Ha’aretz has an interview with King Abdullah of Jordan. In it, he confirms that Jordan is thinking about starting a nuclear program:
“[T]he rules have changed on the nuclear subject throughout the whole region. Where I think Jordan was saying, ‘we’d like to have a nuclear-free zone in the area,’ after this summer, everybody’s going for nuclear programs.
“The Egyptians are looking for a nuclear program. The GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] are looking at one, and we are actually looking at nuclear power for peaceful and energy purposes. We’ve been discussing it with the West.
“I personally believe that any country that has a nuclear program should conform to international regulations and should have international regulatory bodies that check to make sure that any nuclear program moves in the right direction.”
In other words, you’re saying that you expect Israel to join the NPT [non-proliferation treaty].
“What’s expected from us should be a standard across the board. We want to make sure this is used for energy. What we don’t want is an arms race to come out of this. As we become part of an international body and its international regulations are accepted by all of us, then we become a united front.”
This sort of a nuclear proliferation in the Middle East was obvious but not inevitable. (I’ve brought it up before here and here.) As I’ve mentioned before, the Middle East should be a nuclear free zone, but since Pakistan, India and Israel all have nuclear weapons (and Iran is most likely doing it’s best join the club), it seems inevitable that the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and now Jordan will follow suit.
Such an explosive region is already problematic, but I find the prospect of all the players being armed with nuclear weapons more than a little disconcerting.