Subj: Saudi nuclear ambitions may have involved Iraq
Date: 10/24/01 8:22:01 PM Pacific Daylight Time

Saudi nuclear ambitions may have involved Iraq

Are the Saudis financing an Iraqi bomb?

It's a question that's on the mind of U.S. intelligence
sources reviewing the assets of Saudi fugitive Osama Bin
Laden and his allies. The concern is that Riyad has quietly
obtained nuclear components and technology from Bin Laden
and even Iraq in exchange for billions of dollars in

At first glance, the concern seems fantastic. But Bin Laden
is known to have engaged in nuclear research and is believed
to have been developing a bomb in his laboratories in

The Iraqi connection is more intriguing. Saudi opposition
sources have been warning the United States since 1994 that
Riyad has paid billions of dollars to Iraq for the
development of a nuclear weapon. The aim of the Saudi
funding was to obtain any nuclear weapon should Iraqi
development succeed.

The opposition sources said the Saudi payments began in 1985
and were stopped after Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
invaded Kuwait. It is improbable that the kingdom resumed
payments after the 1991 Gulf war, but the opposition sources
said Riyad had other friends — such as Bin Laden and

U.S. intelligence sources confirm that Saudi Arabia has long
eyed nuclear weapons as a way to bolster deterrence. They
said that for nearly a decade, the kingdom was debating
whether to build such a weapon amid efforts by Iraq and Iran
to obtain nuclear warheads.