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Saudi Arabia Ballistic Missiles Target Israel and Iran

Updated on July 22, 2013

While the Saudis dislike both Iran and Israel, I suspect, they despise the Iranians more. They have proven to be more insidious and dangerous in their threats the Saudi regime and its oil. They have never had formal diplomatic relations with Israel but do talk with each other through "back door" methods.

However, perhaps as a precaution, a secret missile base 200 km from Riyadh was found by Jane's Intelligence through examining satellite photos over a period of years. It is based on a granite mountain with 15 entrances.The base is home to the Chinese DF-3 missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads and have a range of up to 2,500 miles. The missiles were acquired by Saudi Arabia from China in the late 1980's. These are mobile missiles. These missiles are old school, in that, they must be locked into their destination before launch and are not remotely guided.

Analysts studying the missile sites indicate they are aligned with coordinates that target Israel and Iran.They believe the base was built within the past five years. Saudi Arabia bought between 30-120 missiles and 9~12 launchers were delivered in 1988.

For China, it was simply getting rid of outmoded old technology since the missile first became active in 1971. The missile is based on the Scud-B Soviet missile with some minor differences. China still has one brigade in active mode containing the missile.

Saudi rocket forces are the most overlooked ballistic missile force in the Middle East today and their relationship with Pakistan indicates an exchange of rocket technology for oil. Also, the Saudis have shown interest in buying the Chinese CSS-5 or DF-21, which became operational in 1996. This is a much more modern ballistic, mobile missile with a 1,700 km range.

As Iran obtains nuclear weapons and Israel has some 200 of them, Saudi Arabia may make a deal with Pakistan to deploying its own nuclear weapons, delivery systems and troops on Saudi territory.This would deter both Iran and Israel. A Pakistani presence is also preferable to a U.S. one, because stationing Muslim forces would not trigger the kind of opposition that has in the past accompanied the deployment of American troops. Pakistan may not like the idea because over 1 billion dollars is received from the US a year in aid and sending Pakistani rockets to Saudi Arabia might curtail this. Buying more missiles from China might anger the US, which has approved the largest weapons package ever and create issues between US-Sino relations.

However, Saudi Arabia only has oil for sale for its economy. It uses over three million barrels a day to keep things going. Oil is its only asset and it must protect it from nefarious countries like Iran or terrorists. Israel is not interested in attacking Saudi Arabia because it gets oil from them also.


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    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 

      5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      It's funny how the press is just getting around to reporting these Saudi missiles, which have been around for years. I would guess that interest in them arose because of the idea of putting nuclear war heads on top of them, which was not likely years ago, but quite likely now. (Buy them, as you mention, from Pakistan, while cementing that alliance. This is reasonable because both countries are controlled by Sunni Muslims, while Iran, Iraq, and Syria are controlled by Shiites.) I'm sure the U.S. and Israel had something to do with keeping this out of the press for so many years.

      Actually, I would think that any country in the Middle East which wants to protect its oil reserves would need medium-range ballistic missiles that are nuclear capable. After all, the nukes were the reason the U.S. never attacked the Soviet Union.


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