This article was written in February of 2007. It has never been published until now.
In 1984, Israeli Intelligence (with the aid of a compliant CIA analyst named Jonathan Pollard now serving a life sentence) gained access to top-secret CIA satellite spy photos which showed the Chinese parading some 'hot' Chinese Ballistic Missiles in front of a Saudi audience at a top-secret missile complex. Apparently, Saudi King Fahd had authorized a $20 Billion payday for delivery of said missiles and the construction of a launching site deep in the Arabian desert that no one—not the Americans, and certainly not the Israelis—was ever supposed to find out about. Enter Jonathan Pollard.*
|Jonathan Pollard in a photo published by the Washington Post.|
The Saudis were going for a nuclear payload that of course threatened to upset the entire balance of power in the Middle East. Once the Israelis found out what was going on, they sent a stern warning to King Fahd in the form of a "special delivery" of live pigs from C-130's right onto the Saudi runway. Of course this message infuriated and humiliated King Fahd, but he got the message loud and clear: "You can buy all the missiles you want, but the Israelis own the sky. We can penetrate your airspace, we can destroy your entire country. Don't get any ideas."
There is an old Arab saying, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." The Saudi royals fear for their safety and perpetuity in the new climate of Islamo-Fascism and "Bin Laden Worship," especially that of the Shia Faction being exported from Iran and the imminent readiness of Iran's own nuclear weapons program. There are at least 13 Iranian nuclear facilities, some in underground bunkers. The key target according to Military Sources (obtained from the Southern Command Website) is the Natanz Nuclear Facility, some 200 miles south of Tehran that houses at least one centrifuge cascade that is thought to be where nuclear fuel for weapons is being developed. There is also the Bushehr nuclear reactor on the Persian Gulf and any bombing at this site could prove deadly for the scores of Russian Contractors working there. Military Sources also predict that Israel would launch an attack during daylight hours in order to expedite all the technicians and scientists working there.**
Let's face it, the only Air Force in that part of the world with the experience, determination and capability of pulling off a job of this caliber belongs to Israel. The Saudis learned their lesson about who owns the sky. But there is one major complication: a refueling base is of utmost necessity, but where? The Saudis will have to realize that their peninsula is the only practical strategic choice. The question that remains is, Is the imminent threat of a hostile, nuclear Iran catalyst enough for a quiet, secret alliance between Israel and Saudi Arabia? Can past humiliations such as the Pollard Affair be 'swept under the carpet'? Can the Saudi Monarch, King Abdullah, finally acquiesce to releasing him as a show of good faith? Okay, so this is a little far-fetched, but in the course of Israeli-Saudi affairs, stranger things have occurred. In the 1990's, just before the start of the Gulf War, the Saudis gave $15 million as a down payment to members of the Russian mafia for the purchase of $75 million worth of red mercury, which, the Saudis believed, was a substance that could be used to make a nuclear bomb. In reality, it had no fissionable potential at all. Unbeknownst to the Saudis, the $15 million was paid to con men. It was only after the money was spent that the Saudis began to wonder if the sellers were not Russians at all but Israelis. Truth is always stranger than fiction. But I have digressed....
*For the fascinating story about how the CIA pieced together that the Chinese and the Saudis had entered into a secret missile deal please read "The Gold of Exodus: The Discovery of the True Mount Sinai" by Howard Blum.