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Scrutiny
  
‘Missile’d Israel
Israel’s supremacy is in danger
24/12/2009

Let’s get the issue straight, what is Israel most afraid of – Iran’s nuclear enrichment program or the prospect of losing its nuclear monopoly in the region? Buoyed by the US’ accomodating approach to its increasing nuclear weapon arsenal, Israel has left no stone unturned to prevent its neighbours from building nuclear capacity in the Middle East. It has often worked jointly with the US to intentionally threaten its neighbours from going nuclear.

According to speculations, Israel might have around 100–150 nuclear warheads. However, the picture with respect to interest or commitment to go nuclear for other countries in the region is quite ambiguous. It starts with Iran. US National Intelligence Estimate judged with ‘full confidence’ that Iran had an active nuclear weapon program on 3rd December, 2007 (just as Iraq had a chemical weapons programme!). It further postulated that Iran would probably be technically capable of producing enough HEU (High Enriched Uranium) for a weapon by 2015. Syria is the second country under suspicion. Israel bombed an officially unidentified site in Syria on September 6, 2007; asserting that it was a nuclear reactor under construction. Press reports suspected North Korea of supplying nuclear reactor to Syria, evidence of which was found by the Institute of Science and International Security later on.

However, the real threat is expected to come from prominent US ally Saudi Arabia. Although it doesn’t possess any nuclear warheads, evidence shows a high probability in the future. It bought 36 CSS-2, intermediate-range missiles from China and also planns to procure new Pakistani intermediate-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. It has also signed a MoU with US to develop nuclear energy cooperation and is in talks with France. Saudi Arabia opened a nuclear research centre recently and is planning the reconstruction of one of its old nuclear reactors that Israel destroyed.

Now that Iran and Israel are both going the nuclear way, and that its relations with the US are not exactly like the good old days. Saudi Arabia may just be looking to enter the nuclear club. In that case, Israel needs to worry even more.

By:- Akram Hoque
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