A Middle East free of nuclear weapons:possible, probable or pipe-dream?
PATRICIA M. LEWIS
International Afairs
 
89
: 2 (2013) 433–450©
2013 The Author(s). International Afairs © 2013 The Royal Institute o International Afairs. Published by Blackwell Publishin
gLt, 9600 Garsingtn Ra, Or ox4 2dq, UK an 350 Main Street, Malen, MA 02148, USA.
T ate, n cuntry in the Mile East has eclare a nuclear weapns capability.In itsel, that is a remarkable act. Over recent years, a lay reaer cul be rgivenr thinking that n ther regin were prlierating nuclear weapns an that thenly cuntry  prlieratin cncern in the Mile East is Iran. Yet the mstrecent cuntry t evelp nuclear weapns capabilities is Nrth Krea, whichis als evelping a lng-range missile capability with sme success. In the late1990s, Inia an Pakistan eclare their lng-hel nuclear weapns prgrammesthrugh a series  nuclear weapns tests. An ve states—China, France, Russia,the Unite Kingm an the Unite States—retain an cntinue t evelptheir nuclear weapns stckpiles, espite the en  the Cl War an signicantcncerns abut nuclear terrrism an prlieratin.It is wiely believe that Israel has a ully ege, eliverable nuclear weapnsarsenal; but this cannt be cnrme because the Israeli prgramme is shrue insecrecy an Israel’s state plicy is that it will ‘nt be the rst t intruce’ nuclearweapns int the regin.
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Nnetheless, there are ew wh ubt the eistence  Israeli nuclear weapns—particularly since the epsure  the prgramme bytechnician Mrechai Vanunu in 1986.
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Ira came very clse t cnstructing a wrkable nuclear weapn, but itshaphazar military prgramme was halte by the cnseuences  the isastrusattack n Kuwait in 1990 an the subseuent ceasere reslutin in the UN SecurityCuncil,
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which establishe the UN Special Cmmissin (UNSCOM). The Inter-natinal Atmic Energy Agency (IAEA), wrking uner UNSCOM’s pwers  investigatin, uncvere a well-evelpe Irai nuclear weapns prgramme in1991 an ismantle it cmpletely. UNSCOM als estrye almst all  Ira’schemical capability, an Ira itsel perrme the same task r its bilgicalweapns prgramme in spring 1991.Cncerns abut the lng-term intentins  Iran an its technical an materialcapabilities have been grwing ver the last tw ecaes. In recent years there
1
Avner Chen,
The worst-kept secret: Israel’s bargain with the bomb
(New Yrk: Clumbia University Press, 2010).
2
‘Reveale: the secrets  Israel’s nuclear arsenal’,
Sunday Times
, 5 Oct. 1986, pp. 1, 4–5; http://www.vanunu.cm/uscampaign/phts.html, accesse 11 Feb. 2013.
3
UNSC Reslutin 687, apte by the Security Cuncil at its 2981st meeting n 3 April 1991, http://www.as.rg/news/un/ira/sres/sres0687.htm, accesse 11 Feb. 2013.
 
Patricia M. Lewis
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International Afairs
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2013 The Author(s). International Afairs © 2013 The Royal Institute o International Afairs.
has been an increasing number  ifculties between the IAEA an Iran. InNvember 2012, the irectr general  the IAEA state that ‘the Agency isunable t prvie creible assurance abut the absence  uneclare nuclearmaterial an activities in Iran, an therere t cnclue that all nuclear materialin Iran is in peaceul activities’.
4
In 2006, the UN Security Cuncil, manateby Reslutin 1737,
5
which prhibits all Iranian enrichment-relate an repr-cessing activities, an subseuent reslutins, establishe a cmmittee t ensurethe maintenance  an embarg n prlieratin-sensitive nuclear an ballisticmissile prgrammes technlgies; a ban n the eprt/prcurement  any armsan relate materiel rm Iran; a ban n the supply  seven specie categries cnventinal weapns an relate materiel t Iran; an a travel ban an assetsreeze n esignate persns an entities. The assets reeze als applies t anyiniviuals r entities acting n behal , r at the irectin , the esignatepersns an entities, an t entities wne r cntrlle by them.
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There remain cncerns ver Syria’s capabilities an intentins in bth nuclearan chemical weapnry, an the civil war in Syria has eacerbate cncerns abutthe ptential use  chemical weapns. Fears ver Libya have abate since theiscvery in 2003  an embrynic nuclear prgramme an a chemical weapnscapability that has nw been turne ver t the Organizatin r the Prhibi-tin  Chemical Weapns (OPCW). In 2004 the IAEA apte a reslutin n‘Implementatin  the NPT Saeguars Agreement in Libya’ llwing Libya’secisin t eliminate ‘all materials, euipment an prgrammes leaing t thepructin  internatinally prscribe weapns—incluing nuclear weapns’an signe the Aitinal Prtcl n 10 March 2004.
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Other states in the regin ha, in the past, eschewe the nuclear weapnsptin, instea jining the Nuclear Nn-Prlieratin Treaty (NPT) with a viewt establishing a reginal security envirnment in the Mile East that was ntbase n nuclear weapns. Egypt in particular has le the intellectual an plit-ical thinking n this issue in the League  Arab States, an while it has twresearch reactrs has hithert nt chsen the path  nuclear energy. Hwever,that may be changing. In late 2012, Egypt’s electricity an energy minister SaaMahmu Balbaa annunce the preparatin  a reuest r prpsals (RFP), tbe presente t ptential investrs, n the establishment  Egypt’s rst nuclearpwer plant, with the aim  establishing ur pwer plants t pruce a ttal  4,000 MW by 2025.
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4
IAEA, ‘Reprt by the irectr general: implementatin  the NPT Saeguars Agreement an relevantprvisins  Security Cuncil reslutins in the Islamic Republic  Iran’, GOV/2012/55, 16 Nv. 2012,http://www.iaea.rg/Publicatins/Dcuments/Bar/2012/gv2012-55.p, accesse 11 Feb. 2013.
5
UNSC Reslutin 1737, apte by the Security Cuncil at its 5612th meeting n 23 Dec. 2006, http://www.un.rg/ga/search/view_c.asp?symbl=S/RES/1737(2006), accesse 11 Feb. 2013.
6
http://www.un.rg/sc/cmmittees/1737/, accesse 11 Feb. 2013.
7
‘Implementatin  the NPT Saeguars Agreement  the Scialist Peple’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,reslutin apte by the Bar n 10 March 2004’, GOV/2004/18, http://www.iaea.rg/Publicatins/ Dcuments/Bar/2004/gv2004-18.p, accesse 11 Feb. 2013.
8
‘Electricity minister: reuest r prpsal reay r rst nuclear plant’,
Egypt Independent
, 31 Dec. 2012, http:// www.egyptinepenent.cm/news/electricity-minister-reuest-prpsal-reay-rst-nuclear-plant, accesse11 Feb. 2013.
 
 A Middle East free of nuclear weapons
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International Afairs
89: 2, 2013Copyright ©
2013 The Author(s). International Afairs © 2013 The Royal Institute o International Afairs.
It is wrth nting als that Turkey’s interest in nuclear energy remains strngan that the cuntry is a base r US nuclear weapns; an that, n the ther sie the regin, the highly unstable state  Pakistan has a ully ege, eclarean peratinally eplyecapability.Other cuntries in the regin, incluing the Unite Arab Emirates, Jranan Saui Arabia, have been revisiting the pssibilities  civil nuclear energy,encurage t take this rute by cuntries such as the Unite States, the Republic Krea, France an Japan. There is n inicatin that these plans have anycnnectin t uture military prgrammes—inee, all states in the regin, withthe eceptin  Israel, are states parties t the NPT—but civil nuclear energycapabilities  enable military ptins later n, shul plitical calculatins alter.It is wrth nting that since the evastating tsunami in Japan in March 2011 an thesubseuent nuclear catastrphe at the Fukushima Daiichi pwer plant, a number states have put n hl r slwe wn their plans r nuclear energy. Theseinclue Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait an Oman.
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This article prvies an verview  the attempts t rganize an fcial reginalcnerence n a zne ree rm weapns  mass estructin (WMD) in the MileEast, as manate by the 2010 NPT review cnerence. The article attempts tescribe the cntet  that prcess in terms  reginal nuclear prgrammes, theevlutin  nuclear weapn-ree znes (NWFZs) an NPT plitics. In aitin,it utlines a set  recmmenatins r what might cnstitute a treaty, anprpses interim steps that wul supprt the establishment  a Mile EastWMD-ree zne, rawing n histrical preceents rm relevant cases.
The NWFZ: prevention and prohibition
The initial prpsal r an NWFZ in the Mile East was put rwar in 1962, bythe Cmmittee r the Denuclearizatin  the Mile East—a grup  highlyregare Israeli intellectuals uner the leaership  Eliezer Livneh an YeshayahuLeibwitz. The cmmittee, juging the evelpment  nuclear weapns ‘tcnstitute a anger t Israel an t peace in the Mile East’, urge the UniteNatins t intervene ‘t prevent military nuclear pructin’. It was rme in thehpe that Israel’s acuisitin  a nuclear weapns capability cul be restallean that a nn-prlieratin regime cul take hl in the Mile East. Thecmmittee was wun up llwing the Si Day War in 1967, but there remainsa strng stran  thinking, incluing an fcial plicy, within Israel supprtingthe ntin  a NWF Mile East, as evience by Israel’s annual UN GeneralAssembly vte in avur  such a zne.Cnitins r establishing an NWFZ in the Mile East were put rwar byEgypt at the UN General Assembly in 1963,
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an picke up later that ecae by
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Antn Khlpkv, ‘Prspects r nuclear pwer in the Mile East ater Fukushima an the Arab Spring’,Unite Natins Institute r Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), Nv. 2012, http://www.uniir.rg/p/ uvrages/p-1-92-9045-012-O-en.p, accesse 11 Feb. 2013.
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Mhamme Kary Sai, ‘Mile East weapns  mass estructin ree zne: reginal security annn-prlieratin issues’, in V. Cserveny et al.,
Building a weapons o mass destruction ree zone in the Middle East: global non-prolieration regimes and regional experiences
(Geneva: UNIDIR, 2004), p. 127.
 
Patricia M. Lewis
436
International Afairs
89: 2, 2013Copyright ©
2013 The Author(s). International Afairs © 2013 The Royal Institute o International Afairs.
Shah Mhamma Reza Shah Pahlavi  Iran.
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In 1974, spurre n by imprvingArab–Israeli relatins an the Inian nuclear weapn test that year, Iran an Egyptrmally table a jint UN General Assembly reslutin calling r the establish-ment  an NWFZ in the Mile East.
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The reslutin was apte by a majrity 138 vtes, with nly Israel an Burma abstaining.
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In its current rm, the reslutin invites all states in the regin t ahere tthe NPT, place all their nuclear activities uner IAEA saeguars, an—peningthe establishment  an NWFZ—nt t pruce, test, acuire r statin nuclearweapns n their territries, an states that a Mile East NWFZ ‘wul greatlyenhance internatinal peace an security’.The Egyptian–Iranian reslutin is apte each year; Israel jine thecnsensus n it rm 1980, as a irect result  the Egypt–Israel peace treatyan the aptin  a reginal rather than glbal apprach t nuclear plicy. Inprinciple, therere, all states in the Mile East epress supprt r a veriablereginal NWFZ.It is imprtant t nte, hwever, that there eists a majr cnceptual, strategican tactical ierence between Israel an the Arab states n what euphemisticallyis calle ‘seuencing’. What this means is that Israel believes that a WMD-reezne wul llw n rm a wier peace treaty that wul inclue ull recgni-tin  Israel by its neighburs, the remval  any aggressive threat an the estab-lishment  a stable security envirnment: ‘peace rst, zne secn’. The Arabstates, hwever, believe that peace cannt be achieve with a nuclear-arme Israelin the Mile East, an have t ate taken the view that peace wul llw thenegtiatin  a WMD-ree zne: ‘zne rst, peace secn’.
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Obviusly, thesemirrr images  security in the regin uickly enrce an impasse within anyreginal security iscussin an lie at the heart  why s many interlcutrsespair  ever unravelling the tangle knts  security ilemmas in the regin.Whether Aleaner riing t the rescue, swr in han, cul represent theArab Awakening remains t be seen. Certainly, changes in the regin are alteringrelatinships, perceptins, accuntabilities an pririties, an all this will havean impact n the characterizatin  the WMD-ree zne. It is uite pssiblethat, as uture thinking evelps, the security cncerns  the regin may leakey Arab states t ascertain that a peace treaty shul take pririty ver reginalnuclear isarmament. On the ther han, pressures an cncerns ver Iran anthe cnict in Syria cul lea Israel t change its lng-hel plicy an urgentlyeman a Mile East WMD-ree zne ahea  any ther treaty it may wish tsee. Stranger things have happene.
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Kathleen Teltsch, ‘Iran asks UN actin t keep regin ree  nuclear arms’,
New York Times
, 13 July 1974,http://www.iranaairs.cm/.share/image.html?/phts/uncategrize/2007/08/20/irannuclearreezne. jpg, accesse 11 Feb. 2013.
12
UN General Assembly Reslutin A/RES/3263 (XXIX), 29th sessin, ‘Establishment  a nuclear weapnree zne in the regin  the Mile East’, http://access-s-ny.un.rg/c/RESOLUTION/GEN/ NR0/738/65/IMG/NR073865.p?OpenElement, accesse 11 Feb. 2013.
13
Sai, ‘Mile East weapns  mass estructin ree zne’, p. 126.
14
Kelsey Davenprt, ‘WMD-ree Mile East prpsal at a glance’, Arms Cntrl Assciatin, Nv. 2012,http://www.armscntrl.rg/actsheets/mewmz#4, accesse 11 Feb. 2013.
 
 A Middle East free of nuclear weapons
437
International Afairs
89: 2, 2013Copyright ©
2013 The Author(s). International Afairs © 2013 The Royal Institute o International Afairs.
The NPT was negtiate in 1968 an entere int rce in 1970. Egypt wasne  the rst cuntries t sign the treaty when it pene r signature n 1 July 1968 an ratie in 1981, llwing the 1979 signing  the peace treaty withIsrael. Other Arab states an Iran i likewise, althugh it was nt until 1997, anthanks t tireless avcacy by Egypt, that all Arab states ha jine the NPT,leaving Israel alne in the regin t remain utsie the treaty. Glbal membership the NPT is nearly universal, with nly Inia, Pakistan an Israel never having jine it. Nrth Krea annunce its withrawal in 2003, althugh its legal statusis in ispute. In the agree review cuments, the states parties invariably call runiversalizatin  the treaty an plea with Inia, Israel an Pakistan t acceeas nn-nuclear weapn states.Article VII  the NPT is specically aime at encuraging NWFZs, enshrining‘the right  any grup  States t cnclue reginal treaties in rer t assurethe ttal absence  nuclear weapns in their respective territries’.
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Inee,the rst NWFZ in Latin America—the 1967 Treaty  Tlatellc—preates theNPT, as  the 1959 Antarctic Treaty, which prhibits nuclear eplsins anthe ispsal  raiactive waste material in Antarctica, an the 1967 Outer SpaceTreaty, which prhibits any bjects carrying nuclear weapns r any ther kins WMD being place in rbit arun the Earth r installe n celestial bies,r in uter space in any ther manner.Since 1968, several NWFZ treaties have been negtiate:
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the 1971 Sea-beTreaty; the 1986 Treaty  Rartnga (Suth Pacic); the 1995 Treaty  Bangkk(Suth-East Asia); the 1996 Treaty  Pelinaba (Arica); an the 2006 CentralAsian Nuclear-Weapn-Free Zne Treaty (smetimes calle the Treaty  Semip-alatinsk). In aitin, Mnglia accre itsel nuclear weapn-ree status unernatinal law in 2000, ntiying the Unite Natins by a rmal cmmuniué.
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In April 1990, Presient Hsni Mubarak  Egypt suggeste that the prpsalsr a NWFZ in the Mile East be etene t inclue all WMD (nuclear,chemical an bilgical weapns). The Mubarak prpsal stresse that all states the regin shul make eual an reciprcal cmmitments, an that verica-tin measures an malities shul be establishe t ensure ull cmpliance.
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Fllwing Ira’s brutal use  chemical weapns against Iran in the eight-yearwar rm 1980 t 1988, an als against the Kurs  bth Iran an Ira, anIra’s invasin  Kuwait, the subseuent ceasere reslutin apte in the UNSecurity Cuncil (UNSCR 687) in 1991 specically rames the actins t be takenby Ira as representing ‘steps twars the gal  establishing in the Mile East azne ree rm weapns  mass estructin an all missiles r their elivery an
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Treaty n the Nn-Prlieratin  Nuclear Weapns, http://www.un.rg/isarmament/WMD/Nuclear/ NPTtet.shtml, accesse 11 Feb. 2013.
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Patricia Lewis an William C. Ptter, ‘The lng jurney twar a WMD-ree Mile East’,
 Arms Control Today
, vl. 41, Sept. 2011, pp. 8–14.
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A/55/56, 29 Feb. 2000, http://www.un.rg/cuments/ga/cs/55/a5556.p, accesse 11 Feb. 2013.
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Fawzy H. Hamma an Ael M. Ali, ‘Principles  establishing a Mile East weapns  mass estructinree zne: mnitring an vericatin system’, in Cserveny et al.,
Building a weapons o mass destruction ree zonein the Middle East
, p. 89.
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