Saudi Arabia might look to develop nuclear weapons as a regional counterweight to Iran and Israel, Agence France-Presse quoted Riyadh's former top intelligence official as saying on Monday (see GSN, June 30).
"Our efforts and those of the world have failed to convince Israel to abandon its weapons of mass destruction, as well as Iran ... therefore it is our duty towards our nation and people to consider all possible options, including the possession of these weapons," Prince Turki al-Faisal said during a meeting in the Saudi capital.
"A (nuclear) disaster befalling one of us would affect us all," he added.
Israel is broadly assumed to possess a nuclear arsenal, though it holds to a longstanding policy of refusing to confirm that the weapons exist. There are also widespread suspicions that Iran is pursuing a nuclear-weapon capability, though the nation says its atomic program has no military component.
Saudi Arabia is presently establishing an atomic energy program that is due to produce 16 reactors over the coming 20 years (Agence France-Presse/Yahoo!News, Dec. 5).