News Analysis |
Reuters has reported that U.S Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has given six secret authorizations of companies for setting up preliminary work in helping Saudi Arabia build nuclear reactors for energy purpose. Unlike the precedence where such authorizations were made public and anyone could have access to the documents pertaining the terms under which such sensitive matters are dealt with, anonymity, in this case, was requested by the companies as per the U.S government sources.
Saudi Arabia, in what has been the diversification process to lessen the reliance of oil-based economy and energy solution steered by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, is seeking to build nuclear energy reactors. Final contracts are expected to be given by the end of this year and along with the U.S, Russian and South Korean companies are also strong contenders to secure multi-billion-dollar deals.
Among Saudi Arabia and Iran, even if one goes on to sustainably test a nuke, then it would take no time for others to reach the same feat and threat spectrum would increase three folds.
The move has not ended up well with the U.S Congress since the top legislative body of the United States holds concerns over allowing Saudi Arabia access to nuclear technology, especially after the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi which as evidence point out was carried on the directive of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman himself.
Representative Brad Sherman, a Democrat, called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a congressional hearing on Wednesday to release the names of the companies that got the approvals by the middle of April, and Pompeo said he would look into it. Mike Pompeo also ensured the senator that transference of nuclear technology is only made for safe usage and it will not be a proliferation hazard.
Is Saudi Arabia Going to Make an A-bomb?
Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has clearly stated that if Iran goes for making the atom bomb, Saudi Arabia is going to reciprocate in the same way. Therefore, there is obviously no lack of will on the Saudi side and with the way Trump administration is handling the Iran issue right now, it would not be surprising if Iran decides to go down the same road once again.
It is no longer a quid-pro-quo scenario where Saudi Arabia is going to wait for the confirmation if it deems necessary that an atomic bomb is necessary for its national security, that Iran possesses the nuclear weapon.
Currently, among all the countries which have achieved the feat of harnessing the nuclear energy for destructive purpose, USA-North Korea and Pakistan-India, the latter being more plausible, are the real threats to the global peace and security. Among Saudi Arabia and Iran, even if one goes on to sustainably test a nuke, then it would take no time for others to reach the same feat and threat spectrum would increase three folds.
Russia, under Vladimir Putin, cares little for international laws and norms simultaneously becoming prone to economic sanctions making it an obvious choice for Saudi Arabia if it has a certain end result in consideration.
If there is a long-term plan of building a nuclear bomb in the mind of Saudi establishment, it would start to reflect from the decision as to whom Saudi Arabia will award the contract for building nuclear reactors at the end of this year.
Washington’s standards for sharing nuclear technology would make it hard to make a bomb clandestinely which is why Riyadh has occasionally pushed back against agreeing to it. Russia, under Vladimir Putin, cares little for international laws and norms simultaneously becoming prone to economic sanctions making it an obvious choice for Saudi Arabia if it has a certain end result in consideration.
It can have irreversible outcomes for South Asia and the Middle East, speaking from a strategic and security perspective. And such an adventure can exponentially increase the significance of Pakistan as well, which at this point of time is quite a dangerous prospect to consider.
For the greater interest of the entire world, no one should be allowed to pursue the goal of making weapons of mass destruction. The first step toward non-proliferation is to stop the new entrants into a league which has nothing to be proud of.