This comes after US Democratic lawmakers have launched an inquiry into US President Donald Trump's plan to transfer sensitive US nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. The news comes after Trump met nuclear power developers at the White House on February 12th to discuss the plan to build nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East.
Sputnik discussed the US plans to sell nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia with Dr Mohammed Nuruzzaman, Associate Professor of International Relations at the Gulf University for Science and Technology in Kuwait.
Sputnik: What's your take on the reports about the Trump administration's plan to build nuclear reactors in the Middle East; after all, it's a very sensitive subject matter and region.
So that's not really new news, but what's new is the transfer of so-called sensitive technology to Saudi Arabia. That means this technology may be diverted to the production of nuclear weapons, and this has been discussed in the White House with President Trump as the report says, and this is going to shake up the whole region again. In the Middle East, this might create new tensions in the immediate and near future.
Sputnik: Who benefits the most from this Trump administration plan to build a nuclear reactor or numbers of nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia? After all, you did mention and it's been on the news that Saudi Arabia wants to develop its energy sector, how feasible is it, given the sensitivity then?
If you come down to Saudi Arabia, of course, there are many different powerful princes that would like to have a say in the possible process of nuclear technologies, payments, etc. It goes both ways, there're very powerful international groups and powerful insiders who are looking to make money, though. In Saudi Arabia, nuclear reactors have been justified in the name of pushing economic development, accelerating the pace of development throughout the Kingdom and they're probably connected to Vision 2030.
So Saudi Arabia is simply taking advantage. And possibly it would also project itself as the most powerful Muslim country in the world and bring the attention of the Sunni Muslim world in particular. So these are the different interests associated with this nuclear issue here.
Sputnik: What's your feeling, Mohammed, do you think this deal will be struck? Do you think it will be concluded and it will be conducted and carried through? I think there is a lot of surprise with this particular deal going through, bearing in mind the death of the journalist Khashoggi in the Turkish Embassy a few months ago, but having said that, the ties of the USA and Saudi Arabia have remained quite strong, haven't they? So you think this deal will be concluded?
Once Congress has actually stepped in, it has launched an investigation to find out the people responsible for it, and what implications it might create for the world as a whole. There is less and less possibility because the Trump administration will not be able to conclude a nuclear deal, including sensitive nuclear technologies transfer to Saudi Arabia.
Secondly, you also have to consider the case of Israel, because Israel is actually opposed to any Middle Eastern country to have this particular nuclear option because its security is not granted in that case. Saudi Arabia and Israel are inching closer towards each other.
So you can expect Israel not to play a passive role and it might be very difficult for the Trump administration to come up with some kind of a final deal with the Saudis. And even if it happens, not in the near future, maybe in the distant future, but nothing can be said with guarantees.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr Mohammed Nuruzzaman and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.