by Ghassan Kadi
The “War On Syria” has stirred up a lot of talk about nuclear threats being made, and further south in Yemen, there are even reports that nuclear weapons have in fact been used. There has also been considerable controversy about this subject, with the promoters being quite adamant of the authenticity of their reports.
To qualify such reports however as hearsay, would be a gross understatement.
The world does not need nuclear arms at all. This is another gross understatement. The world does not need any arms at all; if humans and their governments behaved sanely and humanely. However, we must admit that on the positive flip side, the presence of nuclear weapons in the hands of superpowers has played a huge role in preventing and averting a major escalation during the Cold War period and beyond.
After the USA bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Stalin had no options other than to develop a Russian bomb. Can anyone just imagine what would have happened to the USSR if it didn’t develop its own nuclear power! And this has been the cutting edge restraining order for other nations, ending….at least thus far, with North Korea.
The nine states that are known to possess nuclear weapons are the United States, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel. All of them have developed their own technology. Admittedly, a great deal of espionage was involved as well as many under the table deals that facilitated the bomb-building creation for some countries, and there is no need to go into details here.
The bottom line is that nuclear bombs are not commodities that one can buy from regular arms suppliers and/or manufacturers.
Furthermore, it takes years to build the right facilities in order to put all the pieces in the puzzle together in order to make it possible to build a bomb. This is why the West was very concerned about Iran’s nuclear program and its development of uranium enrichment facilities, as this would be a prime prerequisite for building an A-bomb.
For a country like Saudi Arabia therefore, it would be unfathomable by any stretch of imagination that it has the skills, ability, or infrastructure to build an A-bomb. The only manner in which Saudi Arabia can possess the bomb is by buying it from a “friendly” and willing nation.
It is argued that Saudi Arabia has tried very hard to pressure Pakistan into supplying a bomb. It is further reported that in the eyes of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan’s A-bombs are Muslim bombs the development program of which has been sponsored by Saudi Arabia, and that the financial help given by the Saudis stipulates that should Saudi Arabia need a bomb or two, Pakistan must oblige. However, those same reports also stated that Pakistan has declined.
Pakistan would not put its neck out and sully its name in the international community and risk severe sanctions by supplying atom bombs to Saudi Arabia. It has even been reported that Pakistan refused to join the recently-formed anti-terror Saudi initiative, because according to Pakistan –as the report claims- the coalition is meant to be against Iran, and Pakistan would not engage in a war against another Muslim nation. If this report is indeed accurate, and if Pakistan refuses to engage in a conventional conflict with another Muslim nation, would it risk giving nukes to another nation with the full knowledge that they may get used against another Muslim nation?
The only two other wild cards that might supply nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia are North Korea and Israel. Israel would not do it in the fear of it falling in wrong hands, or in the fear of a regime change in Saudi Arabia that is hostile to Israel. This leaves North Korea, and the possibilities there are highly unlikely. The two countries are very distant from each other, and any clandestine meetings and negotiations leading up to the sale of a bomb would have surfaced in some way or another.
So does Saudi Arabia have any A-bombs? It cannot be ruled out, but it is very highly unlikely, and even if it did, it would not need to make a test as some outrageous reports claims. Only manufacturers test. Saudi Arabia is not a manufacturer of atom bombs and will never reach this level of technology, not in the foreseeable future at least.
Having worked and lived in Saudi Arabia some moons ago, having seen how Saudis splurge and think that they have bought themselves superiority, I can say that it is not at all unlikely that Saudi Arabia may think it has an A-Bomb, paid for one, and had it delivered, but in reality it is a dud. And in reality, they cannot test it. It only goes off once, and if they bought a few and paid hundreds of billions of dollars, they cannot test one of them on their turf. And if they bought more than one, had a sample tested for them by the vendor, they still cannot guarantee that what they brought home works, because no one, absolutely no one will sell nuclear weapons to the Saudis.
And even if the Saudis indeed bought nukes that work, how does this put them in any different position from nuclear powers who have huge arsenals but cannot and will not use them? If in an infinitesimal possibility Saudi Arabia does have an A-Bomb and uses it say on Tehran, it will turn itself into a nuclear target, face huge sanctions, and become regarded as a rogue pariah state of an extreme.
On the other side of the current nuclear debacle, Russia would not threaten any state with its nuclear power any more than any other nuclear-able state would. Turkey knows well that Russia has nuclear power and that if push comes to shove, under certain conditions, Russia may have to resort to using them. Let us pray this time will never come, but Russia does not “need” to make this statement. Furthermore, the conventional power of Russia by far exceeds that of Turkey and even in the event of a full-on scale war with Turkey, Russia does not need to resort to the use of nuclear power.
And why should Russia need to use nuclear bombs in Turkey if she indeed needed to make huge blasts when it has its FOAB (Father Of All Bombs); the biggest conventional bomb ever, much bigger than America’s MOAB (Mother OF All Bombs). The power of the FOAB is 44 T of TNT, in fact bigger than the smallest of A-bombs which are equivalent to 10 T of TNT, but with a stark difference, the FOAB does not create a nuclear fallout.
Even “dirty bombs” create fallout, and this is all that they are designed to do. The difference between an A-bomb and a dirty bomb is that the former is based on nuclear fission; ie a large atom splitting into two, releasing a lot of energy and radiation. What makes those explosions large is the fact that a critical mass needs to be reached for the chain reaction to happen. This stipulates a minimal size below which the explosion cannot happen. Dirty bombs are however different. A dirty bomb is just an ordinary bomb bundled around radioactive material with the intention of spreading radioactivity upon exploding but without any atomic fission. Dirty bombs are therefore rather easy to make, but as highly radioactive material is not easy to come by, the world has been fortunate enough not to see any dirty bombs being used anywhere. In other words, if certain rogue countries and organizations are finding it hard to make dirty bombs, they will find it many times harder to make or obtain real A-bombs.
In any effect, whether dirty bombs or A-bombs are detonated by terrorists or by regular armies, they will leave an unmistakable highly detectable trail of radiation that will be harder to hide than hiding an elephant inside a matchbox.
Reports of A-bombs being used in Sep-11, Yemen, Gaza and reports of nuclear threats made by Russia to Turkey are unrealistic and beneath the dignity of Russia, and Russia would not engage in such actions; to put it mildly.
We do live in a crazy world with insane people in charge of highly lethal weapons, and they are capable of committing the most heinous of war crimes, but we must be thankful that this is not happening. The use of nuclear weapons at anytime and anywhere, now or in the near future, is highly unlikely, and let us pray it stays this way. Indications clearly point in this direction. There is still some sanity prevailing.