Saudi Arabia Displays Ballistic Missiles in Likely Signal to Iran

Saudi security forces march during a 2009 military parade. Saudi Arabia for the first time on Tuesday displayed a pair of medium-range ballistic missiles acquired years ago from China.
National Journal
Rachel Oswald
April 30, 2014, 8:25 a.m.

Saudi Ar­a­bia on Tues­day for the first time dis­played its me­di­um-range bal­list­ic mis­siles — a move that ana­lysts in­ter­preted as primar­ily aimed at Ir­an.

A pair of Dong­feng-3 mis­siles were rolled out dur­ing a mil­it­ary parade in Riy­adh. The Saudi gov­ern­ment bought the mis­siles from China in 1987 but had re­frained for dec­ades from pub­licly show­ing them off, ac­cord­ing to an ana­lys­is by the Wash­ing­ton In­sti­tute for Near East Policy.

The weapons tra­di­tion­ally are kept de­ployed at a base to the south of the Saudi cap­it­al, where they are po­si­tioned for pos­sible launches against Ir­an, said Wash­ing­ton In­sti­tute fel­low Si­mon Hende­r­son.

In re­cent years, Saudi Ar­a­bia re­portedly ac­quired more soph­ist­ic­ated Chinese Dong­feng-21 mis­siles, but there were no re­por­ted sight­ings of those mis­siles dur­ing Tues­day’s parade.

“The mis­sile dis­play sig­nals Saudi Ar­a­bia’s de­term­in­a­tion to counter Tehran’s grow­ing strength, as well as its read­i­ness to act in­de­pend­ently of the United States,” Hende­r­son said.

Saudi Ar­a­bia is wor­ried that on­go­ing talks between world powers and Ir­an will fail to pro­duce a deal that per­man­ently ends Tehran’s po­ten­tial to con­struct a nuc­le­ar weapon. A prom­in­ent Saudi prince re­cently urged oth­er Ar­ab Gulf na­tions to de­vel­op ad­vanced atom­ic cap­ab­il­it­ies in or­der to cre­ate a “bal­ance of forces” against Ir­an.

Pakistani army chief Gen. Ra­heel Sharif was in at­tend­ance at Tues­day’s parade. His pres­ence will likely “reawaken spec­u­la­tion” that the Saudi gov­ern­ment could at­tempt to ac­quire Pakistani atom­ic weapons in or­der to counter Ir­an, Hende­r­son said.

In a blog post for Arms Con­trol Wonk, Aaron Stein, an as­so­ci­ate fel­low at the Roy­al United Ser­vices In­sti­tute, pos­ited that Saudi Ar­a­bia was try­ing to send a mes­sage to the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion over “its cur­rent dis­com­fort with the way the U.S. has handled Syr­ia, the Ar­ab Spring and the Ir­a­ni­an nuc­le­ar is­sue.

What We're Following See More »
11 HOUSE MEMBERS NOW BEHIND HIM
Two Committee Chairs Endorse Trump
11 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Two powerful House members—Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Jeff Miller (R-FL)—are throwing their support behind Donald Trump.

Source:
BUT WOULD HE THROW THE CHAIR?
Bobby Knight: Trump Would Drop the Bomb Just Like Truman
11 hours ago
THE LATEST
LAST PLACE
Trump Still Struggling for Endorsements
14 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
MORE INDEPENDENTS, FEWER SUPERDELEGATES
Sanders Could Force Changes to Nominating Process
16 hours ago
THE LATEST

There are not "ongoing, direct conversations between" the Bernie Sanders camp and the Hillary Clinton camp regarding "the platform or rules changes," but Sanders "is already making his opening arguments" about those issues on the stump. Sanders is putting "complaints about closed primaries" atop his stump speeches lately, and figures to start a "conversation about the role of superdelegates in the nominating process." He said, “Our goal, whether we win or we do not win, is to transform the Democratic Party."

Source:
‘LUCIFER IN THE FLESH’
Boehner Says He Wouldn’t Vote for Cruz
18 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Well, this is unsubtle. Former Speaker John Boehner called Ted Cruz "lucifer in the flesh," adding that he "never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life." Boehner has endorsed John Kasich, but he said he'd vote for Donald Trump over Cruz. He also praised Bernie Sanders, calling him the most honest politician in the race, and predicted that Joe Biden may yet have a role to play in the Democratic contest, especially if Hillary Clinton runs into legal trouble over her emails.

Source:
×