“Saudi Arabia has expanded both its missile infrastructure and technology through recent purchases from China,” according to the report.
By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News
U.S. intelligence is showing that Saudi Arabia has “significantly escalated its ballistic missile program with the help of China,” CNN reports.
The American media network cites “three sources with direct knowledge of the matter,” and says that it is “a development that threatens decades of U.S. efforts to limit missile proliferation in the Middle East.”
According to the sources, “the Trump administration did not initially disclose its knowledge of this classified development to key members of Congress,” says CNN.
The information is said to indicate that “Saudi Arabia has expanded both its missile infrastructure and technology through recent purchases from China,” according to the report.
CNN’s sources said that the ultimate goal of the Saudis “has not been conclusively assessed by U.S. intelligence,” but that “the missile advancement could mark another step in potential Saudi efforts” to deliver a nuclear warhead sometime in the future if it obtained one.
Both in the Trump administration and among some Israeli officials, closer ties with Saudi Arabia have been considered important in countering the Iranian threat. Saudi Arabia has said that it would pursue nuclear weapons if Iran does.
However, in the U.S. Congress, there is criticism of the apparent stepped-up security cooperation with Riyadh, due to questions over the kingdom’s human rights record and, in particular, the case of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi national who wrote for The Washington Post, and was an outspoken critic of Saudi leaders. He allegedly was assassinated at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 by agents of the Saudi government.
Questions have been raised in Washington over whether administration officials have sufficiently followed up reported evidence of the killing.
“In the wake of the gruesome, regime-ordered killing…anti-Saudi sentiment in Washington that had already been rising due to atrocities in Yemen is boiling over,” writes the Foreign Policy media outlet.
“There’s real concern that if a government is willing to murder a U.S. green-card holder in a third country in a diplomatic facility, I think there’s a legitimate question over whether such a government could be trusted with nuclear energy and the potential weaponization of it,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in an interview in November with the Daily Beast.