Fartashphoto's Blog

Nuclear Race Has Begun in Middle East

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on July 22, 2010

Oil powers Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have joined the race to gain nuclear energy, but in sharp contrast to nearby Iran, their ambitions are unlikely to worry the West.

Sanctions are piling up against Opec member Iran as the international community seeks to force it to contain its nuclear activities. On Monday, the European Union is expected to adopt the latest set of measures.

No-one disputes that Iran, in common with its fellow Middle Eastern oil producers, has an urgent need for more sources of power generation to prevent it burning fuel oil to meet surging domestic energy demand.

“We have no concern with these countries (Saudi, the UAE) developing conventional nuclear power,” Luis Echavarri, director general of the Paris-based Nuclear Energy Agency, told Reuters.

Analysts refer to the “Abu Dhabi model”, under which the emirate is building nuclear plants but has committed not to enrich uranium itself and not to reprocess spent fuel.

Saudi Arabia has also signed a nuclear co-operation deal in 2008 with the United States, although it might not be quite as willing as the United Arab Emirates to forfeit the right to enrich its uranium reserves.

“For Saudi Arabia, the enrichment process is a strategic option,” said Nicole Stracke of the Gulf Research Center.

If Iran were to develop the bomb, the fear is that countries like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt would also press ahead with their nuclear capabilities, further destabilizing the region. This is exactly what’s happening now.

An Iranian allegation that Saudi Arabia is allowing Israel to use its territory in preparation for attacking Iran nuclear sites has stirred a flurry of reports in the Israeli media.

The allegation could not be independently confirmed, and the Saudis deny cooperating with the Israeli military.

The reports said the Israeli base is about five miles from Tabuk in northwest Saudi Arabia.

The Islam Times said Israeli airplanes landed at an international airport and Israeli soldiers unloaded military equipment on June 18 and 19.

The claim follows a report two weeks ago in the London Times Magazine that Saudi Arabia had given Israel permission to fly through a narrow corridor of airspace in northern Saudi Arabia to shorten the flight time Israeli jets need to reach Iran.

Saudi Arabia is one of the countries whose links with Khan cause concern, not least because of the long relationship between the Kingdom and Pakistan’s Nuclear Program.

Khan himself also visited Saudi Arabia a number of times, including in November 1999 and September 2000. On the second trip, he pressed his gratitude saying that it was ”thanks to the Kingdom assistance for various developments projects that we were able to divert our own sources to the nuclear program”

Perhaps Saudis are playing with Iran card to make U.S. turn a blind eye on their nuclear program like what happened in Pakistan and they will turn a blind eye on Israel, U.S. and their military present in the region.

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