Saudis have Pak commitment of nuclear bomb: US expert

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 - 12:01

Washington: Given the rapid increase of Pakistan`s nuclear arsenal, a former CIA analyst suspects the country has a commitment to provide a nuclear bomb to Saudi Arabia.

"One of the great unknowns is whether they (Saudi Arabia) have already got a deal with the Pakistanis for a bomb. That`s one of the mysteries of the contemporary Middle East and South Asia," said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst who is currently with the Brookings Institute, an eminent American think-tank.

"Why does Pakistan have the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world? Why are they producing more bombs than the Indians by double or triple? Is there some external partner who they have a commitment to?" he asked at a panel discussion on Obama administration`s foreign policy organised by the Brookings Institute.
"On this issue there`s a lot of smoke, there`s very little fire that anyone has seen, but if you ask my bottom line I think there probably have been discussions between the Saudi and the Pakistanis, and the Saudis have a Pakistani commitment to provide a bomb and you can take a Pakistani commitment to provide a bomb to the bank and cash it for probably nothing," Riedel said.

Riedel said Saudi Arabia is deeply disappointed with US President Barack Obama.

"In the beginning, they were very optimistic like everyone else about Obama in the beginning. Riyadh is actually the first Arab country that President Obama went to even before his speech in Cairo. But the Saudis have become very disillusioned.

They`ve demonstrated that disillusionment this year in a number of ways," he noted.
Saudi Arabia, he said, recently refused to take their seat in the UN Security Council.

"They argued that that was somehow a spite to the United States. I`m not sure most Americans feel that way. But that was the Saudi argument. They promised to give the government of Lebanon USD 3 billion worth of arms and to buy them from the French. That is also somehow supposed to be a spite to the United States that we won`t get the arms from the United States," he said.

Though the media is filled with Saudi anger and disappointment for the United States, he said, but at the end of the day the US-Saudi relationship is not broken.

"This is our oldest alliance in the Middle East that dates back to 1945. It continues to function in many ways despite the public irritation," he said.

PTI

First Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 - 12:01

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