Encouraging news on the Iran issue soothed the world community to some extent. But now, the news on Saudi Arabia’s intention to get nuclear weapons began to spread. Experts regard this as a dangerous trend. They are careful of this process`s giving rise to new geopolitical problems on a global scale since there are a number of geopolitical factors behind this matter. Is a new global crisis expected?
Riyadh: Caprice or deliberate geopolitics?
Most analysts acknowledge there are serious changes in global geopolitics. The experience testifies this too. One of its hallmarks is new trends in the United States’s Middle East policy. First and foremost, there is some chill in strategic partnership between Washington and Riyadh. Secondly, US President Barack Obama is taking steps that may cause real rapprochement with Iran. Finally, he called on the Congress not to impose new sanctions against Tehran (see Госдеп США считает возможным смягчить санкции в отношении Ирана / “Baltinfo”, 14 November 2013). Indeed, the Congress extended the sanctions for one more year but Washington stated that it can soften sanctions should an agreement is signed with Iran. Thirdly, official Washington has tended to pay more attention to the Far East.
Professor at the UK institute studying the Arab world and Islam Tim Niblock says, “I believe the US interests are no longer here (he means Mid East – Newtimes.az), they are in other regions of the world (see “Интересы США сейчас уже не сконцентрированы на Ближнем Востоке!” / “Terra America”, 11 November 2013).
This thought is supported by one article in a report of the National Security Committee released at the end of the last year. It says much will change within the next 20 years. The influence of the United States will shrink whereas the prestige of India and China will rise. As a result, the USA will lose its role as a super power in a classical way. Of course, this trend will eventually affect the foreign policy of this country. It seems as Washington focuses its attention on certain regions although it sought to rule the whole world previously (see the previous source).
Interesting characteristics of geopolitical changes underlined above are manifesting themselves in the context of the ongoing processes in the Mid East and closely connected with Iran. For instance, it becomes increasingly clear that Saudi Arabia does not trust the United States although the US promised to always back this country. As long as the US interests are becoming more focused on the Pacific basin, and this country is concerned about China, Riyadh is getting forgotten. Saudi Arabia is cautious that America can change its defense system and withdraw most its military structure from the Mid East.
All these factors made experts conclude that Riyadh is able to produce nuclear weapons on its own! Alternatively, it can acquire necessary technologies from other countries. For instance, Pakistan reportedly agreed to provide them. They cited the mass media and even official circles as stating that this process has already begun. Referring to the sources in the Pakistani government, the BBC has spread information about it on November 6. “What did we think the Saudis were giving us all that money for? It wasn’t charity”, an unnamed official was quoted as saying (see the previous source).
A bit earlier, King Abdullah told Obama’s official representative Dennis Ross that “if Iran gets nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia will get nuclear weapons.” Former Israeli intelligence chief Amos Yadlin said: “Saudis have already paid money for the atomic weapon.” (see the previous source).
New bidders for atomic weapon: stab in the back
There are two conclusions that can be made in a geopolitical context. First, if the reports prove to be true, another nuclear crisis with regard to some other country may occur. Second, some circles signal to Iran for the soonest resolution of the nuclear issue. They told Tehran that Riyadh would acquire its nuclear weapon otherwise and this can make the situation in the region more complicated since in this case Iran will get another enemy besides Israel, i.e. Saudi Arabia on the grounds of faith difference. It is not difficult to find out who will benefit if processes go in this direction.
In any case, Saudi Arabia is said to be searching for new allies in the region. American sociologist Jack Goldstone thinks that Riyadh will continue to blackmail Washington for some time from now. Great powers have to make major alternations to their foreign policy in order to prevent escalation of the developments. Russia and the USA should evaluate geopolitical realities in a right way.
American political analyst Thomas Gram is of the same opinion. He thinks that Washington and Moscow must determine the global geopolitical agenda taking account of the realities (see: США и России пора посмотреть в лицо реальности / “Известия” newspaper, 8 October 2013). In this context, interests of regional powers must be taken into consideration to a great extent. It appears that geopolitical realities of the present require steps to prevent Saudi Arabia from getting atomic weapon. However, Washington and Moscow do not share concrete stance in this direction. “Master and disciplined foreign policy” hallmarks underlined by Gram manifest themselves.
From this point of view, there is an impression that the Mid East has embarked on a new uncertain stage. Against this backdrop, chances to overcome difficulties related to Iran`s nuclear program look slim. Niblock sees “Saudi Arabia’s great hatred against Iran” as a major factor (see “Интересы США сейчас уже не сконцентрированы на Ближнем Востоке!” / “Terra America”, 11 November 2013). This manifests itself more clearly in the Syrian issue. For this reason, any agreement great powers may come to on Iran may give rise to new geopolitical conflicts in the Middle East.
All these factors testify that a suggestive geopolitical landscape was formed in the Middle East. Along with Iran and Israel, Saudi Arabia can get a nuclear program too. This is not good since the world community is trying to restrict nuclear weapons. What is the reason? It appears that the world community has not yet given up double standards. As a result, new hot spots emerge although the old one is still there. If Islamabad assists Saudi Arabia in getting atomic weapons, it can lead to a new whirl of geopolitical contradictions in the Middle East and adjacent regions.
This aspect of the matter is more suggestive than the strategic aspect. Although the center of gravity of the global geopolitics is in the Far East, Pakistan’s joining the nuclear confrontation can give additional motives to some circles. With this, a bomb is planted under the Pacific basin, which is becoming the most dynamic region from the geopolitical point of view. Sometime later, these factors can play a serious role in a geopolitical fight of super powers. Of course, we should not forget that China, India and Korea also own a nuclear weapon.
There seems to be much work to achieve geopolitical stability in the Middle East. At the same time, geopolitical situation in the region does not depend on the USA and Russia only. Ensuring interests of influential states at a regional level may head for back. Moreover, various countries can find an intersection between their own interests. Under these complex circumstances, a just politics can become a way out. Along with Saudi Arabia, other strong countries of the region may wish to get nuclear weapons too. Iran also reiterates it does not wish to give up its own nuclear program. Thus, in reality in some aspects this problem brings new tension instead of being solved. They suggest new dangerous tendencies are emerging.