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North Korea Could Be Nuclear Weapon Genie for Middle East

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While Iran consistently insists it has never pursued the development of a nuclear bomb, “what if” speculations regularly stir up the internet; now one US magazine has come up with the idea that if Iran actually takes steps to create one, Saudi Arabia will want one too. And if that happens, North Korea will be willing to provide one.

It does not matter how hard Iran insists that it has never gone about developing a nuclear bomb, the mass media won’t give up its 'what if' speculations.

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In its most recent issue, an American bi-monthly international affairs magazine, The National Interest, published by the Center for the National Interest, has not only speculated as to which power would be the next to acquire the bomb, but which would be the next to sell one as well.

“No country is seen as more likely to go nuclear in response to Iran doing so than Saudi Arabia, Iran’s long-standing rival in the region,” the magazine states.

It goes on to suggest which country would be the one to sell.

“The general consensus has long held that Saudi Arabia would purchase off-the-shelf nuclear weapons from Pakistan,” it says.

However, it gives reasons why Islamabad won’t sell the weapon to Riyadh:

“To begin with, Pakistan already worries that its arsenal is too small to survive an Indian or American counterforce strike,” it reasons.

“Moreover, selling Saudi Arabia nuclear weapons would result in an unprecedented backlash from most of the international community, including both the United States and China, Pakistan’s major patrons. It would also enrage Iran, which is well-positioned to retaliate against Pakistan in numerous ways, from supporting separatists in Balochistan to further cozying up to India.”

The magazine however is convinced that the Saudis won’t drop the idea to obtain the bomb. And the next in line of potential sellers is…North Korea. 

And give its “number of compelling reasons to believe North Korea might be amenable to such a request.”

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The magazine assumes that “North Korea has a long track record of selling advanced military technology, like ballistic missiles, to numerous pariah nations” though based on “persistent (albeit largely unconfirmed) rumors that North Korea has provided Iran with nuclear technology, and Pyongyang also helped Syria build a nuclear reactor (which Israel destroyed in airstrikes in 2011).”

It also gives its reasons why, in its turn, “Saudi Arabia would be an extremely valuable patron for North Korea. “

It explains that while China has turned to a “more hardline stance against North Korea ever since Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, Pyongyang has been scrambling to find suitable replacements for China.”

The magazine easily discounted Russia, as “its growing financial woes will limit its ability to provide North Korea with enough economic assistance to offset the loss of Chinese aid”.

And South Korea, which “appears intent on limiting its economic relationship with North Korea absent significant concessions from Pyongyang on the latter’s nuclear program.”

And there Saudi Arabia steps in.

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“Unlike South Korea, Saudi Arabia is not overtly threatened by North Korea’s nuclear program. And unlike Russia, it does not face enormous financial difficulties.”

Besides, “Saudi Arabia is awash in petrodollars” which is enough to provide significant support to Pyongyang.

Another source of hard currency for Pyongyang could be a North Korean work force, sent to Saudi Arabia in exchange for bulk cash inflow.   And Saudi oil and natural gas could significantly reduce North Korea’s reliance on China for its energy needs.

All the above have led the magazine's political analysts to believe that North Korea will be the one to balance nuclear power in the Middle East.

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