Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The Time is Now

| August 7, 2013


In a Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Roundtable on Banning WMD from the Middle East Mansour Salsabili of Iran, Ehud Eiran of Israel, Martin Malin of the United States, and Ayman Khalil of Jordan debate how the process of establishing a WMD-Free Zone can be revived—and what failure to revive it would mean, both for the Middle East and for the nonproliferation regime.

In Round Two, Ayman Khalil asked his fellow authors to weigh in on whether the effort to create a WMD-free zone in the Middle East is dead. My answer is this: The effort will continue, but the opportunity presented by the 2010 Review Conference for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) may be slipping out of reach.

Ambassador Wael al-Assad, who coordinates the arms control and disarmament positions of Arab League members, points out that states in the Middle East have only three options for responding to WMD threats: acquiescence, counterbalancing, or region-wide WMD elimination. The incentive to pursue a regional ban on WMDs will strengthen, I believe, because the alternatives are becoming ever more costly and dangerous. This is not only true for Iran and the Arab states but also for Israel, whose regional monopoly on nuclear capabilities is eroding....

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The entire Roundtable is available here:

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Malin, Martin B..“The Time is Now.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, August 7, 2013.