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Saudi-Pakistan relations 13, March 2015

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Saudi Arabia.
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As an update to the Saudi to borrow some troops from Pakistan article I wrote earlier this week, there is an interesting article in Dawn from one of its former editors. Discussing the $1 billion gift that was given to Sharif after his ascension to office, it discusses – to my mind at least – the most plausible ways that this gift could be reciprocated.

The latest such reports suggest that now the Saudis are seeking three things from Pakistan. One, the provision of a ‘nuclear’ cover if Iran does actually make such weapons and two support and assistance to anti-Iran terrorist groups such as Jundullah and freedom to it to operate from Pakistani soil in Balochistan.

Lastly, it is being suggested, the Saudis also want Pakistani troops to check any possible advance by IS from its strongholds in Iraq and also to keep an eye on its restive eastern regions.

I am always aware of succumbing to the conspiracy-fueled nature of the Middle East where agendas within agendas are a part of the basic discourse. But this whole Saudi-Pakistan nuclear sharing idea seems to make a lot of sense to me. Given the deep, paranoid suspicions of Iran and the belief on the Arab side of the Gulf that Iran is nigh-on certain to be simply playing with America, their security fears are acute and will be even more pointed if an agreement goes ahead and the whiff of the ‘pivot to Asia’ rhetoric grows. Equally, there is no real drama in obtaining some notional nuclear umbrella ‘cover’. That Saudi might ‘hold’ a nuclear weapon like Israel – not announcing it but making it perfectly clear to those concerned that it has one – would strike me as a lovely, and potentially effective, irony of sorts.

As for the second option of Pakistan and Saudi cooperating to support insurgent groups, when did that ever go wrong?