Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Atoms For Peace

According to an article appearing in Le Figaro, the Saudi nuclear energy program, which was announced late last year, will depend heavily on Pakistani know-how. Even more alarming, given the Pakistanis' proliferation track record, is the close ties the article claims already exist between the Saudis and the Pakistani nuclear effort:

...Prince Khaled Ben Sultan, vice-Minister of Defense, who is in charge of this sensitive dossier in Riyad, was at the last Pakistani nuclear weapons test in October 2005. The Saudis are suspected of having financed Islamabad's nuclear and ballistic missile capacity, and some sources even claim that "the Saudi bomb is already waiting in Pakistan". Be that as it may, Riyad doesn't have any ballistic missiles with a long enough range (more than 1500 km.) to make use of any eventual nuclear warheads.

It was reassuring to see Joe Biden include Pakistan in the debate last night. But if this article is any indication, a stable Pakistan presents just as many problems as an unstable Pakistan.

The other question raised by the entire region's headlong rush towards nuclear energy is, If Iran's civil nuclear program is a transparent effort to build a nuclear bomb, is the same true of Saudi Arabia's? Egypt's? Libya's and Algeria's?

It would seem like some sort of regional non-proliferation regime would be warranted, something above and beyond the NPT that governs the rest of the world. Now would be a good time to start formulating just what that would look like. Because this genie is about to get out of the bottle.

Posted by Judah in:  The Middle East   

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