First ever secret ballistic and nuclear missile facility unearthed in Saudi Arabia

First ever secret ballistic and nuclear missile facility unearthed in Saudi Arabia

ISLAMABAD - Saudi Arabia, already known as the world’s top importer of foreign-made ballistic missiles, has started building its first missile production factory near the central town of Al-Watah, The Washington Post has quoted experts as saying.

In a Wednesday report, *The Post link* quoted leading experts as saying that satellite imagery dating back to November appears to show Saudi Arabia's debut ballistic missile factory located at an existing missile base near Al-Watah.

This would reportedly be the first known instance of Saudis manufacturing the weapons indigenously, after importing foreign-made ballistic missiles for years.

The photos were discovered by Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear weapons expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and founder of the Arms Control Wonk blog, and his team. link [image: View image on Twitter] link: View image on Twitter] link

link Jeffrey Lewis ✔@ArmsControlWonk link link

From bone-saws to ballistic missiles. Satellite images taken by @planetlabs link seem to show that Saudi Arabia has constructed a solid-fuel missile plant. Story by @PaulSonne link. Analysis by yours truly, @missile_manyak link and @DaveSchmerler link. -security/can-saudi-arabia-produce-ballistic-missiles-satellite-imagery-raises-suspicions/2019/01/23/49e46d8c-1852-11e9-a804-c35766b9f234_story.html … link 4:10 AM - Jan 24, 2019 link

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The photos raise "the possibility that Saudi Arabia is going to build longer-range missiles and seek nuclear weapons," according to *The Post*. Lewis said that "we may be underestimating their desire and their capabilities."

The findings were further confirmed by Michael Elleman of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies and Joseph Bermudez of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Media reports of a Saudi ballistic missile base in Al-Watah first surfaced in the form of an article published in July 2013 by IHS Jane's *Defense Weekly*. The site revealed satellite imagery that appeared to show surface-to-surface missile sites being constructed to accommodate the deployment of Chinese Dongfeng DF-3A intermediate-range ballistic missiles, purchased in the 1980s during the war Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein imposed on Iran.

Saudi Arabia publicly unveiled its DF-3A arsenal for the first time during a military parade in April 2014. That same year, *Newsweek* reported link that the CIA helped facilitate a secret deal to allow Saudi Arabia to buy improved Chinese DF-21 missiles in 2007.

Last year, the Saudi foreign minister threatened that the kingdom will make nuclear bombs if the Islamic Republic of Iran moves to develop an atomic weapons program.

“We have made it very clear that if Iran acquires a nuclear capability we will do everything we can to do the same,” Saudi Arabia’s former Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said in May 2018.