Terror and the Bomb: Dangerous Cocktail

(International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism) Amir Mir - Islamabad-based diplomatic circles believe Pakistani President Musharraf's unscheduled June 25-26 trip to Saudi Arabia was to seek the assistance of the kingdom to circumvent the ongoing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) investigations into reports that the Saudis might have purchased nuclear technology from Pakistan. In May 1999, a Saudi Arabian defense team, headed by Defense Minister Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, visited Pakistan's highly restricted uranium enrichment and missile assembly factory with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and was briefed by Dr. A.Q. Khan. In 2005, the U.S. claims to have acquired fresh evidence that suggests a broader government-to-government Pak-Saudi atomic collaboration. A major strategic goal of the al-Qaeda's terror attacks within Saudi Arabia in recent years has been to escalate the pressure on what are regarded as Westernized corrupt elements of the Saudi royal house, with the aim of replacing them with fanatical feudal Wahhabi elements - a kind of Talibanization of the Saudi kingdom. The first indications of the presence of pro-jihadi scientists in Pakistan's nuclear establishment came to notice during U.S.-led military operations in Afghanistan against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, when captured documents spoke of the visits of Pakistani nuclear scientist Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood to Kandahar when Osama was operating from there before 9/11. Bashiruddin was the first head of the Kahuta Uranium Enrichment project in the 1970s before Dr. A.Q. Khan. The writer is a senior Pakistani journalist affiliated with Karachi-based monthly, Newsline.

2005-07-05 00:00:00

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