What if Saudi Arabia develops its own ballistic missiles?

Hamoud Abu Taleb
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Some US media outlets have started tackling the likelihood of Saudi Arabia attempting to develop its own ballistic missiles, and it is astonishing to bring this up on the media arena at a particular time when the talks with Iran on reviewing the previous nuclear deal are underway, a deal whose gravest sin was disregarding Tehran’s ballistic missiles program. This disregard encourages Iran to display these missiles globally, and it is already targeting the Kingdom with a large number of them that are fired from Yemen via its proxy, the Houthi militia, and its affiliated experts who are operating the launching pads. Does this entire situation point to a renewed disregard of Iran’s ballistic missiles in any new agreement with the Tehran regime – this time under the pretext that Saudi Arabia owns them as well?

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It is the Kingdom’s right to seek to obtain any kind of weapons it deems necessary for preserving its national security. However, at that particular moment when the Kingdom – along with the other Arabian Gulf countries – are exposed to mounting threats posed by the Iranian ballistic arsenal, the need is more urgent, and justifications are much more persuasive to obtain such weapons. At any rate, the Kingdom’s conduct of foreign policy is way more rational and logical than that of Iran, and it is governed by full commitment to the international law and treaties that stipulate the rules of weapons use, regardless of their types.

The Iranian nuclear ambition might not be dangerous, yet, but it could turn direly hazardous soon. Meanwhile, Tehran’s ballistic missiles are already a persistent and current threat, because the Iranian regime is practicing its hostilities through using them – while the US and its Western allies are opting for a disregard of that threat. Additionally, there is a sense that this disregard will be extended in any nuclear deal that might be reached – through resorting to justifications for that disregard, such as leaking news on the potential Saudi ballistic missiles plan, regardless of whether it was true or not, and overstating it in media. Hence, such a tendency would serve Iran to remain as a threat to the national security of the GCC and other Arab countries, and a destabilizer of peace and stability in the entire region.

This article was originally published in, and translated from, Saudi newspaper Okaz.

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Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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