Satellite Images Suggest Saudi Arabia Developing Ballistic Missiles
Newly-released satellite images suggest Saudi Arabia is developing and possibly manufacturing ballistic missiles—which can carry and deliver nuclear warheads—at a military base in the heart of the desert kingdom. The Sunni Muslim country has in the past vowed to match the capabilities of arch-foe Shiite Iran, which has an active and controversial ballistic missile program in addition to its ostensibly frozen atomic project. If true, the revelation could be damaging for Riyadh given that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman remains under fire for his role in last year’s killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Bin Salman also has been sharply criticized by the West for his nation’s ongoing military operation in Yemen, where Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have used ballistic missiles to target the Saudi capital. At the same, Saudi Arabia’s stockpiling of these weapons would send a stark message to the West that Tehran’s related activities are liable to spark an irreversible and potentially devastating arms race in the volatile Middle East.