The saudi government is already pursuing a nuclear

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Unformatted text preview: ion in the Muslim world. The Saudi government is already pursuing a nuclear power capability,which could be the first step along a slow road to nuclear weapons development. And concerns persist that it might be able to accelerate its progress by exploiting its close ties to Pakistan. During the 1980s, in response to the use of missiles during the Iran-Iraq War and their growing proliferation throughout the region,Saudi Arabia acquired several dozen css-2 intermediate-range ballistic missiles from China.The Pakistani government reportedly brokered the deal,and it may have also oªered to sell Saudi Arabia nuclear warheads for the css-2s, which are not accurate enough to deliver conventional warheads eªectively. There are still rumors that Riyadh and Islamabad have had discussions involving nuclear weapons, nuclear technology, or security guarantees. This “Islamabad option” could develop in one of several diªerent ways. Pakistan could sell operational nuclear weapons and delivery systems to Saudi Arabia, or it could provide the Saudis with the infrastructure, material, and technical support they need to produce nuclear weapons themselves within a matter of years,as opposed to a decade or longer.Not only has Pakistan provided such support in the past, but it is currently building two more heavy-water reactors for plutonium production and a second chemical reprocessing facility to extract plutonium from spent nuclear fuel. In other words, it might accumulate more fissile material than it needs to maintain even a substantially expanded arsenal of its own. Alternatively, Pakistan might offer an extended deterrent guarantee to Saudi Arabia and deploy nuclear weapons, delivery systems, and troops on Saudi territory,a practice that the United States has employed for decades with its allies. This arrangement could be particularly appealing to both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. It would allow the Saudis to argue that they are not violating the npt since they would not be acquiring their own nuclear weapons.And an extended deterrent from Pakistan might be preferable to one from the United States because stationing foreign Muslim forces on Saudi territory would not trigger the kind of popular opposition that would accompany the deployment of U.S.troops.Pakistan,for its part,would gain financial benefits and international clout by deploying nuclear weapons in Saudi Arabia, as well as strategic depth against its chief rival, India. The Islamabad option raises a host of di⁄cult issues, perhaps the most worrisome being how India would respond. Would it target Pakistan’s weapons in Saudi Arabia with its own conventional or nuclear weapons? How would this expanded nuclear competition influence stability during a crisis in either the Middle East or South Asia? Regardless of India’s reaction, any decision by the Saudi government to seek out nuclear weapons, by whatever means, would be highly destabilizing. It would increase the incentives of other nations in the Middle...
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This note was uploaded on 01/30/2013 for the course ECON 101 taught by Professor Burke during the Spring '13 term at Southern Arkansas University.

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