Middel East and the Non-proliferation Treaty

A point of View of an Arab American Catholic Esa Geo. Mogannam

The USA obliged the Arabs to sign the non-proliferation treaty when it permited to Israel not to sign it.

The nuclear club under the leadership of the United States has been active in promoting the idea that it is dangerous to increase the number of membership in the club , ergo have campaigned heavily in order to prevent future risks. A great deal of responsibility and self restraint are necessary to safeguard against hasty and irresponsible usage of this weapon.Leaders who are not ' cultured' in the scientific aspects of this weapon may be propelled by hatred of their enemy and may behave recklessly. They lack a necessary component : rational behavior. Recent pressures exerted on the North Koreans can only demonstrate the seriousness of the situation. Regional stability may be hampered if countries were to acquire such capability in this case North Korea.

The Middle East , on the other hand , the response of the nuclear club , especially its leader the United States, has been double standard to say the least. Pressures exerted are one-sided mainly on the Arab side; while Israel remains the only nuclear power hence enjoys absolute monopoly. The position of the United States has been congruent with the position of Israel namely : security guarantees for Israel. The United States government adopted the position that Israel requires such guarantees.

Arab countries , even those that are friendly to the western powers , are being strongly discouraged from acquiring such capability. The reason being it will introduce a destabilizing factor to the region. The Gulf States have signed on or have subscribed to this thinking. In the last summit held by the Arab League, foreign ministers of the league became aware of the Gulf states' position being lead by Saudi Arabia. Egypt has been pressing the idea that their signature to the treaty depends on the signature of Israel to the treaty. Israel has been adamant in its refusal to sign.

Egypt , on the other hand, saw the futility of its approach since it could not harness the support of its allies in the Arab League. Mubarak's recent visit to Washington more likely will emphasize foreign aid and skip his insistence that Israel become a party to the treaty. Contradictions among the Arab States are so pronounced even on such an important strategic issue. Reality being such bring greater reliance of the Arab States on western countries for protection , even though such security is paid for by petrodollars. Client states are obliged to dance to any tune that is played for them by the western powers. Possessing enormous wealth like the Gulf States , in the final analysis , is only effective when it comes to regional relationships, local muscle flexing. Power politics , on the other hand , conducted globally by the superpowers is cut and dry and least of all sentimental to things like justice and fairness.

Israel has managed to resist the pressures of the nuclear club without officially admitting to possessing such capability. The Western Powers have looked the other way when Israel's nuclear needs are concerned . The 1973 Yom Kippur War has demonstrated how close Israel came into utilizing its capability . The U.S. government was forced to replenish Israel's conventional capability in order to avoid such an outcome. The wisdom of such a policy is certainly short sighted , to say the least. How long the United States will manage to enforce such a policy remains to be seen ? It is well known that leaders in the Arab countries do not represent their constituents. The fate of such leaders inevitably will be similar to the fate of the Shah of Iran or Sadat . American policy in the Middle East should not be dictated solely by the interests of the state of Israel ; the United States has interests of its own , to continually pretend otherwise is illusory. The interests of the United States and Israel are not synonymous as some would like us to think.

The Middle East as a region should be free of nuclear weapons and so long as Israel possesses absolute monopoly will , in the long run, invite other states to do the same. Arab leaders feel dwarfed by seeing Israel with impunity and total disregard to the aspirations of its neighbors. Such behavior is basically rooted in possessing preponderance of power ; dictating the peace reflects this reality. Leaders in the Arab world have lied to their people for such a long time and indulged in wild rhetoric without restraint. Now they are compelled to face the music of power politics ; their people are bewildered and skeptical, hence feel betrayed. American policy coupled with Arab leadership, who are oblivious to reality, will eventually invite disaster to the region. Peace agreements, public relations on T.V. may look good and even provide temporary euphoria, however, this will not bring peace to the area as some would like us to believe.

The nuclear option , Israel believes, would provide deterrence and hence provide security is in fact an illusion.Western powers must recognize that the region must be free from nuclear weapons and remain conventional. Israel must be told without equivocation to sign on to the NPT without delay. This exercise of double standard by the western powers will not last long. Sooner or later Israel will not be permitted to enjoy such monopoly and unilateral nuclear capability. Use of nuclear weapons in an area like the Middle East is tantamount to regional suicide. The only security that is rational is to do away with this weapon from the M.E. national arsenals. National sovereign states with their continual desire to acquire power and retain it will do almost anything , regardless of the cost , to project their prestige and national pride. Regardless of the rationale for Israel to develop such a weapon ; introducing such a weapon to the area presents no justification moral or otherwise regardless of perceived security needs . Introducing the weapon to the region by Israel is an open invitation for other states to do the same. Israel being the recipient of so much foreign aid can hardly afford membership in the nuclear club.