Military News Analysis - American Strategy in the Middle East to Checkmate the growing Nuclear Potential of the Islamic Crescent

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From our Kuwait Bureau:

An undercurrent to the ongoing war on terror is the Western anxiety about the growing nuclear potential of Islamic states. For the obvious reason of prudence, nothing is officially being said about this. But this issue dominates Western thinking.

One example of this are the reports filed by Western Intelligence over the last decade of the growing nuclear capability of Islamic countries along wit the actions of Western powers in the Middle East and now in Pakistan.

American Military is increasingly acquiring de facto authority over Pakistani Airfields

The nuclear potential of Pakistan is an open one, so we need not discuss it here. The only issue we need point out in the context of Pakistan is that today except for President Musharraf and his close supporters in the Corp Command of the Pakistani Military, not many in Pakistan want to see their country as an ally of the US in the War on Terror.

So the minute, President Musharraf is overthrown or assassinated, the US will have to move in to take over and either neutralize Pakistan's nuclear potential or to shift it bodily outside Pakistan. This is easily said than done. But going by the increasing control that the American Military is acquiring over Pakistani Airfields, the American strategy seems to be preparing itself for this eventuality.

The Americans have followed a similar policy with respect to the entire Arab world.

The Americans have followed a similar policy with respect to the entire Arab world. They have a military presence in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia (Prince Sultan Airbase), the British are in Oman. Aden is frequented by American Navy. The USS Cole was attacked there.

So the Western strategy is to be present at strategic locations from where they can whenever necessary neutralize any military challenge from the Arab world. A strategy which they have assiduously followed since the Kuwait war. In doing this they have tried to regain the military foothold which the Wets (Britain and France) lost when they vacated their mandates in Jordan and Syria after World War 2. They had acquired these mandates after World War 1, after the defeat of the Ottoman Turkey in the war.

This is in fact the crib that Osama bin Laden has against the West. He wants them out of the land of Mohammed.

Now let us see what assessment the Western world has about the nuclear potential of the Arab world.

Approaching the Nuclear Brink!

- Saudi Arabia

Way back in 1991 Odran Muntz Walsh wrote an article entitled "Saudi Arabia's military oasis," in Jane's Defence Weekly, 25 May 91. According to him; "The multi-billion dollar King Khalid Military City in Saudi Arabia is reported to include nuclear missile silos and nuclear-proofed underground command bunkers with full arming and firing capabilities." We would point out that if nuclear missile silos were built nearly a decade back in Saudi Arabia, then we can safely guess that by now they may be possessing nuclear weapons, or may be quite close to doing so. A frightening prospect. It was the Saudis who bankrolled Pakistan's nuclear efforts and as a friendly gesture, flew the overthrown Nawaz Sharif - under whom Pakistan tested its first nuclear device, into Saudi Arabia. Now let us turn to Iraq.

- Egypt

serious work on developing nuclear potential designated for use in power engineering, agriculture, medicine, biotechnology, and genetics is being done, according to official statements. Industrial incorporation of four explored uranium deposits is planned, including the extraction and enrichment of uranium for subsequent use as fuel for atomic power plants.

- Iran

About Iran, going by its track record, Washington draws the fundamental conclusion that countries that supply nuclear technology should refrain from any cooperation with Iran in the nuclear field until there is sufficiently strong evidence of Iran's sincere and lasting adherence to exclusively peaceful use of nuclear energy. The present climate, in Washington's opinion, does not meet this criterion.

However, such accusations against Iran are frequently based on clearly unconfirmed information. Thus, for example, a campaign in 1992-1994 in the foreign mass information media, especially American and West European media, over four nuclear warheads which Tehran supposedly bought from Kazakhstan is well known. Meanwhile, as the leadership of the CIA has repeatedly stated, this department has not recorded even one sale of nuclear weapons from the republics of the former USSR. The IRI's level of achievements in the nuclear field is no higher than the same indicator for 20-25 other countries of the world.

Portends for the Future

Thus with nuclear potential existence in countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and Iraq, we have many loose cannons on the nuclear scenario. This would have been a source of worry, even in the normal course of events, but after 11th September and now with the progress of the Strike on Terror, every passing day brings us close to the nuclear brink. In this context, the central pivot of Western (in fact of the anti-terrorism) war effort would be neutralize the nuclear potential of future adversaries. In case the pro-Western government in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan fall and along with them, falls their nuclear potential in not so sanguine hands, then the scenario would be really terrifying and would rush the War into a phase which could make the current phase look like one of tranquility.

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- Robin McArthur

On behalf of the team



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