By Walid Shoebat
Intelligence provided to U.N. nuclear officials shows that Iran’s government has mastered the critical steps needed to build a nuclear weapon, receiving assistance from foreign scientists to overcome key technical hurdles, according to Western diplomats and nuclear experts briefed on the findings which was reported by CBS. Saudi Arabia is not standing by, you have the large demand by Saudi Arabia, The Gulf States and Turkey to provide smart weapons to be shipped rapidly which exceeds US industry’s current capacity. What do these Arab states need thousands of sophisticated precision-guided munitions which includes the notorious BLU-109 penetrator warheads for the 2,000 lb-class weapons?
The US has cleared a sale of more than 19,000 smart bombs for Saudi Arabia, a week after key allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) raised concerns over an excuse of dwindling supplies of weapons.
Congress has 30 days to block the sale but is unlikely. If cleared by Congress, the sale, which could be worth up to $1.29 billion, would provide a wave of advanced munitions to a Saudi military. The claim for such a huge purchase is that Saudi Arabia has been conducting airstrikes in Syria and Yemen for several months. However, there is no way that the Saudis need major bunker busters to kill ISIS’s scattered Jihadis or Yemeni Houthis on the battle ground. For example, Saudi Arabia is purchasing 12,000 general purpose bombs weighing between 500 and 2,000 pounds from which 1,500 are the devastating type: 2,000-pound “bunker busters,” the BLU-109 penetrator.
What is missing in the deal for Saudi Arabia is the GBU-28 or the GBU-43 MOAB, which can penetrate underground fortifications (60 feet of concrete). Is this likely to deal with Iran’s nuclear facilities?
However, Israel got the GBU-28 which was supplied in secret to Israel in 2009, reversing a long-standing American refusal to sell the weapons to Jerusalem. If Saudi Arabia secures Israeli assistance, the 5,000-pound laser-guided bombs could be used in a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, though analysts say the weapon would be too small to take out Iran’s Fordo nuclear site which is buried under 300 feet of rock. The Pentagon has been testing a 30,000 pound bunker-buster which could reportedly penetrate Fordo, but the Obama administration has refused to sell the weapon to Israel and is not on the Saudi deal.
While destroying Fordo would be a difficult endeavor and must ensure that the bombs would be able to drill through both the side of the mountain and the facility’s hardened shell before detonating, the task might still be completed, but not without possibilities of failure. The problem is that while the BLU-109 are powerful weapons, it’s not certain that they are actually powerful enough to blast through the thick layers of earth and concrete surrounding Natanz and (especially) Fordo. A strike with these weapons might destroy the facilities; but then again, it might not. The BLU-109, for instance, is rated to penetrate around six feet of concrete — but Natanz facility (30-plus feet of earth) it might need several hits to complete a drill process. A 2006 study of the problem by researchers at MIT’s Security Studies Program argued for example, that taking out Natanz with BLU-113s is possible, but only in a large-scale strike involving 80+ warheads to drill into the facilities. It is no wonder why Saudi Arabia purchased 1,500 of these drill puppies which does not include the purchase by the Gulf states.
The only problem is that if Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States decide to take on such a mission is that failure would create a Pearl Harbor effect in which Iran could retaliate and nuke Saudi Arabia when it gains its nukes.
Such deals arming Saudi Arabia is using the war on ISIS as an excuse. As we have argued for a while, ISIS comes in really handy for all sorts of nations to be armed to the teeth from the Middle East to Japan’s desire to reverse its status quo to become a military superstate. Using ISIS as major excuse, the U.S. is also arming the Gulf nations to a point that it raises red flags on munition levels.