Posted by: sean | November 6, 2007

A nuclear Middle East

Akiva Eldar has a very non-explicit opinion piece in Ha’aretz about the nuclear weapons in the Middle East. I have the feeling that Israeli laws on its “secret” nuclear program prevent him from being more explicit, but he nonetheless poses a question that I’ve been asking for some time now:

How can a country, which according to endless foreign reports has kept secret for years several atomic weapons, manage to rally the international community in a struggle against a neighboring country that insists on acquiring nuclear energy? What do Israeli politicians answer to those asking why Iran should not be allowed to acquire the same armaments that are already in the arsenals of neighboring countries, like Pakistan and India? The common response is that “Iran is the sole country whose president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, declares openly that he intends to destroy the state of Israel.” This argument is a double-edged sword, par excellence, used by a country that sports a radiant nuclear glow (according to foreign press reports, of course), and who has a senior minister, one assigned to dealing with strategic threats, who has threatened to bomb the Aswan Dam.

Again without being explicit, he calls for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East, but he says that this should be done “when the conflict is resolved,” which seems a little too much like waiting for Godot to me. History has shown that countries that get the bomb are very unlikely to give it up (with the exception of South Africa). So if Israel waits until Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Jordan all have the bomb, a nuke-free Middle East will never happen, because while the chances of Israel giving up the bomb seem slim, the chances of getting all those other states to give it up are nil.   

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Responses

  1. […] said it before, and I’ll say it again: eventually, either nobody has nukes in the middle east, or everybody […]


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