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
Add to Briefcase
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 »
IT’S OFFICIAL
Trump to Nominate Carson to Lead HUD
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

As has been rumored for a week, Donald Trump will nominate Ben Carson, his former rival, to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In a statement, Trump said, "We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up."

Source:
TOO COSTLY, SAYS GREEN PARTY
Stein Drops Pennsylvania Recount
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Supporters of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein on Saturday withdrew a last-ditch lawsuit in Pennsylvania state court aimed at forcing a statewide ballot recount, another major setback in the effort to verify the votes in three states that provided President-elect Donald Trump his margin of victory. Ms. Stein’s campaign announced in a statement Saturday that the Pennsylvania lawsuit had been dropped after the court demanded that a $1 million bond be posted by the 100 Pennsylvania residents who brought the suit."

Source:
ANOTHER MORNING TWEETSTORM
Trump Threatens 35% Tariff on Companies that Move Overseas
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

In a series of early-morning tweets on Sunday, Donald Trump threatened companies that attempt to relocate out of the country. "Any business that leaves our country for another country, fires its employees, builds a new factory or plant in the other country, and then thinks it will sell its product back into the U.S. without retribution or consequence, is WRONG!," he wrote. "There will be a tax on our soon to be strong border of 35% for these companies."

Source:
EASEMENT DENIED
Army Corps Stopping Work on Dakota Pipeline
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The Army Corps of Engineers has decided to deny the easement for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the National Congress of American Indians said in a statement Sunday. The decision would essentially halt the construction of the oil pipeline right above the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and it also comes as demonstrators across the country flocked to North Dakota in protest."

Source:
LOSES REFERENDUM VOTE
Italian Prime Minister to Step Down
2 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will submit his resignation today, after a referendum vote went against his side. The development represents yet another win for populism around the globe, as the populist 5 Stars Movement, Renzi's chief rivals, took 60 percent of the vote. Renzi claimed the reforms "were vital to modernize Italy."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login