Saudi Arabia allegedly builds its first known ballistic missile factory. The region is seeking new weapons capabilities and increased efforts by the United States and Israel to counter their mutual enemy Iran.
In a report released on Wednesday by The Washington Post leading experts, satellite images from November appear to show the first ballistic missile factory in Saudi Arabia, based on an already existing missile base near the City Al-Watah is located. While the kingdom already had foreign ballistic missiles, this was supposedly the first known instance of Riyadh to manufacture weapons on its own.
Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear weapons expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and founder of Arms Control's Waff blog, and his team spotted the photographs, saying "the possibility of Saudi Arabia building long-range missiles and seeking nuclear weapons." The Post . Lewis said that "we may underestimate her desire and abilities."
The findings were further confirmed by Michael Elleman of the London International Institute for Strategic Studies and Joseph Bermudez of the Washington Center for Strategic and International Studies
Fabian Hinz, who has worked alongside Lewis and his research colleague David Schmerler, said Newsweek that their analysis "shows that we already see a rocket race in the Middle East," since "Saudi Arabia rockets since then has been the eighties, but originally it was a very limited ability of unequivocal military benefits." He added : "Then they started to upgrade it, and now the fact that they are building a factory, and the sheer size of their rocket troops, shows that they are really strategically involved with rockets."
Media coverage of a Saudi missile base in Saudi Arabia Al-Watah first appeared in the form of an article published in July 2013 by IHS Jane's Defense Weekly. The site revealed satellite imagery that showed seemingly near-surface missile locations built to allow the deployment of Chinese ballistic Dongfeng DF-3A medium-range missiles purchased in the 1980s during a brutal war between the regional enemies of Iraq and Iran. 19659002] Just two years after the end of this conflict in 1988, Iraq invaded Kuwait, leading to a massive US military reaction, fearing an intrusion into oil-rich Saudi Arabia, and the Iraqi forces firing rockets at the kingdom. Later, the US overthrew the Iraqi government in 2003 on the pretext – it later turned out to be false – that it possessed weapons of mass destruction, triggering a violent Sunni Muslim uprising and, as the US Army recently confirmed in a report (19459010 )] deeply empowered Iran.
Revolutionary Shiite Muslim Iran and conservative Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia have spent decades fighting for influence across the Middle East, and the former rocket arsenal in the region has been built. While the tensions between the two in various proxy wars took place, Saudi Arabia revealed in April 2014 for the first time during a military parade his arsenal of the DF-3A. In the same year, Newsweek reported that the CIA had helped a secret agreement that would allow Saudi Arabia to purchase improved Chinese DF-21 missiles in 2007.
By early 2015, a Shiite Muslim group from Zaidi, Ansar Allah (or the Houthis), the Yemeni capital of Sana'a, launched a Saudi military campaign in support of the Yemeni government's attempts to retake the country from rebels allegedly received Iranian support. The Houthis have fired ballistic short-range missiles on Saudi Arabia several times, potentially speeding up Riyadh's desire to have their own rocket force built in the country as the war continues to stagnate.
During Saudi's intervention in Yemen, initially Riyadh and Washington brought persistent reports of the war The Pentagon's involvement there, especially after the journalist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi was killed in October by government officials at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. Although President Donald Trump and his top officials have been their ally from Saudi Arabia, the Senate has already ceased military support to Saudi Arabia, which has already demonstrated its potential to transition from conventional to strategic defense.
Last year Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and former Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir warned that the Kingdom would seek nuclear weapons if Iran did. Tehran has long argued that its own nuclear program was never intended for the weapon, and abided by the terms of a 2015 agreement that limited its production, but this agreement was threatened by the Trump government's decision last year leave and reinstate the sanctions. 19659002] Iran has not yet complied with the agreement as signatory states China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom seek to salvage the agreement following US withdrawal. The Iranian authorities, however, have warned against a resumption of nuclear production any point. For Saudi Arabia, Prince Mohammed launched the nation's first nuclear project back in November, which apparently also served only for energy purposes.
While Hinz Newsweek said it was "hard to say" whether Saudi Arabia was preparing to go nuclear with its alleged new missiles because their exact model was unknown and "they have a large global trend towards conventionally-armed ballistic missiles that further tarnish the water, "he said," if you want nuclear weapons. In general, you also want to have the resources to build domestic delivery systems. "
Hinz pointed out that the regional "rocket race" was not only limited to Iran and Saudi Arabia, but also a fight for new home-made skills included among nations like Israel, Turkey and others seeking foreign aid. A leaked US State Department cable showed that the United Arab Emirates had purchased North Korea's missile technology in 2015, and Qatar followed in the footsteps of its Saudi Arabian rival by demonstrating China-made rockets in 2017. Algeria allegedly received Iskander ballistic missile systems from Russia and Syria It allegedly built Iranian rocket factories with the help of Iran, accused of supplying Lebanese Hezbollah and the Yemeni Houthi movement.
"I would say that two trends here are really merging together, one is the old quest for prestige and the idea that if your enemies have it, you need it too." The other is an increasing popularity of conventionally armed ballistic Short-range rockets, which today can be used effectively as conventional weapon systems due to the increased precision, "said Hinz. Newsweek . "But I would say that Iran and the Saudis are characterized by the sheer size of their missile forces, Saudi Strategic Missile Forces is a separate branch of their military, which is something very rare."
Meanwhile, the other two top Iranian members are enemies Israel and the US have been trying to gain support for a political and physical isolation campaign for Iran whose Allied militias extend through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
Israel has accelerated its airstrikes against alleged Iranian targets in Syria, resulting in a rare public condemnation from Russia – which has itself joined China to warn of a new "arms race" due to Trump's latest missile defense plan, which was partly inspired by Iran's progress in weapons development. The US also intends to hold a conference with Poles in Warsaw next month, originally intended to "focus on Iran," said Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo, although the pressure on Europe has watered down this message. Iranian Revolution "Tour of the Middle East by the US Supreme Diplomat.