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Arms Race Begins? Saudis to Buy Pakistan Nukes


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JERUSALEM, Israel -- The nuclear arms race springing from the U.S.-led Iranian nuclear deal Israel has been warning about may have begun.

Saudi Arabia announced a "strategic decision" to buy "off the shelf" nuclear weapons from its ally, Pakistan, the London-based Sunday Times reported.

"For the Saudis, the moment has come," a former U.S. defense official told the newspaper.

"There has been a long-standing agreement in place with the Pakistanis," he said. "And the House of Saud has now made the strategic decision to move forward."

According to the report, the Saudis have provided substantial financial support for Pakistan's nuclear program during the past 30 years in billions of dollars in subsidized oil.

"Given their close relations and close military links, it's long been assumed that if the Saudis wanted, they would call in a commitment, moral or otherwise, for Pakistan to supply them immediately with nuclear warheads," Lord David Owen, Britain's former foreign secretary, told the Sunday Times.

The paper also quoted a senior British military officer saying military leaders in the West "all assume the Saudis have made the decision to go nuclear."

"The fear is that other Middle Eastern powers -- Turkey and Egypt -- may feel compelled to do the same, and we will see a new, even more dangerous arms race," he said.

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