Jul 9 2010
Seeing Barack Obama for the gutless wonder he is re: Iran, Saudi Arabia has accelerated its own uranium enrichment program and given a green light to Jordan to start mining Jordanian uranium deposits and building enrichment facilities and nuclear reactors, despite the Obama Regime’s fierce opposition.
Saudi King Abdullah made up his mind to press ahead on uranium enrichment – in defiance of repeated US requests – after his June 29 conversation with US President Barack Obama at the White House ended in discord on nuclear questions. The king was not satisfied with US efforts to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon and decided to take matter in his own hands.
Shortly after he returned from Washington, he expedited the signing of a nuclear cooperation pact with France. Saudi and French officials involved in the project are predicting that the enrichment facilities will start working at full tempo within four to five months after their reinstallation in the nuclear city.
King Abdullah came away from his conversation with Obama angered rather than persuaded by Obama’s proposal for Saudi Arabia to adopt as its model the United Arab Emirates-United States’ nuclear cooperation plan, under which the UAE would receive nuclear reactors and other equipment from America. This proposal put King Abdullah’s back up for two reasons: The Saudi royal family is on bad terms with the UAE’s ruling Al- Nahyans. Furthermore, Washington proposed bringing forward its year-old nuclear proposition to the UAE – provided the Emirates’ consented to join American sanctions against Iran.
This would be a powerful sanctions tool, since the UAE has long served Iran as its main financial, trading, aviation and transport hub and export and import lifeline to the outside world. However, seen from Riyadh, the US-UAE transaction looked like an American attempt to cut Saudi Arabia out of its dealings over Iran and a mark of its mistrust of the Saudi throne.
When they met last week, King Abdullah rebuked the US president for failing to run his transaction with the UAE past his government first.
Following another confidential cabinet decision against Washington, the king decided to couple the oil kingdom’s nuclear partnership with France with expanded military acquisitions,DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources reveal. Billions of petrodollars were earmarked to buy off-the-shelf French military satellite systems which France will launch for Saudi Arabia in the next two years. France will also be commissioned to build Saudi ground stations to receive the data gathered by the satellites and operate the stations until Saudi teams are trained.
Just as Iran used North Korea’s services to try and establish in Syria a nuclear infrastructure to feed Tehran’s program with plutonium, Saudi Arabia is taking steps with French help to make Jordan its “logistical nuclear fuel backup” for supplying the Saudi nuclear program with fuel for a nuclear weapon.
The two kings Abdullah decided to go fast forward, although well aware of extreme Obama administration objections to both their plans.
Experts estimate that Jordan has at least 65,000 tons of uranium under the desert outside Amman and possibly an additional 100,000 in southern, central and eastern Jordan, making its deposits the 11th largest in the world.
Amman has presented to Washington an ambitious program for developing its uranium wealth and in parallel building enrichment plants that would make the kingdom the Middle East hub for distributing nuclear fuel to Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf States, Egypt, Syria and Iraq. It has met with US disapproval.
Washington’s refusal to let Jordan exploit its own uranium deposits to make nuclear fuel has held up their nuclear cooperation talks. The American side insists on guarantees from Jordan that would oblige it to buy reactor fuel from the international market – a safeguard against its potential diversion for military uses (after the Iranian precedent).
There are three major considerations behind the Obama administration’s alarm over its close Middle East ally’s nuclear plans:
* Another nuclear power would be introduced to the Middle East, flying in the face of Barack Obama’s ambition for worldwide denuclearization, starting with this volatile region.
* The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and its king are not powerful or stable enough to keep their fuel enrichment installations secure.
* A high-tech nuclear industry would make Jordan an irresistible target for its covetous neighbors, such as Syria, Iran and even possibly Iraq or Islamic extremists.
* Given a free hand, Jordan or its conquerors may seek nuclear weapons and pose the same threat to the world as Iran.
Cairo is watching these events with interest.
Monday, July 5, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak took advantage of his visit to Paris for a discussion with French president Nicolas Sarkozy on the integration of his own nuclear plans in the burgeoning Saudi-French-Jordanian program.