August 20, 2012

Saudi Nuclear Program Between Symbolism and Ambiguity


Saudi Arabia, the US and Pakistan united by interest in missiles that are nuclear capable.

Comments written Aug 20, 2012.

I suspect the Saudi's envisaged the Chinese (made CSS-2 and more current boosters such as the CSS-5 (DF-21)) would:

- be a preliminary move towards indicating Saudi Arabia can build a nuclear weapons system (obviously with continuing  extended deterrence from the US as backup .

- form an initial test weapons system to accustom senior Saudi rulers to the value of deterrence against Iran or a future(?) Shiite dominated Iraq. 

- form at least the boost portion of a missile system but nothing else? 

- even non-nuclear warheads might act as a limited deterrent. Other WMDs (particularly chemical) would be significant but not as effective as nuclear. Conventional warhead's, such as fuel-air, would also make an impression)

The Sino-Saudi Connection by Thomas Woodrow, ex DIA, provides some context.