The Saudi Nuclear Program Poses a Danger to Israel

Dec. 18 2019

In October, shortly before stepping down, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced that talks over providing Riyadh with American assistance in developing its civilian nuclear capabilities had reached an impasse over Saudi reluctance to pledge not to enrich uranium. Once a country can enrich uranium itself, it can produce not only the low-enriched fuel used for civilian purposes but also the high-enriched form necessary for nuclear weapons. For decades, the American-led nonproliferation regime has allowed nations to purchase the former while forbidding them to enrich it themselves. But the Obama administration’s recognition of an Iranian “right to enrich” has overturned that standard. Yoel Guzansky notes the consequences:

The kingdom’s interest in nuclearization is nothing new, [but] in March 2018, [the] Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman said publicly—and explicitly—for the first time that if Iran acquired military nuclear capabilities, the Saudis would follow suit without delay.

It’s possible that a dangerous nuclear loop has been established between Iran and its neighbors: Iran’s nuclear efforts are motivating the states that feel threatened by Iran to nuclearize, and attempts by Saudi Arabia—and Turkey—to nuclearize do nothing to convince Iran to stop its nuclear program. At some point, Iran and its neighbors’ progress on nuclear infrastructure and knowledge could pass the point of no return.

Israel has an interest in preventing even Arab countries with which it cooperates, whether openly or in secret, from nuclearizing. This is because of the concern over a regional dynamic of nuclearization, which could push Iran to step up its own nuclear work; concern over dissemination of nuclear information; and concerns about a future change to the alignment of regional players or changes to friendly nations—for example, if a regime were to fall.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iranian nuclear program, Israeli Security, Middle East, Nuclear proliferation, Saudi Arabia

Iran’s Responsibility for West Bank Terror

On Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer and was then shot by another officer after trying to grab his rifle. Commenting on the many similar instances of West Bank-based terror during the past several months, Amit Saar, a senior IDF intelligence officer, predicted that the violence will likely grow worse in the coming year. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the Islamic Republic’s role in fueling this wave of terrorism:

The escape of six terrorists from Gilboa prison in September 2021 was the catalyst for the establishment of new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, according to senior Islamic Jihad officials. The initiative to establish new armed groups was undertaken by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in coordination with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, implementing the strategy of Qassem Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards who was assassinated in Iraq by the U.S.—of using proxies to achieve the goals of expansion of the Iranian regime.

After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups under the name of “Battalions,” which also include terrorists from other organizations such as Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. First, the “Jenin Battalion” was established in the city of Jenin, followed the “Nablus Battalion.”

Despite large-scale arrest operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad continues to form new terrorist groups, including the “Tulkarem Battalion,” the “Tubas Battalion,” and the “Balata Battalion” in the Balata refugee camp.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank