regional domination. “Saudi Arabia does not have the same ambitions for the region as others do,” he said in a reference to Iran. “All we care for is the preservation of our stability and security, and that of the Arab and Muslim worlds.”

The ambassador also expressed his concern about suggestions that Britain was playing a less prominent role in world affairs. Last week Ashton Carter, the US defence secretary, warned against what he called Britain’s “disengagement” from world affairs in the wake of the recent defence cuts.
Prince Mohammed warned that this could have negative repercussions, particularly in the Middle East. “The perception that Britain is withdrawing from the international stage could have a negative impact,” he said. “Britain has played a historical role in the region due to its colonial past. It knows the Arab world very well and it can still have a pivotal positive role. To see a country like Britain no longer playing a central role in the region will have ramifications that are not positive.”

The Nuclear House of Saud (Dan 7:7)

  

Nuclear Saudi Arabia: Rising ambitions of the House of Saud

Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen.

Get short URL Published time: May 29, 2015 10:51

Saudi Arabia’s seemingly ever-expanding ambitions threaten now to draw the region and the world
closer to the edge of a dangerous precipice as it seeks to buy out Pakistan’s nuclear power.

Just as Iran and the P5+1 are set to finalize a tentative nuclear deal by June’s end, offering the world a much-needed respite from talks of war and aggravated political tensions, Saudi Arabia is stretching its nuclear ambitions.

The most violent, reactionary and arguably most oppressive regime, in not just the region but the world, is now has ambitions to rise to a nuclear power. It is actually much worse than that – the very state which interpretation of Islam, Wahhabism, has inspired an entire generation of radical wannabe jihadists is vying for access to nuclear weapons.

If Iran’s alleged nuclear race was mainly the expression of western political posturing – even Mossad agreed that both Washington’s and Tel Aviv’s concerns have been largely over-hyped and over-played – Riyadh’s ambition is no laughing matter, especially when the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) leadership boasted a similar desire.

Although the kingdom has yet to officially verbalize its nuclear intentions, enough breadcrumbs have been left in the media to spell the writing on the wall. In true PR fashion, Saudi Arabia has planted a sufficient amount of stories on its “covert” nuclear program and military aspirations in the press to prove how serious its officials are about conditioning public opinion and driving the narrative.

The main axis of Riyadh’s campaign has been and will be to justify going nuclear on the basis that Iran stands a regional threat – however unfounded and ludicrous this logic may be, wars have been fought over less sophisticated allegations. We’re still looking for those weapons of mass destruction.

Beyond this clever media stunt, one truth remains – unless stopped Saudi Arabia will become the next world nuclear power, joining Israel (believed to possess nukes) in this potentially-apocalyptic arm race.

Rumors of a forthcoming Saudi nuclear race first surfaced in November 2013 in a report by Mark Urban for the BBC. The article read, “Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistani nuclear weapons projects, and believes it could obtain atomic bombs at will, a variety of sources have told BBC Newsnight.”

If developing a nuclear arsenal remains a complicated and time consuming endeavor, notwithstanding the technological prowess that entails, leeching on another power’s capability – Pakistan in this case – could prove as simple as wiring money to an offshore account. What Saudi Arabia lacks, it will buy. There is literally nothing Al-Saud’s petrodollars cannot acquire: from political support to moral blank checks, the kingdom moves immune to all criticism and legal hindrance, cloaked under America’s exceptionalism.

After Western powers took so much pain in demonizing Iran and its leadership, painting the Islamic Republic as a devilish warmonger, a destroyer of world which only seeks to indoctrinate the Middle East, how will Washington and Europe’s capitals react to a nuclear Riyadh? They simply won’t!

Unlike Iran, Saudi Arabia remains a useful and ever so rich western ally, and therefore it will be allowed the means of its ambitions. Whatever rumors and reports are circulating today have long been known to the intelligence community. The US actually anticipated Riyadh’s move long before Iran’s own program became such a contentious matter.

For almost a decade now, the Saudis have more and more openly staked their claim, pushing their pawns across the chess game without bothering to cover their tracks.

In 2007, the US mission in Riyadh noted they were being asked questions by Pakistani diplomats about US knowledge of “Saudi-Pakistani nuclear cooperation.”  By 2012, Saudi officials went to the Times warning, “it would be completely unacceptable to have Iran with a nuclear capability and not the kingdom.”

From that point on, Riyadh has worked toward that goal, using Iran as both an excuse and an alibi.

Reportedly, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi defense minister and deputy crown prince, is currently visiting Pakistan to iron out the details of this covert nuclear deal. In hindsight, Yemen’s war proves a perfect and all too suspiciously timely distraction.

And though a Saudi Defense Ministry official dismissed in comments to CNN on May 19 that the kingdom intends to purchase Pakistan A-bombs, experts like Stephen Lendman, a veteran political analyst and acclaimed author are not biting.

Looking at developments in the region, Saudi Arabia’s nuclear aspirations are not a figment of the imagination, but rather an affirmation of the kingdom’s new hawkish stance vis a vis foreign policy. Unlike his predecessor, King Abdullah ibn Saud, King Salman ibn Saud is no longer waiting for Washington to call the shots – it is drawing its ally in.

If the last ‘missed’ meeting at Camp David is anything to go by, it appears rather evident that Salman’s snub was more than just a political play; it could prelude deeper ideological divergences, especially where foreign policy is concerned. Syria remains a sour point the kingdom has yet to get over.

Where it could not intervene militarily as it wished against Syrian President Bashar Assad, Saudi Arabia might seek to compensate vis a vis Iran by acquiring the weapon of all weapons.

In any case and whatever rationale Riyadh is following, a nuclear arm race in the Middle East can only end in more bloodshed and violence, especially when the IS army is planning its second expansionist wave.

Suspicious minds would even argue that Saudi Arabia’s nuclear timing oddly overlaps with IS’ allegations that it’s now “infinitely” closer to buying a nuclear weapon. In an article titled ‘The Perfect Storm’, in the latest issue of ISIS’ monthly English propaganda magazine, Dabiq, the terror group presents the idea that IS could purchase nuclear weapons from corrupt Pakistani officials, by way of militants in Islamic State’s affiliated Pakistani militia group.

Saudi Arabia Nukes: Not If, But When (Dan 7)


Addressing the Saudi Nuclear Option

May 26, 2015
By Brett Daniel Shehadey
Special Correspondent for In Homeland Security

As if the stakes weren’t high enough in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia put out a feeler in the media regarding its desire to obtain nuclear weapons from Pakistan. This is in response of Iran’s long ambitions for nuclear weapons, the P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran and Saudi Arabia’s deep-rooted discontent and distrust of both the talks and Iranian sincerity of stalling or abandoning those efforts.
From the Saudi perspective, Tehran is building a nuclear weapon in a secret facility that is not and will not be on the map for inspections. They are also using the talks to lift the sanctions. Lastly, they are wreaking havoc in the Middle East and to Riyadh, Iran is worse than ISIS.

Since 2009, the Saudis have in various ways warned that if Iran crosses the line, they had access to nuclear missiles through a variety of sources. Importantly, Saudi Arabia has its own red-line threshold for Iran’s nuclear ambitions. At the time, these often off-the-wall comments were good enough for them to warn Tehran and later discourage them that should the P5+1 talks fail or the Iranians employ a strategy of deceit and duplicity, the Saudis will instantly have nuclear weapons from their ally Pakistan.

A number of changes have precipitated in raising the stakes: First, the death of King Abdullah. The new monarch, King Salman, has shown himself to be far more assertive in the region and feels estranged from the West. He saw a more passive Abdullah fail to elicit a firm commitment from the Americans in Syria and on the nuclear issue. With Syria, the Saudis were in position and ready to strike but Washington backed down and accepted a largely successful chemical weapons ban by leaving Assad in power. Iran also got another ingredient that it wanted through prolonged nuclear talks with world leaders (the U.S., the UK, Russia, France, China and Germany). Here, Iran ingratiated itself nicely with the West and is currently seeking to remove economic sanctions by June. To the Saudis it is all just the perfect ploy.

The second major event could be the block of stalemate in Syria, which helps Iran. Assad is still in power and ISIS is thriving with its transnational terrorist enterprise. The stalemate follows major setbacks in Iraq as well, with ISIS gains taking Mosul, Tikrit and Ramadi. Although Tikrit was recently taken back, there is now greater Iranian activity through militias and the politics of both countries. Most importantly, the Saudis have overexaggerated the role of Tehran in the Yemeni civil war and underestimated the workings of the former longtime dictator and ally of Saddam Hussein—President Ali Abdullah Saleh—also the man who engineered the Yemeni democracy protests and then slaughtered hundreds of them.

Saleh was eventually forced to relinquish power to his Vice President at the pressure and behest of the Saudis, his people and other international players. The Houthi takeover was a shock in that it went from protest to coup but the Saudi-backed government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi was weakened by a loss of the strongman, continuous war on two fronts between Shia Houthi and al-Qaida in the South, a poor economy, rampant abuse, corruption and ethno-religious discrimination. The Saudis want to reinstall Hadi, the right-hand man of the butcher, President Saleh. So it is no great wonder the Houthis wanted him out too and placed him under house arrest; however the Houthis have proven to be worse for stability and are tearing the country apart with the help of Saudi-led air raids.

The third major break for Riyadh was the feeling of necessity and last resort to strategically steer the Middle East military coalition away from U.S. leadership. GCC Sunni states began testing the waters for airstrikes of their own even before Yemen’s government fell. Close Saudi Arabian partner, the United Arab Emirates conducted covert airstrikes with Egypt in Libya last August, attacking the violent extremists there. But the Sunni military coalition came to its peak in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia led 11 Sunni majority states in heavy and sustained airstrikes in Yemen since late March of this year. This was just after the U.S. had disengaged itself diplomatically from Sana’a, through anther exodus following its embassy in Libya. The U.S. did not offer or participate in the attacks and gave the impression that it was caught unaware; deciding instead to supply the Saudis with intelligence.

Across the map, Riyadh is redirecting its efforts from ISIS to Iran. For Iraq, the U.S. supplied and trained national army is cutting and running from the enemy and crumbling before the world’s eye. In its place is more control from Iran and more Iranian backed militias. For Syria, Iran still holds sway. The Saudis have sided with Turkey in order to remove President Bashar al Assad from power.
Riyadh is no longer waiting for Washington but is willing to draw its ‘partner’ into the messy fog of regionwide political instability. The meeting that should have seen two heads of state, the King and the president, together, has been a blatant rebuke to the White House from Riyadh; without love. They plan to send the heir to the throne and defense minister to the president’s summit. The U.S.-Sunni alliance has fallen beyond repair.

Anything that Riyadh demands now, especially in their current state of mind, would not be in the interest of the U.S. This does not mean need to entail a future relationship of abandonment but caution and constraint; especially in their present military operations; such as cluster bombing. Washington still has a deal to close with Iran on nuclear weapons that will, in spite of assurances by the president mid-May that the U.S. would use force to defend Saudi Arabia if attacked, derail any Saudi perceptions of trustworthiness and commitment. As the Sunni states distant themselves from the West, Iran edges closer, diplomatically.

As far as nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, the U.S. must partner with the U.N. and demand a nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East. They must act as a superpower as well as a dominion of international powers and develop a hasty trust with Saudi Arabia and Iran. The U.N. is holding talks May 28 in regard to Yemen but the date could not get here soon enough and the U.S. and its allies have a lot of work to do to get the Saudis and Iranians to the table before then.

Shadowing the Iranian cargo ship with military escorts using the Iwo Jima is a responsible precaution but U.S. defense officials have warned that the Iranians could have humanitarian supplies or international observers aboard, waiting to pin an attempted search and seizure or confrontation at sea unnecessarily. On the other hand, this could also be a weapons resupply. The U.S. has encouraged Iran to port humanitarian supplies at the U.N. station in Djibouti. Iran has given mixed signals, first stating publically that they intend to port in Yemen ignoring and bypassing the U.N. and then through their state run news deciding to go to Djibouti. Either way, it is a bad development for the U.S. more than the Saudi-coalition, who are already involved directly in the conflict.

Best Political Options for the U.S.: Stay out of it militarily.

Immediately demand, press and hold talks in the U.N. between the Sunni GCC states and Iran to diplomatically rebalance over the crisis in Yemen and what is presently seeing a military/paramilitary rebalancing between states and proxies in regional cold war context.

The U.S. must kick-start an international diplomatic effort with key global players. Getting at them at the table will be the hard part. Once there, both states should hash out a formal truce with terms that outline and discourage negative and hostile actions or at the very least table the nuclear cross talk.
Washington must demand that neither Iran nor Saudi Arabia pursue nuclear weapon development or procurement programs with the backing of the international community.

Other states need to speak out but these two regional players need Russia, China and Europe on their backs diplomatically too as well as the other Middle Eastern states involved.

Note: The opinions and comments stated in the preceding article, and views expressed by any contributor to In Homeland Security, do not represent the views of American Military University, American Public University System, its management or employees.

Saudis Ready To Go Nuclear Now (Dan 7)

  
US officials: ‘Saudis set to buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan’

By Yasmin Kaye
May 17, 2015 16:49 BST
Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia(Reuters)

Saudi Arabia is said to have taken the “strategic decision” to acquire “off-the-shelf” nuclear weapons from ally Pakistan, senior US officials told the Sunday Times.

Sunni Arab states are increasingly concerned of the repercussions of a deal currently being negotiated between world powers and Shi’ite rival Iran, which they fear may still be able to develop a nuclear bomb.

The deal being negotiated between Iran and the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany would see the Shi’ite nation curb its sensitive nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

For the Saudis the moment has come,” a former US defence official told the Sunday Times last week.

“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.”

‘This stuff is available to them off the shelf’

Another US official working in intelligence told the paper that “hundreds of people at [CIA headquarters] Langley” were working to establish whether Islamabad had already supplied the Gulf nation with nuclear technology or weaponry.

“We know this stuff is available to them off the shelf,” the intelligence official said, adding that it “has to be the assumption” that the Saudis have decided to become a nuclear power.

We can’t sit back and be nowhere as Iran is allowed to retain much of its capability and amass its research,” an Arab leader preparing to meet Obama told the New York Times on Monday (11 May).

The sentiment was shared by former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki bin Faisal, who told a recent conference in South Korea: “whatever the Iranians have, we will have, too.”

The right to enrich uranium

If inked the deal will leave 5,000 centrifuges and a research and development programme in place — features that are highly contested by Israel and Arab states.

By allowing Iran to retain the right to enrich uranium, the deal may inadvertently increase nuclear proliferation in the region, by providing justification for other Middle Eastern countries to match Iran.

Saudi Arabia has financed substantial amounts of Islamabad’s nuclear programme over the past three decades, providing Pakistan’s government with billions of dollars of subsidised oil while taking delivery of Shaheen mobile ballistic missiles.

“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,” former Foreign Secretary Lord David Owen told the Sunday Times.

A senior British military officer also told the paper that Western military leaders “all assume the Saudis have made the decision to go nuclear.”

“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.”

Lt.Gen. Khalid Kidwai, who helped develop Pakistan’s nuclear program, denied Islamabad had ever sent nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia or any other country in recent comments.