Saudi Arabia has a covert missile base deep in the desert with capabilities of striking Iran and Israel, according to images analyzed by experts at the British publication IHS Jane’s Intelligence Review.
Photographs of the base — located at al-Watah, approximately 125 miles southwest of Riyadh, and the capital — showed two launch pads, one pointing north towards Tel Aviv and another northeast towards Tehran. They are designed for Saudi Arabia arsenal of DF-3 missiles, which can carry a two-ton payload and have a range of between 1,500 and 2,500 miles.
Analysts at HIS Jane’s believe that Saudi Arabia is currently working to upgrade its missiles, even though the DF3 is potentially large enough to carry an atomic device, the London Telegraph reported.
The Chinese-made missiles, which date back to the 1980s, are not remotely guided. As a result, they must be positioned in the direction of their target before being fired.
“Our assessment suggests that this base is either partly or fully operational, with the launch pads pointing in the direction of Israel and Iran respectively,” said Robert Munks, deputy editor at IHS Jane’s Intelligence Review. “We cannot be certain that the missiles are pointed specifically at Tel Aviv and Tehran themselves, but if they were to be launched, you would expect them to be targeting major cities.”
While it would be a mistake to make a lot of inferences about royal kingdom’s strategy, “clearly, Saudi Arabia does not enjoy good relations with either Iran or Israel,” Munks added.
A confidential diplomatic cable leaked during the WikiLeaks disclosures in 2010 said that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had repeatedly exhorted Washington to launch strikes against Iran’s nuclear program and “cut off the head of the snake.”
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