US Intel: Saudi Arabia Upping Ballistic Missile Program with Chinese Help
Saudi Arabia has accelerated its ballistic missile program with the help of China, according to CNN, which cited a US intelligence assessment. The report speculated that the move could be a prelude to Riyadh’s eventual development of nuclear weapons. This comes against the backdrop of heightened tensions in the Gulf between Sunni countries and Shi’ite Iran, which is the subject of a “maximum pressure” campaign by the Trump Administration geared toward curbing the Islamic Republic’s regional expansionism. It also comes as members of Congress announced their intentions to introduce legislation aiming to torpedo President Donald Trump’s plan to sell $8 billion-worth of military equipment to the kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. “We are taking this step to show that we will not stand idly by and allow President [Trump] or Secretary of State [Mike Pompeo] to further erode Congressional review and oversight of arm sales,” proclaimed Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Pentagon, at the White House’s directive, has already beefed up US forces in the Middle East with a view to deterring Tehran, which most analysts believe ordered its proxies to conduct a series of recent attacks targeting Saudi oil and shipping assets.