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The International Writers Magazine: Middle-East Politics

A Nuclear Middle-East
• Marwan Asmar
Israel must be brought to count. It's really no good for the international community to turn a blind eye to her nuclear weapons and capability while it expects other nations to unravel their stockpiles and forces international inspection and monitoring upon them as if it is the right thing to do.


Of course that is, but there must not be double standards, either you treat everyone the same, or let them go their separate ways. Hell or high water, the dictum must be that either everyone submits to international inspection or none at all. It's no good saying this country is democratic and this is not or this state is republican and the other totalitarian. They all operate in the interest of their national and international securities and have perceptions about themselves, their international relations and foreign policy.

Last week's vote by the UN International Atomic and Energy Authority (IAEA) to vote against the Egyptian resolution to hold Israel accountable for its nuclear weapons and the inspection of its Dimona nuclear facility is down-heartening. It borders on the facile and hypocritical, it reinforces age-old attitudes about "us" and "them". Everyone knows including the United States, Britain, France, Germany and all the countries of the European Union who voted against the resolution that Israel has nuclear capability to blow the world several times over and none would be the wiser.

Surely it would be better for everyone to get off their high moral horse and just call a spade-a-spade and to stop meandering about a vital issue that could kill everyone at an instant. Countries, policy-makers and people should stop pretending that we are happy and look at the hard-hitting realities of our age and its injustices.

If anything Israel has been the happy-go-lucky player in the international system relying on its American friend for almost blind support and unfortunately no questions asked. It has long practiced what it calls its policy of "nuclear ambiguity" of neither denying nor confirming the fact it possess nuclear weapons and many have been happy with that.

However such a policy is indeed unfortunate as many international experts, and Israelis, if you push them, and if they are not afraid of prosecution by the government, casually say the young, nuptial Zionist state, is indeed a major nuclear power and has long become so. I know the word major is relative here, for nuclear weapons are deadly no matter how much they are, Israel is estimated to have between 200 and 400 nuclear warheads, they could be more. It's actually a high-flying super-power, and not a sitting lame-duck state as it often portrays itself with Arab neighbors ready to drag into the sea.

In the light of all this, it's really hypocritical as well when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comes out and carries what tantamount to personal and a Likudist crusade against the nuclear deal made by the United States and other western powers with Iran over the management of its nuclear program.
It's indeed like saying I can have nuclear weapons but others can't because I am more capable of looking after them than you are and my safety procedures are more stringent than you are while discounting the fact that I am more moral-minded, rational and western-oriented than you are. Such thinking running in the minds of Netanyahu and his ilk are indeed pernicious, outright racist and plain hogwash and they have got to stop.

Of course, and because we live in a hard-hitting world and it would be hard to avoid the politics of it all, the last IAEA vote over Israel's nuclear weapons and inspection actually increased in support as 61 voted the resolution down as opposed to 45 for the resolution. It is said Netanyahu is extremely happy, and why wouldn't he be, but it's actually sad in a way because it shows the world continues to be divided not only along a cold war axis but traditional Israeli friends like Turkey are also in favor of holding the former state accountable while the same goes for South Africa which is also putting the pressure on along with Russia and China of course.  

Although the vote is taken annually and introduced by Egypt, a traditional American friend, one can't discount the feelings that this time around western powers probably wanted to extend a cheerful hand to the Israelis because of its strong rejection of the Iran nuclear deal and this maybe cynically compounded by the fact that Israel is already a nuclear state and nothing can be done about it. Pandering to them in the IAEA is a normal part of the exercise for the reality is not going away of Israel not having any weapons of mass destruction.

The problem with that also it becomes an excuse for other countries to have nuclear weapons and opens the road to proliferation which is already the case with North Korea, India and Pakistan. Regionally as well Egypt long toyed with the idea of having nuclear capability, now Saudi Arabia is actively thinking about the issue too with countries like France and possibly Russia waiting to be courted in the limelight. So in the end, possessing nuclear capability become a free-for-all. At first superpowers, then great powers then everyone. Hurrah. 

© Mawan Asmar October 2015

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