West Asia on the path to nuclear proliferation

West Asia on the path to nuclear proliferation

PEJOURNAL – A recent report from CSIS on the think tank’s “nuclear program” lists the trends that lead to the development of nuclear weapons, claiming that US misguided policies have encouraged Turkey and Saudi Arabia in West Asia to pursue nuclear weapons technology.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies ( CSIS ) was established in 1962 with a focus on areas related to US national security. The think tank’s board of trustees is currently headed by Thomas Pritzker, a major American financier and hotelier. John Hammer, who served as Deputy Secretary of Defense from 1993 to 1997, also manages the complex.

The report initially states that there are three factors that can motivate governments to pursue nuclear weapons: security threats such as India against Pakistan and the Zionist regime against the Arabs; Radical nationalism of leaders to attract public opinion to foreign ambitions such as the nuclear programs of Egypt under Nasser and Iraq under Saddam, and finally internal rivalries such as those of Brazil and Argentina dominated by right-wing military governments.

The authors argue that the US-led West has a number of unilateral and multilateral tools to strengthen its “nuclear non-proliferation” architecture: international and regional safeguards and agreements (Russia), economic incentives (South Korea), IAEA sanctions and sanctions. Security (North Korea), security threats (Iran) and even military strikes (Iraq and Syria).

Arms and nuclear proliferation trends in West Asia

The authors have called the Trump administration’s foreign policy disrupting the collective policies of Western hegemony and, in some cases, major powers in the Security Council, to prevent nuclear programs in the world from being targeted military purpose.

The U.S. administration’s foreign behavior in withdrawing from multilateral treaties and favorable Western international order, such as reducing commitments to NATO or withdrawing from the JCPOA, as well as intensifying security rivalries with China in the Far East and the Resistance Front in West Asia, are two important components that have challenged classic U.S. and allied policies. In line with Trump’s “America First” policy, seven trends lead to nuclear proliferation in the world.

First, regional escalation: U.S. commitments to treaties and agreements on nuclear arms control and mass destruction, including the JCPOA, have led Russia to expand its missile program and China’s nuclear arsenal. Geopolitical tensions strengthen the self-help approach in governments to strengthen their deterrence.

Second, the lack of U.S. security guarantees: The lack of sufficient U.S. commitment to ensuring the security of its allies has led some of these governments to seek to secure themselves by acquiring nuclear power, relying on the principle of self-help. Britain, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan are among the countries that have already abandoned their nuclear program because of U.S. security support and may now resume it more quickly.

Third; The Rise of Authoritarian Leaders: Some authoritarian leaders, by propagating right-wing nationalism, seek to stimulate public opinion in support of nuclear ambitions in order to further guarantee the survival of their power. They use nuclear weapons not only to counter external threats but also to suppress internal opposition. The will of Victor Urban in Hungary and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil to expand their nuclear program is in line with this.

Fourth, violations of arms control treaties: Since the Cold War, the United States and Russia have sought to conclude treaties to reduce their nuclear weapons, thus preventing other allied governments in both the East and West from producing nuclear weapons. However, the two countries’ recent tendency toward deterrence policy violated the Missile Range Reduction Treaty and suspended the New Start Treaty. This led to the audacity of India and Pakistan to increase their nuclear warheads.

Fifth, the decline of U.S. competition in the nuclear market: The United States previously monopolized the sale of nuclear energy, allowing the buyer to press for a commitment to the military non-strains of its nuclear program. But America’s weakness in maintaining this monopoly and other countries entering the market has led buyers to tend to sellers who are less willing to make such commitments. Customers even like Egypt and UAE, who are allies of the United States.

Sixth; Reducing the Impact of US Sanctions: The United States’ excessive use of sanctions has made the tool less effective in reducing or suspending nuclear programs with a military approach. As in the past, the sanctions have been effective in persuading Libya to shut down its nuclear program. But now, on the one hand, the Trump administration’s extremist approach to imposing sanctions on Iran has rendered it ineffective, and on the other hand, its non-use against its allies’ nuclear program has undermined the legitimacy of those sanctions.

Seventh; US’s strategic rivalry with Russia and China: Washington’s rivalry with Moscow and Beijing has left the three no longer cooperating on arms control programs and turning a blind eye to their allied nuclear programs. These include China’s support for North Korea’s nuclear program and the United States’ disregard for Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

The report further assessed the U.S. performance in strengthening the status of these trends, which have led to military strains of nuclear programs in West Asia on turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia: The Saudi government, has long dreamed of a large-scale nuclear program in West Asia. Saudi Arabia’s will to build nuclear reactors dates back to 2011, but a lack of internal consensus on the importance and necessity of the program delayed it.

Until 2015, he began construction of the first research reactor, which will be completed in 2020. Yet no country, not even the United States, has been willing to commit to helping Saudi Arabia build its nuclear fuel cycle. Because Bin Salman refused to accept the Additional Protocol and the inspection of the Atomic Energy Agency. There are speculations that Pakistan may cooperate with Saudi Arabia in this regard.

Turkey: Turkey’s peaceful nuclear program began in 1955, among the firsts in West Asia with medical and scientific applications, but due to lack of specialized manpower and technical equipment, it has not yet been able to fully achieve the nuclear fuel cycle. The first Turkish research reactor was commissioned by the United States and it is now said that the first Turkish reactor will be prepared by Russia by 2023. Turkey’s presence in NATO and its commitments to this Western military institution will create problems in its access to nuclear weapons.

The table below shows the status of the trends in the development of the two countries’ nuclear program.

ProcessSaudi ArabiaTurkey
Increased regional tension  Tibetan battle with Iran in Yemen, Syria and Iraq2020 Volkswagen Passat Revealed in Sketches, Will Be Released
Lack of US security guaranteesU.S. participation in the JCPOA during the Oyama era, not reacting to the attack on Aramco, criticisms of the party’s attack on YemenUS refuses to extradite Abdullah Gulen US support for Syrian Kurds US opposition to buying 400 system from Russia
Authoritarian LeadersBin Salman’s Ambitions in Saudi Arabia’s 2030 ProgramArdghan’s religious nationalism grows against rivals
Ineffectiveness of control treatiesLack of transparency and lack of commitment to the NPT treatyTurkish government criticizes NPT’s discriminatory nature
U.S. in the nuclear marketPurchase of nuclear materials and equipment from France and South Korea    Russia builds reactor for Turkey
Reducing the impact of sanctionsU.S. not sanctioned for buying weaponsNo sanctions due to Turkey’s presence in NATO
Competition with Russia and ChinaJoint cooperation with China on nuclear programJoint cooperation with China in the nuclear deal


At the end of several proposed policies to halt the trends in West Asia, the report proposes a U.S. return to the JCPOA to curb Iran’s nuclear program, provide Saudi Arabia with a credible security guarantee, lower prices aimed at increasing U.S. competitiveness in the nuclear energy market, and replacing sanctions with other tools against rivals and even allies such as intelligence community actions.

Neglecting the Zionist regime’s nuclear arsenal and unconditional U.S. support for the regime is the biggest shortcoming of the report. The authors do not pay enough attention that many governments in the region, including Turkey, are concerned about the nuclear weapons of Israel more than Iran’s nuclear program, which is under the most intense international inspections. The reason for the approach of some regional powers towards a military nuclear program is also to create deterrence against this racist government. Therefore, without a knockout approach to the military programs of all regional actors, it is not possible to seek to control the nuclear weapons of other governments.

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