CNN: Saudi Arabia is building a ballistic missile program with Chinese help
Independent) .. According to a report published by the network "CNN" that the United States, Saudi Arabia, is building a program of ballistic missiles, its own, with Chinese help.
"Saudi Arabia has stepped up its work in the ballistic missile program in cooperation with China," the report quoted sources as saying.
He pointed out that "US intelligence has classified information indicating that Saudi Arabia has expanded the infrastructure of technology and ballistic missiles through deals with China."
The report pointed out that the US administration did not raise the issue; which may indicate "not to object to the Saudi move", especially in light of the strained relations with Iran, the competition of the Kingdom in the region.
A US State Department official declined to comment, saying only that "Saudi Arabia is a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has never sought to acquire nuclear weapons" .
In contrast, China said in a statement: "Saudi Arabia has strategic ties in various fields, including arms deals."
In January, the Washington Post published satellite images suggesting that Saudi Arabia may have built its first known ballistic missile factory.
If the suspected rocket-launching plant is operated in the Al Watiya area in southwest Riyadh, Saudi Arabia will be allowed to manufacture ballistic missiles, fueling fears of an arms race against its regional rival, Iran.
Saudi Arabia currently has no nuclear weapons, so any rockets produced at the factory are likely to be armed with conventional warheads, but the missile manufacturing facility is the first step and a crucial element of any possible Saudi nuclear program, which will give the kingdom The ability to produce better delivery systems for nuclear warheads.
"Saudi Arabia is unlikely to build long-range missiles and seek nuclear weapons," said Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear weapons expert at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies in Monterey, who discovered the plant with his team when analyzing satellite images of the region. But we may be underestimating its ambition and capabilities. "
Two additional missile experts, Michael Elman of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and Joseph Bermides of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, agreed that high-quality photographs of the Al-Watiyah area show what appears to be a facility for producing and testing rocket engines, possibly using solid fuel.
The complex, which the pictures suggest was created in 2013 when King Salman was defense minister, highlights the kingdom's intention to make its advanced missiles after years of sometimes seeking to buy them from abroad.
The presence of the facility is at an important juncture in Saudi foreign policy. The kingdom has taken a more aggressive approach to military power under its new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who has been defense minister since 2015. In an interview last year, "60 minutes" that Saudi Arabia would develop a nuclear bomb if Iran did so.
Saudi Arabia has been seeking a nuclear power deal with the United States that could include allowing it to produce nuclear fuel. The kingdom's insistence on domestic nuclear fuel production has raised concerns among US officials that the kingdom wants the atomic energy project not only for civilian use but also for Making secret weapons.
It is logical
Saudi Arabia's attempt to build a ballistic missile plant makes sense because of the competitors in its vicinity. The kingdom is facing armed Israel with an advanced program of missiles and nuclear weapons. Iran continues to improve its own capability to manufacture ballistic missiles. If Iran ceases to comply fully with the restrictions imposed, On the 2015 nuclear agreement, many analysts believe it could get nuclear warheads in less than a year.
The establishment of a ballistic missile manufacturing plant would allow Saudi Arabia to start matching some of the domestic missile-making capabilities developed by Iran over the years and use it to arm the Huthi rebels fighting Saudi-backed forces in Yemen, the Washington Post said.