Thursday, December 21, 2006

Now, the Middle East gets interesting.


Well we know that Saudi Arabia has missiles, rather, has had missiles for quite a while. Apparently the Saudi missile program goes back to 1988.

In his 2003 Naval Post graduate thesis titled "Is Saudi Arabia a Nuclear Threat?" Steven R. McDowell writes:

Now that the CSS-2 missiles are nearing the end of their lifecycle, the Saudi regime may choose to replace them. During a March 11, 1997 interview with Defense News, Saudi military chief of staff, Lt Gen. Saleh Mohaya stated [referring to the Saudi’s CSS-2 ballistic missile inventory], “The [Saudi Arabian] oil kingdom is now considering replacing or refurbishing the desert missile force.”

Early in 2006, the German periodical Cicero reported that satellite imagery obtained by Germany's secret service indicated that Saudi Arabia has set up in Al-Sulaiyil, south of Riyadh, a new secret underground city and dozens of underground silos for missiles. TPMcafe has also picked up on this item.

According to some Western security services, long-range Ghauri-type missiles of Pakistani-origin are housed inside the silos.

The Ghauri missile has a range of 1,500 kilometers, while the CSS-2.
missile has a longer 2500km range.

The East Wind's modified range/payload (5) of 2,500 km/2,000 kg (conventional load) brings many countries within striking range, including Israel, the former Soviet Union, and Iran, though the missiles are said to be targeted on Tehran and other Iranian population centers, rather than Israel.

It seems that Saudi Arabia has replaced its aging Chinese missiles with North Korean/Pakistani "Ghauri" missiles, albeit with 1000km less range, they have essentially modernized their missile fleet.


Would Saudi Arabia allow Iran to accuire nuclear weapons first? Certainly not in the current enviroment of a regional Middle East proxy war. Ah yes, the current environment, Where by invading Iraq and installing a Shite regime, the US has upset a long standing balance in the Middle East. In a recent International Tribune article, Hassan M. Fattah recounts how a a self-styled poet told a story.

"Saddam Hussein was a real leader who deserved our support," he began, making up the lines as he went. "He kept Iraq stable and peaceful," he added, "And most of all he fought back the Iranians."

With Iran & Syria on one side, that does leave Saudi Arabia & Isreal as unlikely allies. But while I am gumming up the works, let me really mess things up, and throw the recent Russian Mach 3 cruise missile in the works. Does the US have a Mach 3 jet interceptor in the inventory? No, we don't. Which also means short of a Russian Mig-29, no one else in the Persian Gulf does either. I am sure Iran would love to get a hold of these new cruise missiles and.... point them at the Straights of Hormuz? While Saudi Arabia supports the Sunnis in Iraq, essentially destabilizing the Iraqi Shite Regime we set up, which of course is supported by Iran.

What has been done in our name? God help us.