Saudi Arabia plans to purchase different kinds of weapons and ammunition from Israel in the near future, informed sources disclosed on Wednesday.
“The Saudi intelligence apparatus provides important and sensitive information to Israel, specially in relation to its surrounding environment and Saudi Arabia has signed several contracts with Israel to purchase new weapons from Tel Aviv,” informed sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Palestine-based Arabic-language Al-Manar weekly.
Some reports by Israel indicate that Tel Aviv has mutual cooperation with Riyadh in different areas, specially in security fields.
Last month David Kenner said in an article released by the US think-tank, Foreign Polic,y that Saudi Arabia has struck a deal with the US over the purchase of a huge cargo of anti-tank missiles, the US media said, adding that Riyadh plans to send the hi-tech military weapons to militant groups in Syria.
“No one is expecting a tank invasion of Saudi Arabia anytime soon, but the kingdom just put in a huge order for US-made anti-tank missiles that has Saudi-watchers scratching their heads and wondering whether the deal is related to Riyadh’s support for the Syrian rebels,” Kenner said in mid December.
“The proposed weapons deal, which the Pentagon notified Congress of in early December, would provide Riyadh with more than 15,000 Raytheon anti-tank missiles at a cost of over $1 billion,” he added.
Kenner then asked why Saudi Arabia should pay such huge amount of money for anti-tank missiles, while it is not facing an imminent threat of war from its neighbors or any other country.
“But one Saudi ally could desperately use anti-tank weapons — the Syrian rebels,” he says.
Kenner further points to the history of the Saudi aid to the rebels in Syria, reminding that “it previously purchased anti-tank weapons from Croatia and funneled them to anti-Assad fighters, and it is now training and arming Syrian rebels in Jordan”.
“Charles Lister, a London-based terrorism and insurgency analyst, said that rebels have also received as many as 100 Chinese HJ-8 anti-tank missiles from across the border with Jordan — and indeed, many videos show Syrian rebels using this weapon against Bashar al-Assad’s tanks,” he added.
“But while the latest American anti-tank weapons might not be showing up in Aleppo anytime soon, that doesn’t mean the deal is totally disconnected from Saudi efforts to arm the Syrian rebels. What may be happening, analysts say, is that the Saudis are sending their stockpiles of anti-tank weapons bought from elsewhere to Syria and are purchasing US missiles to replenish their own stockpiles,” Kenner said.
“I would speculate that with an order of this size, the Saudis were flushing their current stocks in the direction of the opposition and replacing them with new munitions,” said Charles Freeman, a former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
Kenner added that purchasing weapons is not the main strategy behind the deal, and Saudi princes want at same time to pretend that they are the America’s main ally in the region, in a situation that they fear US-Iran thaw could undermine their power.
“There was a (Washington) lobbyist who used to say, ‘When you buy US weapons, you’re not just buying the weapon — you’re buying a relationship with the United States,’” said William Hartung, the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy.
In December 2012, sources announced that the Saudi officials have struck large arms deals with the US and Britain in anticipation of an impending revolution in their country.
“The Saudi authorities are concerned about the spread of popular protests and are, hence, preparing themselves for massive clampdown on public protests and uprising not just in the Eastern region, but also in Central, Southern and Western parts,” Executive Director and Founder of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia Ali Al-Yami said.
He pointed out that popular movements and unrests are going on in Saudi Arabia today as people demand their forgotten and ignored legitimate rights.
Yami said Saudi rulers are also fearful that the current revolutions in the neighboring countries might spread to Saudi Arabia and have, thus, sent troops and weapons to their regional allies to defend them against their nations’ protests, an instance of which could readily be seen in Bahrain, where Saudi tanks, armored vehicles and troops have been in the streets to suppress the people.