Following reports that this is a specific concern of Israel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he believes it is a “real risk” that Saudi Arabia will get nukes, and that the US views it as a “top priority” to try to prevent the Saudis from getting such arms.
Recent reports, all centering on the Israeli narrative, claim the Saudis are processing yellowcake uranium, and that they are getting secret help from China that could lead to the acquisition of nuclear arms in the future.
“We’re trying to take down risk of proliferation all across the world, whether that’s in Iran, Saudi Arabia, or North Korea, or Russia,” Pompeo told the NY Post, taking the unusual step of dropping the Saudi name alongside US enemies and so-called “rogue” regimes.
“We’re certainly working with parties throughout the Middle East, sharing with them our concerns about the Chinese Community Party and the risk that’s created when the Chinese Communist Party shows up with a deal that looks too good to be true,” he added.
This is an unusual place for the administration to be in, as they generally support arming the Saudis to the teeth, and Pompeo has repeatedly gone to bat for the idea that the Saudis need more arms for their “emergency” state. Those are US-made arms, of course.
Israel is quietly raising the alarm with US over a reported deal struck by Saudi Arabia and China to build a facility that will produce yellowcake, which is used to enrich uranium.
— Adam Milstein (@AdamMilstein) August 19, 2020
The concern may be that getting arms from China will change the power structure of the Middle East, with Pompeo emphasizing China’s offer is “too good to be true.”
It’s not clear what China offered, or if they offered anything at all, and Saudi interest in nuclear energy could easily explain away the uranium processing.