Since the late 1980s. political and security developments in the world and the Middle East have markedly reduced the possibility that the strategically important and historically conflict-burdened region might become an arena for a nuclear crisis or even a nuclear war. A dire nuclear event might take one of these forms: a nuclear encounter or nuclear alert, such as that of 1973, involving the two atomic giants; or the use, or threat of employment, of nuclear weapons by the region's only "have" state, Israel, or by a new regional proliferant, or by both.
These leading changes have emerged: European communism's collapse and the Soviet Union's dissolution, thereby ending bipolarity and linked ideological feuds; the virtual termination of Moscow's politicomilitary clientism with such states as Iraq and Syria; an escalation in the giants' nuclear arms reductions; the defeat of aggressor Iraq, found to have been on a bomb-path, by a Western-Islamic coalition headed by the United States; a subsequent realignment of Mideast power markedly beneficial to Israel and the United States, leaving Iran as the only major rejectionist state; and the emergence of a many-sided Arab-Israeli peace process, yielding the Jericho-Gaza accord, the Israeli-Jordanian treaty, a possible Israeli-Syrian deal on the Golan Heights, and ongoing Israel-PLO talks.1 All of these developments appear to be irreversible.
The peace process could collapse because of one or more of these existing or potential conditions: Arab rejectionist violence, Islamic fundamentalism producing unfavorable fatwas, Likud-settler opposition to the Oslo pact, Jerusalem disputes, and imbalanced U.S. brokering. Kismet will have to be kind to sustain the process until next year's Israeli and U.S. elections. Yet even if the process halts before then or later, there is unlikely to be a return to militant pan-Arabism or protracted conflict between Israel and Arab regimes or rejectionists like Hamas which might seriously challenge the reconfiguration of forces emerging during and persisting after the 1990-91 Gulf conflict.
While one must prudently allow for the possibility of the United States exercising its extended nuclear deterrence in the Mideast, there are two immediate questions on the region's nuclear agenda. The first concerns the prospects for additional bomb spread by a "rogue," violating or renouncing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), applying safeguards through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This matter relates chiefly to Iraq, stripped by Security Council action of both its bomb-dedicated and civil nuclear assets, and to Iran, accused by the United States of having a crash proliferation program.
The second question focuses on the odds for rolling back or at least capping existing regional proliferation found only in nonNPT signatory Israel's considerable nuclear capabilities. Invoking the support of the United Nations and the five declared nuclear-weapon states (NWS) for universal NPT adherence, as well as considering their own political and security interests, Egypt and other regional states have recently increased their efforts to make the region bomb-free.
This paper offers an analysis of selected topics which bear on the two questions. The interplay of world and regional factors is a leading feature of the examination.
ARMS CONTROL AND DISARMAMENT MEASURES
Russia and the United States
Nuclear disarmament and antiproliferation opinion world-wide have been strengthened by the nuclear giants' steps to markedly reduce the symbolic and practical value of their nuclear arms. Many nonaligned and disarmament sources have considered these moves as long overdue, but a welcome start on the road to nuclear abolition, required of nuclear-weapon states (NWS) parties to the NPT.2 Russia and the United States have unilaterally withdrawn and dismantled thousands of tactical nuclear arms. The START I pact is legally in force, and its verification system is operating. The START II accord will slash START I's ceilings by about one-half, producing between 3,000 to 3,500 strategic nuclear warheads on each side by 2003. Communist and ultranationalist pressures on the weakened Yeltsin government may delay Russian ratification of START II, which the United States is ready to ratify.
The Department of Defense's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), completed in September 1994, held that the United States might make further reductions before the full implementation of START II; but the United States retained a hedge to return to a more robust nuclear level, should the Russian regime revert to an authoritarian, adversarial relationship with the United States.3 Budgetary, physical and political factors limit Russian and U.S. nuclear reduction capabilities.
While the NPR indicated that nuclear arms play a smaller role in U.S. security, it also held that U.S. nuclear doctrines would be retained, allowing last-resort use of nuclear arms against a non-nuclear attack on U.S. forces. This would be true even though the Soviet Union's dissolution has left the United States as the world's leading conventional military power, as well as its only nuclear superpower.
The NPR stand is antipodal to the advice of several arms-control advocates and former high-ranking military officers and defense officials. These sources recommend a U.S. policy holding that, in view of the radically altered world scene, U.S. nuclear arms should be used only as a deterrent against, and possible response to, nuclear assaults by others; this deterrent role could be performed by a few hundred nuclear arms, provided a stable democratic Russia is well established.4 The Union of Concerned Scientists and other groups urge a build-down to a global condition of zero nuclear arms, a goal most nonaligned states also seek on an accelerated schedule.
Persistent U.S. nuclear conservatism lends support to policy makers with similar views in Russia, in the second-tier NWS of China, France and the United Kingdom, and in the ad hoc bomb-states-India, Israel and Pakistan. Yet actual and projected Russian and U.S. nuclear cuts have functioned to (a) influence France and the United Kingdom to reduce their nuclear forces, even as they are being modernized; (b) provide a trend for all lesser bomb-nations to emulate; (c) discourage recourse to bomb-posturing; and (d) work against any temptations the three ad hoc bomb-states might have to declare their assets.
Relevant for bomb-spread potentials in the Mideast and elsewhere, proliferation issues created by the Soviet Union's dissolution have been addressed. Several former Soviet Union (FSU) states have worked with the United States, Russia and other countries to prevent the illicit flow of expertise, materials and technology from FSU nuclear sources to terrorists or covert-bomb seekers in the Mideast. Easily sensationalized, the public record up to July 1995 consisted mainly of a few interceptions of nuclear material smuggling within Europe which had unclear destinations and unconfirmed reports that Russian scientists may be employed in the Mideast. A U.S. sting operation, using a bogus Iraqi agent, seized eight tons of zirconium used to case fuel rods that a Russian general had stolen in Ukraine.
Russian and U.S. efforts, including financial and technical aid, have led to the consent of Belarus, Kazakstan and Ukraine to rid themselves of all nuclear arms left on their territories, adhere to START I and join the NPT as non-bomb parties. Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom have provided the three states with conditional negative and positive security assurances respecting nuclear attacks.
Responding last April to nonaligned pressures, the NWS (all except China having an unequaled no-strike policy towards "have-nots'') harmonized their unilateral, conditional negative assurances given to non-bomb NPT parties, if they are not allied with NWS; and the five NWS led the U.N. Security Council in adopting Resolution 984, which developed the 1968 resolution on the subject by making more explicit and elaborating a qualified positive assurance to non-bomb NPT parties that are threatened with nuclear aggression or are victims of such aggression. Egypt and some other nations remained vexed that Resolution 984 did not authorize an automatic, veto-proof Security Council response to an attack or threat of attack by nuclear arms.5 The NWS are unlikely to satisfy this grievance in the near future.
Missiles and Mideast Arms Talks
In recent years the exceedingly ambitious mission of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) has become to end proliferation of ballistic missiles, with any range or payload, if they are believed to be intended for use with nuclear, chemical or biological arms, i.e., weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The United States and its allies formed the treaty-less group of missile producers in 1987. Recently, Argentina, China, Israel, Russia, South Africa and Ukraine have formally adhered to the MTCR, or pledged conformity with its rules requiring export constraint. Not affecting the military capabilities of advanced states, the MTCR has focused on developing nations, deemed less responsible than their more developed brethren. Steps taken by regime members have prevented missile transfers to or the completion of imported missile programs in such states as Egypt, Iraq, Libya and Syria.
Part of the world's arms control scene, multilateral talks on confidence-building steps in the Mideast are being conducted within working groups of the Arms Control and Regional Security Committee, established by the 1991 Madrid Conference.6 The IAEA has become a participant. Syria has not yet joined the discussions, for which pariahs Iraq and Iran are currently unqualified. The groups have focused on environmental and conventional military issues, leading to progress in dialogue on mutual inspection. The Arabs seek to inspect Israel's classified Dimona complex and to launch nuclear talks generally. Egypt and the other Arab participants view a bomb free region as a prerequisite or corequisite for regional peace; Israel has stressed achieving durable regional peace accords before the region addresses the nuclear weapon-free zone (NWFZ) issue.7 The gap is wide.
Sooner rather than later, as Congressman Lee H. Hamilton (D-IN) and others have long advocated, conventional arms negotiations deserve to be started for the sake of overall Mideast security. A troublesome problem for Israel would be how and when to deal with recommended limits on conventional weapons, which it might well wish to rely upon to offset any concessions it might make on nuclear issues.
Comprehensive Test Ban
The New Nuclear World is not marching double-time towards the nuclear sunset. But even as Russia and the United States have retained overabundant nuclear insurance, they have also provided circumstantial evidence that they are moving towards nuclear disarmament-the global objective NPT Article VI obliges all NWS parties to seek to fulfill the treaty's basic bargain between "have" and "have-not" adherents. Achievement of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), urged for decades by nonaligned and neutral states, as well as by nongovernmental groups, would presumably constitute progress on the way to disarmament. All Mideast states have ratified the Limited Test Ban Treaty and endorsed a CTBT.
First urged by Nehru, a verified, universally adopted CTBT would supposedly cap vertical proliferation, and also prevent, or at a minimum discourage, horizontal proliferation. To be noted: owing to technological advances, the reliability and safety of nuclear arms can be adequately assured without nuclear tests; and Israel, Pakistan and South Africa crossed the threshold without nuclear explosive testing.
Bipartisan U.S. congressional action imposed on the Bush White House, and Clinton administration follow-through, led the United States to drop its resistance to a CTBT and to make possible restarted test-ban negotiations in January 1994. All declared NWS joined the process in the U.N. Conference on Disarmament (CD). An informal testing moratorium, adhered to by all NWS save China, helped the undertakmg.
Aiding the CTBT cause: in early 1995 President Clinton decided to extend the U.S. freeze on nuclear testing until a CTBT enters into force or September 1996, whichever comes first, and to abandon a proposal to allow easy exit from the test ban after ten years. The draft CTBT will still permit escape for reasons of supreme national interest.
Before adjourning last April, CD negotiations made progress on verification issues. Resuming in May, the bargaining is unlikely to produce a draft treaty before next year. The draft is certain to bar "peaceful" nuclear explosions; it will probably also ban small laboratory blasts (hydronuclear tests), if France's and President Clinton's August stands against them prevail. CTBT verification by intrusive methods could produce resistance from India, Israel and Pakistan, anxious to protect their covert facilities; but these non-NPT states will be under heavy pressure to adhere.
"COUNTERPROLIFERATION" AND "ROGUES"
As a reaction to the Cold War's demise, which finds active or potential threats from a few developing states absorbing the diffusion of technology useable in WMD, and to a linked bureaucratic need to justify defense and intelligence budgets in a less dangerous world, the Clinton administration's Defense and Counter proliferation Initiative (DCI) gives nonproliferation a higher priority than it had before the Gulf War.8 The Iraqi, North Korean and South African proliferation cases supplied credible grounds for an upgrading, but threat inflation took it to a level unwarranted by a non-alarmist view of the risk of new bomb-spread.
Having Bush Pentagon roots, the DCI seeks to add protection to prevention in an expanded understanding of nonproliferation. Leading goals are:
• strengthening of traditional diplomacy, export controls and treaty policing;
• adoption of innovative, conventional technological steps, costing $60 million in FY 1995, to protect U.S. territory and overseas forces, and U.S. allies against attack or threat of attack by "rogues" having one or more WMD in violation of the NPT or some other prohibitory pact; and
• development and deployment of ballistic missile defense, a hedge against deterrence failure, encompassing national missile defense and higher priority, theater missile defense (TMD), including Patriot missile enhancement and high-altitude area defense.
Costing $1.5 billion in FY 1995, and estimated to cost $2.1 billion in FY 1996, TMD programs envision deploying 3,000 missiles. The DCI assumes that theater class ballistic missile threats exist now and could become worse, especially in the Mideast and in northeast Asia.
China, Russia and European NATO members have objected to U.S. TMD steps, which they view as provocative or unnecessary. The United States has minimized these criticisms, which could sour Washington's relations with several capitals.
A leading U.S. analyst has charged that TMD could destroy the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (an estimate dependent on how the recent Clinton-Yeltsin deal on the treaty is implemented); prevent further START cuts (a possibility); destabilize peacemaking in critical regions like the Gulf and the Korean peninsula (a stronger possibility); and undermine confidence in the NPT, Chemical Weapons Convention, MTCR and diplomacy (a ponderable contention).9 State Department and Arms Control and Disarmament Agency officials have denied that these results would follow. Because of bipartisan Congressional and interest group support for TMD that is indebted to Iraqi SCUD attacks in the Gulf War-as opposed to the mainly Republican-backed missile-defense system revived in Congress this year-the theater program is likely to continue and expand. Serious obstacles could arise, if candidate host states balk or deployments seem likely to roil a region.
The DCI's focus on alleged rogues, parties to the NPT, has distracted attention from the ad hoc bomb-states of India, Israel and Pakistan-non-rogues in the regime's lexicon because they have not adhered to the NPT. Relaxation of U.S. rules for exporting dual-use items to certain states prompted Senator John Glenn (D-OH) in 1993 to urge strict rules applying to all proliferation-risky and post-threshold states. No such rules governed the U.S. approval last fall of a supercomputer export to Israel. The DCI gives the distinct (and I believe unfortunate) impression that rogue states are undeterrable by U.S. power, conventional or nuclear, and by diplomatic pressure. Yet Iraq was deterred from using chemical weapons (CW) in 1991; and North Korea has been deterred from using or brandishing a bomb, if it has one. Contrary to some earlier Defense Department ventilations, the Pentagon official responsible for counterproliferation, Ashton B. Carter, denied in March 1994 that the department had plans for pre-emptive strikes. If the agency did, it would not wish to announce the fact.
Libya, Iraq, Iran and North Korea are the only four states the executive branch has identified on its classified list of 20-odd actual or potential rogues.10 It is no accident that the four countries have authoritarian or quasi-authoritarian regimes, which have repressed dissent and sponsored terrorism. And three of the four have serious differences with the United States on Israeli questions.
Libya's rogue case is the oldest. These highlights of Libya's nuclear history may be noted11: Muarnmar Qadhafi's failing effort to secure a bomb from China in the 1970s; ratification of the NPT in 1975, but no conclusion of an IAEA safeguards accord until 1980, a delay allowing Libyan transshipment of Niger-origin uranium concentrate to Pakistan; petro-dollar import quests for licit nuclear projects, which failed to materialize or to mature, owing partly to U.S. opposition; acquisition of a safeguarded, Soviet-made research reactor; and Qadhafi's pan-Arab, bomb-ambition statements responding to Israel's bomb and U.S. power projections in the 1980s.
Due to U.S. detection of Libyan terrorism, Libya experienced U.S. bombings in I 986 which killed Qadhafi's daughter. Western diplomatic and economic coercion of Libya in the late 1980s stopped its CW development at Rabta that had Western European aid. Libya's missile development and missile imports have troubled the MTCR. Starting in 1989, Libya improved its relations with Egypt and oil-importing European nations.
Yet in 1992 the country came under limited Western and U.N. sanctions, expanded the next year, which sought the extradition of two Libyans wanted in connection with the Lockerbie Pan-Am bombing. In response, Qadhafi shut down terrorist camps, but refused to give up the two men. Offering a bounty for them last March, the United States asked for, but did not achieve Security Council approval of stronger sanctions, including a global oil embargo. With one exception, Qadhafi was later unable to break a U.N. ban on direct flights to and from Libya in the context of Hajj pilgrims; and he heightened his regime's cooperation with Algeria and Egypt on trans-Arab efforts to contain militant fundamentalists, also a U.S. goal
Though still clinging to anti-Zionism and engaging in bomb-quest musings since the Gulf War, Qadhafi is scarcely a challenger on any front. Because of constraints and restraints, and given Libya's 1992 pledge to cooperate with any IAEA requests for "special inspections" (discussed below), which it could defy only at its peril, the country is a low-proliferation risk.
DEFEATED ROGUE IRAQ
The Iraqi case has three dimensions. The first concerns the post-conflict discovery by the IAEA that Iraq had spent huge sums to covertly acquire dual-use items from the West which were employed in diffused secret programs, including three uranium-enrichment projects. Iraq had made progress, exceeding pre-war intelligence estimates towards achieving self-sustained, bomb making capability. Though no important amounts of bomb-useable material had been obtained, Iraq had violated its IAEA safeguards agreement and the NPT, the first treaty party discovered to have done so.
Iraq may have sought the bomb for deterrence reasons relating to Iran or Israel and for prestige goals in the Gulf and Arab worlds. Given the grave risks to Iraq inherent in a first-strike nuclear strategy which derived from Israeli and U.S. deterrence capabilities, it is improbable that a bomb-capable Iraq would have launched an automatic nuclear assault on Israel or used its bomb to threaten the region. Disbelieving that an Iraqi nuclear initiative or bomb-threat could be deterred, this spectral scenario, articulated before and after the Gulf War, emanated chiefly from bomb monopolist Israel and drew upon the Begin regime outlook in 1980-81 that resulted in the Osiraq raid, driving Iraq to pursue a diffused covert bomb-program. Whatever President Hussein's nuclear designs, his colossal misjudgment of likely U.S. reaction to debt-burdened Iraq's seizure of affluent Kuwait destroyed any chance of realizing them.
Iraq and the Nonproliferation Regime
The second dimension relates to remedies U.S.-led actors secured in response to the discovery of Iraq's covert activities and illegal conduct. Intended to prevent emulation of Iraq's behavior by other non-bomb NPT parties, these reforms emerged: enhancement of anti-proliferation intelligence gathering; pioneer sharing of national intelligence data with the IAEA; tightening of dual-use export controls, especially by Western participants in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG); the IAEA's movement towards environmental monitoring near suspect nuclear sites; and the IAEA's assertion of the right, never before exercised under full-scope safeguards agreements, to conduct "special inspections" of undeclared nuclear locations suspected of illicit activities in non-bomb states that are parties to the NPT.
A much-needed broadening of the IAEA's traditionally incurious monitoring, the special inspection strategy met a stone wall in its first outing.12 North Korea rejected an IAEA request to examine two waste sites, and nearly quit the NPT in a leveraging reaction. Aided by a CIA finding that North Korea might have enough fissile material to make one or two bombs, scarcely a strategic breakthrough, heightened tensions over the problem gave way to Clinton engagement diplomacy, leading to a Pyongyang-Washington framework accord concluded last October. Negotiated for the United States by Ambassador Robert L. Gallucci, a 10-year plan combined a freeze on nuclear activities; the exchange of two proliferation-risky reactors, reprocessing facilities and spent fuel rods for low-risk reactors; and the two-staged reintroduction of IAEA monitoring, including special inspections. Approved by Seoul and Tokyo, but subject to Republican charges of appeasement, the framework received impetus last June when Pyongyang's objections to Seoul's supplying the replacement reactors at its expense were provisionally surmounted.
Because Libya and Iran have acknowledged the IAEA's right to conduct special inspections, the two have effectively accepted a key Iraqi lesson: the need to have a lower threshold for identifying potential rogues. Where that level is marked is a contentious question.
U.N. Penalties on Iraq and U.S. Policy
The Iraqi case's third dimension covers U.N. disarmament steps taken against the rogue and U.S. domination of the punitive process and terms for Iraq's return to world trade. Keeping previously imposed economic sanctions, e.g., a ban on oil-trade with Iraq, the U.N. Security Council secured the defeated Baghdad regime's acceptance of Resolution 687 (1991). This unprecedented measure required the destruction or removal of the post-war remainders of Iraq's offensive missiles, all unconventional military assets, civil nuclear-related fuel and equipment, and production and research facilities linked to the foregoing. The draconian measure did not cover intellectual and personnel assets in unoccupied Iraq.
The disarmament record to mid-1995 included these highlights:13 Iraq's active noncooperation with the IAEA and the U.N. Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) until late 1992, when Baghdad started to become progressively more compliant, though not to end all prevarications; Baghdad's acceptance of Security Council Resolution 715 (1991) in 1993, leading in 1994 to U.N. agencies, establishing monitoring and verification capabilities applying to Iraq's industries and export-import activities subject to Resolution 687 prohibitions; and Iraq's refusal to accept a plan for U.N.-supervised humanitarian relief that would be financed by limited oil sales.
Other developments of note were rising interest in 1994-95 among some of the Security Council's five permanent members (P-5), but especially France and Russia, in securing a lifting of the oil embargo in view of Iraq's actual or near compliance, with Resolution 687 and foreign nations quests for Iraqi debt repayment and markets; and a mini-crisis last October stemming from Iraqi's moving troops close to Kuwait, apparently to gain a lifting of the oil-sale ban in exchange for troop withdrawal, a ploy deflated by a U.S. Gulf build-up and an effective Security Council pull-back order.14 In November Baghdad shifted under Moscow's brokering to recognize Kuwait's sovereignty and to accept its U.N.-demarcated Iraqi frontier.
U.S. policy towards Iraqi compliance with U.N. orders has been comprehensive and demanding, and in some respects constitutes unilateral moving of the goal posts. Built upon an exclusive superpower status and heavy U.S. funding of U.N. enforcement agencies, the maximalist Clinton policy towards Iraq, which is consistent with Bush policy, requires the defeated rogue to comply fully with all U.N. disarmament orders; to cease repression of northern Kurds and Marsh Shiites; to return stolen Kuwaiti arms and to account for Kuwaiti prisoners; and to demonstrate intentions not to violate bans on acquiring WMD and offensive missiles, not to sponsor terrorism and not to bully neighbors.15 Conceivably designed to compensate for the absence of military occupation of Iraq, and lacking consensual support among the P-5 (also the NWS), the U.S. criteria for lifting economic sanctions on Iraq give the distinct impression that they cannot be satisfied so long as Saddam Hussein remains in power. The CIA has acknowledged that it seeks to replace the Hussein regime via Iraqi opposition groups and propaganda.
The U.S. anti-Saddam Hussein thrust may derive from (a) Hussein's brutal human rights record and instigation of two Gulf wars; (b) fear of Hussein's regime as a conventional, or even a nuclear threat to regional oil resources and related trade; (c) profoundly negative Israeli, Jewish, Saudi and Syrian judgments of the leader; (d) populist U.S. regrets that Operation Desert Storm did not overthrow the Hussein regime, an unauthorized goal; and (e) wary U.S. regime recollections of the Bush constructive engagement policy towards Iraq which. some blamed for encouraging Hussein's adventurism. Bill Clinton entered office _with a more conciliatory approach to Hussein than that of his predecessor; but the president's outlook soon hardened.
Last March, although U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine K. Albright depicted U.N. disarmament achievements as "monumental," she continued to hold that Iraq had not yet satisfied U.S. terms for lifting economic sanctions. The IAEA and UNSCOM gave no support to high-level U.S. statements that Iraq was prepared to rebuild CW, missile and nuclear programs after sanctions were lifted. Officials made few references to the capabilities of U.N. systems to give timely warning of Iraqi misconduct and to the Security Council's and America's deterrent and punitive power, if Iraq should try to breakout.
Positive about the terminated production of CW and banned missiles amidst completed monitoring arrangements and denuclearization, the April report of UNSCOM Chairman Rolf Ekeus held that the lack of a satisfactory Iraqi explanation for the disappearance during the war of 17 tons of bacteria (an estimate later held to be too low) meant that there was a high risk that they had gone into a biological arms program.16 Iraq denied that this had happened. But the agency's conclusion ensured the success of the U.S.-led effort to keep all sanctions.
The Security Council unanimously adopted a liberalized oil-sale relief plan, authored mainly by the United States and the United Kingdom. The plan was a response to humanitarian appeals from the Pope and other sources to contain the pressures on a stern U.N. embargo policy. But Iraq, holding two Americans jailed for trespassing who were released later, rejected the plan, thereby allowing the world body to hold the high moral ground, even as Iraqi social conditions worsened. In the early summer of 1995, Iraq admitted after four years of denial that it had developed a major biological warfare capability, said to have been destroyed in 1990. Driving UNSCOM into new investigations, the admission served to keep the oil-sale ban in place. Defector Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel may aid U.N. officials, told by Baghdad he had withheld secrets from them that it would supply. U.S. power over the Security Council's Iraqi policy which might entail use of the veto is likely to continue through at least the 1996 presidential election campaign, in which all major candidates will probably be notably harsh on Iraq and Iran. When U.N. economic sanctions are eventually lifted, U.N. oversight mechanisms, e.g., challenge inspections, and P-5 unity and vigilance should be sufficient to prevent Iraq from ever acquiring or reacquiring unconventional weapons and linked missiles. As a result, the chances that the United States or Israel would have to make deterrence or war-making decisions about Iraq's holding or near-possession of WMD would be virtually nil for the very long-term.
THE MANY-SIDED CASE OF IRAN
General U.S. Policy
Reflecting two sets of divergent ambitions, cultures and grievances, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States have become locked into mutual antagonisms.17 These difficulties need not be long-lasting, if the will to moderate them can be found. While the Iranian case has nuclear proliferation potential, it also has non-nuclear dimensions of greater significance.
The U.S. approach to Iran is one pillar of the policy of "dual containment" of Iran and Iraq, which rejects balancing one against the other. According to the 1994 view of the National Security Council's Martyn Indyk, a former Australian-citizen Israeli lobbyist who this year became U.S. ambassador to Israel, the strategy distinguishes the unreformable Saddam Hussein from the Tehran regime, which has made some "correctable" mistakes."18 Yet the recent hardening of U.S. policy towards Iran seems intent on driving the Tehran regime, weakened by corruption, debts, inflation, soft oil prices and political infighting, into bankruptcy, instability and regime change. The theocratic regime remains resilient.
Clinton administration denigrations of Iran have typically focused on Iran's sponsorship of terrorism, criticisms of the Arab Israeli peace process, Iran's military buildup perceived as a threat to Gulf states and oil lifelines, and alleged nuclear-bomb quest.19 While the United States has denied any anti-Islamic motive, it has objected to Tehran's encouragement of Islamic traditionalism linked to violence. Also influencing American policy: the Khomeini regime's humiliation of the "Great Satan" during the hostage-taking Carter period; the U.S. loss of its alliance with the Pahlavi regime, an Israeli oil-supplier; and human rights abuses within Iran and its lethal overseas pursuit of dissidents. The irrevocable Salman Rushdie death fatwa, from which the Tehran government distanced itself briefly last spring, has darkened global images of the country.
Iran's negative view of the United States has several sources. These include the elites' fear and resentment of American power projections in the Mideast, viewed as arrogant, interventionist and unjust; revolutionary nationalist and Islamic self-determination forces; pejorative clerical attitudes towards Western lifestyles, materialism and secularism; and regime anti-Zionism and support for much diminished confrontationism.
Also operating: popular anger at the United States for bolstering the Pahlavi regime, and at the West for tilting towards Iraq, its main security concern, during the first Gulf War; American efforts to discredit the Tehran regime over a wide range of issues and to impede Iranian development; and U.S. unwillingness to bargain over such outstanding problems as blocked funds and U.S. embargoes. Because Iran in actuality contains pluralism, including disaffected and modernizing currents, perceptions of the country as cohesive, broadly hostile and unchangeable deserve to be moderated.
Iran's Nuclear Record
From 1988 to 1991 Iranian leaders like Ali Akbar Hoshemi Rafsanjani made occasional public statements, possibly meant as much for internal morale-boosting as for external audiences, expressing interests in WMD, said to be needed to protect Iran against Iraq and Israel. Reviving parts of the ambitious Pahlavi nuclear programs, including a secret military research unit, Iran has imported questionable nuclear goods and dual-use items, e.g., limited calutron technology from China. In the past, but not in recent years, Pakistan may have aided Iran in sensitive nuclear areas.
The oil-rich and natural gas-endowed country is developing uranium deposits. Allegations of Iranian smuggling of nuclear-related items increased last spring. The CIA has charged that Iran is actively seeking the bomb, a conclusion Russian intelligence has not supported.20 Iran's nuclear infrastructure has remained rudimentary. And up to mid-1995, no government or IAEA official had claimed that Iran had violated the NPT, which it ratified in 1970. Withall, Iran has offended against the NPT's spirit.
Some Israeli and U.S. sources estimated last winter that Iran could secure bomb-capabilities within five years, if it obtains sensitive technology and its alleged bomb-program is not interrupted; Prime Minister Rabin and Defense Secretary William J. Perry estimated 7-15 years, though Perry also said that Iran had "many, many years" to go,21 The five-year estimate was related to Israel's umbilical security relationship with the United States, and perhaps also to considerations of a pre-emptive strike against distant Iran to which Major General Uzi Dayan referred favorably last December.
Denying that it has bomb-making intentions or programs, Tehran has held that the U.S. and Israeli charges have tried to create Arab fears of Iran, distracting attention from bomb-threat Israel. Iran has demonstrated good faith towards the strengthened IAEA, whose inspectors made familiarization visits, precedents for special inspections, to undeclared Iranian nuclear sites in 1992 and 1993, and found nothing amiss. As Israel had done for U.S. tours of Dimona in the 1960s, Iran may have stage-managed the visits, though this is unlikely. The IAEA held in late 1994 that Iran had no signs of non-peaceful programs.
IAEA safeguards apply to a small U.S. supplied research reactor moving from high- to low-enriched fuel. Agency monitoring is to be applied to a Chinese-designed research reactor under construction; to one or more Chinese-supplied, low-risk power stations; and to up to four nuclear power reactors of a low-risk type which cash-starved Russia contracted last January to build at Bushehr. Earlier the United States had persuaded Germany to prevent German firms from completing two war damaged Bushehr reactors inherited from the shah, and it had convinced Brazil, France and India to close down peaceful nuclear exports to Iran. Last April China rebuffed a U.S. effort to secure its withdrawal from the power station deal. In May China indicated reservations about the project. In June Sino-U.S. relations reached a six-year low, owing to the Taiwan president's visit to the United States, a CIA report of China's supplying missile components to Iran and Pakistan, which may have violated the MTCR, and human-rights issues.
The United States, pressed by Israel, pursued a nuclear denial policy towards Iran in 1994 and the spring of 1995 which left no room for civil atomic energy. Understandably, Iran appealed to the NPT's Article IV, recognizing non-bomb parties' right to peaceful atomic development. Majestically, the United States treated Iran's complaint as a non-issue. Ventilating its grievance in IAEA, non-aligned and other fora, Iran hinted at one point that it might quit the NPT, a ploy North Korea had used, in order to receive a nuclear-transfer deal based on the North Korean model.
Leading America's denigrating of Iran as an "outlaw state," even though it had not committed aggression nor violated the NPT, Secretary of State Warren Christopher rejected any analogy between the two cases. Christopher's pro forma calls for dialogue went unrequited. While Iran had some sympathizers, its position was weakened by (a) Egyptian and Saudi denigrations of Iran as a security challenge and purveyor of distorted interventionist Islam and (b) a reluctant rallying of Western European states to Clinton's nuclear policy toward Iran.
U.S. Policy on Trade with Iran
The Clinton administration has moved progressively to tighten restrictions on U.S. trade with Iran. Major impulses have come from Israeli lobby objections to sizeable U.S. exports with Iran ranging from oil and gas equipment to women's underwear, and also from a U.S. desire to set a self-restraint example for other traders. The United States has had some success in persuading third parties not to grant debt relief or to make new loans to Iran.
A key breakthrough for draconians came last March, when Mr. Clinton forced DuPont-owned Conoco to disengage from a $1 billion deal with Tehran, reaching out to the West, to develop two off-shore Iranian oil fields. The step was indebted to protest from DuPont's Bronfman-Seagram stockholders. France may fill the void.
Influencing an Israeli-prompted review of U.S. policy towards Iran dating to late 1994, anti-Iran trade bills affecting U.S. and foreign firms proposed by Senator Alfonse M. D'Amato (D-NY), which had the backing of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, shaped a Clinton step having domestic as well as foreign policy goals. Formally announced by the president at a World Jewish Congress dinner at April's end in which he mentioned bombings in Buenos Aires, Israel, New York and Oklahoma City, an executive order emerged prohibiting all direct and indirect U.S. trade with and investment in Iran. U.S. firms had been allowed to trade in oil not sold directly to America. Citing economic or security grounds, some U.S. officials had opposed the Clinton step, contrasting with U.S. economic engagement with China. The action did not cause major injury to Iran or the United States; it led to President Rafsanjani's calling for the United States to end its hostile policy.
Though President Clinton urged the industrial democracies to emulate the U.S. trade ban, none was immediately willing to go beyond existing G-7 and NSG bans on selling Iran military, nuclear and dual-use items. Possessing policy-making systems less influenced by Israel than America's system, the resisters balked at adding an Iranian embargo to the Iraqi embargo several of them wanted to lift; and they had oil importing interests not shared with the United States. Isolated, the United States did not risk asking the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran.
Without withdrawing his sweeping approach, Senator D' Amato welcomed the Clinton move; but he and Senator Robert Dole (R-KS) held that Congress might end aid to Russia unless it stopped its Iranian reactor sale, the central focus of U.S. concerns about third-party trade with Iran.
The United States shared data with Russia last April that purported to show that Iran had sought to buy enriched uranium in the FSU and to purchase centrifuges for plutonium separation, and that it had imported equipment to aid other aspects of a bomb-program to which a North Korean built missile, perhaps capable of reaching Israel, would be link ed.22 The United States argued that (a) Iranians would learn proliferation skills from Russian technicians; (b) Russia would be put at risk if Iran proliferated; and (c) Iran could not be relied upon to pay for the deal and, more importantly, to return spent fuel as provided for in the $790 million bargain contract for one reactor. Later Iran reconfirmed the requirement.
Offering financial inducements, the United States pressed its brief unsuccessfully during Defense Secretary Perry's visit to Moscow last April. While the State Department hinted that a lapsing nuclear cooperation pact with Russia might not be renewed, the United States avoided wielding more substantial penalties, notably ending or reducing aid to Russia's various de-nuclearization programs and economic conversion projects. To do so would be markedly counterproductive.23 A compelling Russian retort to the United States stressed that Moscow's nuclear engagement with Iran involved the same kind of low risk, light-water reactors found in the U.S.-North Korean deal.
Raising the Iranian issue with President Yeltsin during the May meeting encompassing weighty Chechen and NATO issues, which was held in Moscow during V-E Day commemorations, President Clinton secured Russian withdrawal from a disposable side pact to sell Iran a gas centrifuge that could enrich uranium to bomb grade quality. This was a symbolic U.S. achievement. The leaders referred the reactor question to a bilateral study commission, thus freezing but not terminating the deal. For Yeltsin to have agreed to U.S. cancellation requests would have humiliated his already weakened regime facing elections and helped ultra-nationalists.
Iran welcomed the summit's results and spoke of grandiose reactor plans. Congressional leaders Robert Dole and Newt Gingrich (R-GA) criticized the outcome and retained threats to cut $540 million from Russian aid (75 percent of Cincinnati's budget). If the executive discovers that only greater inducements, financial or political, will convince Russia to end the Iranian deal on which Democrats and Republicans have placed an excessively high nonproliferation value, decision-makers will face a dilemma whether to pay for Russian disengagement. The payment might be non-monetary, and m a non-Mideast policy area.
THE NPT AND ISRAEL
Israel's non-NPT status and nuclear development explain why other Mideast states have had proliferation programs or temptations. Except for Israel, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, all Mideast states are NPT parties. The unevenly oil-endowed developing region has no advanced, sensitive nuclear facilities, apart from Israel's, which run a wide range of achievements, and no operating nuclear power reactor. The IAEA safeguards small research reactors in Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Israel and Libya. Unstable Algeria also has a large, recently safeguarded research reactor.
Despite Israel's enduring ambiguous position that it will not be the first to introduce nuclear arms into the Mideast (a role the Sixth Fleet performed), there is a virtual worldwide consensus that Israel has acquired an impressive arsenal of perhaps 200 nuclear weapons having at least last-resort purposes.24 A vital part of Israel's strategic premises is the unacceptability of another regional bomb-state, i.e., of mutual nuclear deterrence.25 Successfully launching a low orbit spy satellite last April, Israel has used self-help and imports from the United States and other sources to acquire aircraft and missile delivery capabilities, and also anti-missile assets which far surpass any rivals' inventories.
The opacity of Israel's nuclear assets, notably Dimona's large, French-supplied research reactor and reprocessing plant, has diminished. Leading causes have been Israel's periodic deterrent hints about its bomb, the 1988 Vanunu revelations, and Israeli inaction respecting U.S. requests and international organization calls for Israel to accept the NPT. Yet even "dovish" Israeli analyst Avner Cohen, who supports working with Egypt on a free-zone course, advises retention of Israel's bomb to deter an Arab or Iranian bomb.26 Israeli nuclear abolitionists are virtually non-existent.
Israel's covert bomb development has been aided by customary public silence on the subject which has waned in recent years; U.S. condoning of Dimona's activities traceable to Ben-Gurion-Kennedy contacts;27 and an intra-regime U.S. tradition, indebted to domestic politics, and also to concerns about stirring new Mideast proliferation, not to discuss Israel's bomb nor to try to use bountiful Israeli aid to leverage it into the NPT. Leverage has worked the other way: Israel's bomb, which the United States wants to remain unused and undeclared, has been a subtle tool for Israel to ensure that the United States keeps its pledge to maintain Israel's conventional military edge over combined regional foes.28 Defense Secretary Perry reiterated the pledge during his Israeli visit last January. The United States may view the pledge as a collar on Israel's bomb.
Unamplified cnt1cism from Arab, Nonaligned Movement and some Western quarters has charged that, while the United States advocates universal NPT adherence, it has a double standard when Israel is involved.29 An Egyptian-led attempt to remedy or at least to publicize this allegation emerged last fall and continued into the spring in anticipation of the NPT Review and Extension Conference. The conference had to decide whether to extend the 25-year-old pact permanently, as the United States, its allies, Russia and some nonaligned states like Argentina urged, or for a fixed period or periods, as several developing nations like Indonesia wanted. The extension question meshed with discussion of disarmament responsibilities of the NWS, CTBT progress, atomic development and NPT universality.
Egypt's initiative sought to link voting by Arab and other states on extension to achieving Israel's consent to adhere to the NPT within a certain time-span,'. Cairo did not target nonaligned colleagues India and Pakistan, the two other major holdouts. Given the U.S. recruiting of a pre-conference majority behind its position, Egypt could not expect to prevent indefinite extension by a majority vote; but it could hope to gain something on the universality issue, because the United States was dedicated to avoiding a visible split on permanent unqualified extension.
Seeking to correct a gross strategic imbalance, Egypt's campaign drew upon Egypt's long-standing advocacy of regionwide NPT adherence, developments eroding Egypt's importance as the major Arab proponent of Arab-Israeli peace, Egyptian concerns that the peace process would produce Israeli politico-economic hegemony, and a need to demonstrate to Islamists that Mubarak could stand up to Clinton and Rabin.
A high point of the initiative was a joint declaration adopted by Egypt, Syria and the six GCC states meeting in Cairo last February.30 The statement held that exempting Israel from full-scope safeguards threatened regional stability, called upon international opinion to work to remove Israeli-created obstacles in the peace process, and criticized Iraq and Iran for raising tensions.
Israeli responses to Egypt's activism included accusations that it damaged the peace talks and interfered with Israel's diplomacy and economic outreach to some Arab states. Pointing to Iran as the real nuclear threat in the region, Israel indicated that it would keep its nuclear deterrent and reject the NPT for as long as some regional states remained its foes. Israel's most concessionary response was Foreign Minister Peres's stand that Israel would address bomb-free issues two years after undefined, full regional peace emerged.
In a context where Jewish American groups were poised to pressure Congress, whose Republicans were in an aid-slashing mood, to reduce Egypt's $2.1 billion package for FY 1996, the administration, telling Egypt that it would not seek cuts, was unable to persuade Cairo to withdraw its campaign. Egyptian activism faded just before and during President Mubarak's Washington visit last April. The visit included (a) congressional Republican leaders' assurances to President Mubarak about projected U.S. aid; (b) the Cairo leader's statement that he had no problem with the United States on the Israeli-NPT matter nor with the NPT as such; and (c) President Clinton's telling his guest that the United States would support actions to rid the Mideast of nuclear arms after regional peace was achieved.
Reviving a stronger line in the NPT Conference, Egypt held that, because the NPT did not include Israel, a dangerous condition existed in the Mideast; and, though it endorsed the NPT's goals, it could not vote to extend the pact indefinitely. Yet Mr. Rabin confidently urged House Republicans in early May not to reduce U.S. aid to any of Israel's peace partners. Virtually an entitlement, aid ($3 billion for FY 1996) to Israel, long the premier U.S. aid recipient, was not vulnerable, though the future may yield another condition.
NPT EXTENSION CONFERENCE
Following intense U.S. lobbying, the NPT Review Conference, avoiding a vote by its 175 participants, adopted a document by acclamation last May 11 which declared that, based on the wishes of a majority (amounting to 111) of the NPT's 178 adherents, the treaty was extended indefinitely.31 Widely and inaccurately depicted in the media as a "consensus" action, the decision was welcomed especially by the United States, Russia and other leading members of the majority, including Canada and South Africa, a late convert to indefinite extension. A key American, Ambassador Thomas Graham, stressed that the extension was unconditional; but he also acknowledged that it was accompanied by ways to yield greater accountability.
The means were found in two companion documents, also endorsed by acclamation. One provided a set of principles and goals. These included a non-deadline program for achieving nuclear disarmament, completion of a CTBT no later than 1996, NWFZs for tension areas, greater cooperation on peaceful atomic development and universal NPT adherence. The second document authorized holding annual preparatory meetings in each of the three years prior to quinquennial reviews to allow substantive evaluations of progress, a change bound to fall heaviest on the NWS. The three decisions were universally considered a package.
Unlike the extension document, the two other documents were not legally binding. The emergence and approval of the three measures were indebted to the skills of the conference president, Sri Lanka's Jayantha Dhanapala. Before the three resolutions could be adopted, the conference had to resolve a Mideast issue.
Towards the conference's end, Egypt and Algeria drafted and submitted a resolution-backed by Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen-which called on Israel to accede without delay to the NPT, and for all states to move ahead to establish a Mideast zone free of WMD. Intended by the Arabs as a means to secure a wedge in conference considerations of the three main resolutions for the sake of ventilating the Israeli bomb issue, the proposal met with U.S. objections that it singled out Israel and could well injure the Mideast peace process if it was adopted.32 A compromise-seeking effort produced (a) the refusal of Oman and the United Arab Emirates, the only Arab League members (except Djibouti) not parties to the NPT, to be mentioned in a resolution along with Israel; and (b) a resolution offered by the United States, Britain and Russia which the Arabs accepted as a realistic gain.
Endorsing the Mideast peace process and a Mideast zone free of WMD, the new resolution called upon all regional states that had not yet done so to accede to the NPT as soon as possible and to place their nuclear facilities under full-scope safeguards. Israel, a conference observer, was the only regional state significantly relevant to the resolution. Adopted by acclamation on the same day as the conference's three main resolutions, the Mideast resolution was interpreted by Egypt as part of the overall package, a view no one openly disputed.
The Algerian-Egyptian initiative and its outcome publicized Israel's non-NPT status, and also demonstrated U.S. persuasive powers. The Mideast resolution's practical impact on Egyptian-Israeli and Israeli-U.S. discussions of regional security remains to be known. Foreign Minister Peres's reaction to the resolution held that Israel had no intention of adhering to the NPT until all regional states, including Iran, had entered into peace accords with Israel. Egypt may ask the U.N. Security Council to follow up on the resolution, sponsored by three of the P-5.
During the conference, Iran called futilely for censure of Israel as a bomb-threat; it also condemned the U.S. no-threshold policy towards Tehran as a violation of NPT Article IV. Iran and several Arab states held that some technology sales to Israel were contrary to the NPT. It is doubtful that these grievances, and also the Mideast resolution episode, ever made a blip in Western public opinion awash with domestic concerns, punctuated with Bosnian and other conflict news.
Conference Evaluation and Postlude
Overall, the NPT Conference struck a balance more favorable to the NWS and other backers of unqualified permanent extension than to those developing nations preferring conditional renewal on an indefinite or rolling renewal basis. Though they pledged to move towards bomb-abolition, a utopian goal, the NWS kept their sovereign right to proceed at their own speeds; and the non-bomb states bonded themselves to a self-denying status in perpetuity, unless they renounce the NPT.
Owing to the Third World's near dissolution, and to effective U.S. diplomacy with critical states like Mexico slated to receive a large U.S. loan, as well as to conference politics, only 11 of the 100-plus member Nonaligned Movement stood near the meeting's end in favor of the sole viable alternative to indefinite extension-rolling renewals ever 25 years. Iran and Jordan were the only Mideast states in the band of the Indonesian-led partisans. Post-acclamations, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Libya and Syria were among the small number of states, including Malaysia and Nigeria, who criticized unconditional indefinite extension, because, inter alia, the conference had not set a deadline for nuclear disarmament. Disputes over several issues prevented the conference from adopting a final declaration, a precedented outcome.
At the margins, nongovernmental groups faulted conference disarmament shortfalls. Post-conference, India charged that the NPT's indefinite renewal conferred legitimacy on a nuclear double standard. New Delhi's familiar refrain had few state emulators.
There were signs that the NWS retained considerable freedom of action. The Clinton-Yeltsin summit in May disappointed disarmers because it issued no clear call for START II ratification, much less any reference to START III. China conducted a nuclear test immediately after the conference's close. Next President Jacques Chirac announced France's intention to conduct a last-chance test series, news that angered several CTBT partisans. Later the Pentagon reportedly raised the idea of converting the CTBT being negotiated into a threshold treaty allowing tests with yields up to half a kiloton. Despite these clouds, realization of a CTBT in 1996 seemed probable.
Moderate Arabs' prudence during the conference purchased no U.S. consideration during a U.N. controversy. Less than a week after the conference's close, the United States, having no Security Council support, cast its thirtieth pro-Israel veto in the body to block adoption of an Arab sponsored resolution asking Israel to rescind the confiscation of 131 acres in East Jerusalem which Israel had ordered on April 27, and to refrain from such actions in the future. Already embittered by the confiscation violating international law and by Republican presidential hopefuls' calls for moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, most Arab regimes condemned the veto, and nine of them, despite intra-Arab feuds, prepared for a summit on Jerusalem.
The Rabin government, facing a Knesset no-confidence vote instigated by Arab members drawing Likud support which seemed likely to carry and break the peace process, suspended the confiscation and made helpful gestures to the PLO. The U.S. veto had gone for naught, except in U.S. politics. Canceling their summit plans, the Arab moderates experienced a rare moment. A U.S.-engineered, Mubarak-Rabin Cairo meeting seemed to relieve strained relations. Uncut renewal of U.S. aid to Egypt occurred. A failed assassination attempt on Mubarak, and Egypt's cultural, security and socioeconomic problems competed with the Cairo regime's nuclear concerns.
OTHER WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
Associating non-atomic weapons with nuclear arms has been commonplace since President Mubarak's 1990 call for a Mideast free of WMD in the context of tensions focusing on Iraq's CW and an emerging NPT Review Conference. Mubarak's vague plan anticipated parallel multilateral progress, rather than linked negotiations, toward ridding the region of nuclear arms, CW and biological weapons, and limiting offensive ballistic missiles.
The opaque terms conjoining non-nuclear unconventional weapons with nuclear arms drastically inflates the farmer's modest strategic importance; and the unclarified use of such terms may hide the absence of nuclear assets in a labeled state's inventory, limited to one or both of the other unconventional weapons. Wide media and political use of the WMD term in the United States has often reflected excoriating judgments of alleged rogues, offending key actors on several grounds.
Chemical and Biological Weapons
Part of the Gulf War's background consisted of the illegal use of CW by Iraq, Iran and Libya in the 1980s; a 1989 CW conference in Paris at which Arab states floated a CW ban linked to regional nuclear-bomb prohibition; and Saddam Hussein's threat to use CW against Israel, if it attacked Iraq with nuclear arms, in contrast to conventional weapons, a clarification the United States secured from Hussein.
Iraq, because of President Bush's warning on the brink of Operation Desert Storm not to use unconventional weapons, or because of its prior contra-decision, did not employ CW or biological weapons (if it had any) in the conflict. The post-conflict scene yielded U.N. steps eliminating Iraq's CW and linked activities and biological arms research. UNSCOM's discovery of Iraq's germ-stock imports and admission to having had biological arms for some time enhanced preexisting efforts to strengthen the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention.
The Iraqi case accelerated the decades long negotiating of a Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), appearing in January 1993. Mandating highly intrusive verification, and projecting costly disposal requirements, the CWC bans the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, transfer and use of CW. The CWC had 130 initial signatories.
Egypt had hoped that all Arab states would refrain from signing the CWC to call attention to Israel's bomb, but the three Magrib states and Mauritania signed immediately. So, too, did Israel and Iran, both of which have CW. These additional Mideast states had signed by last June: Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E. and Yemen. Oman had signed and ratified the pact. Russian and U.S. CWC ratifications, which could emerge this year, may be needed to produce effective pressures on the key Mideast holdouts of Egypt, Iraq, Libya and Syria to at least sign the pact. Even if the CWC does not go into force soon, the overrated "poor man's atomic bomb" has a dim future everywhere.
Two macro-prescriptions for Mideast nuclear problems are a NWFZ, and a verified fissile production cutoff. Both received endorsements in the NPT Extension Conference's Final Document. Requiring all (undefined) Mideast states to forswear nuclear arms and adhere to the NPT before a free-zone treaty was negotiated, a NWFZ resolution has had the unopposed endorsement of the U.N. General Assembly since 1974, and the body's consensual support since 1980 when Israel first voted for the measure.33 Israel, the resolution's target, has never moved to implement it. Israel has long preferred a NWFZ model dependent on a treaty-writing conference as a first step, the procedure used to create the Latin American NWFZ and later to form the South Pacific NWFZ. Neither of these zones had to deal with a pre-existing bomb state and major regional conflicts.34 Because of their grievances against Israel, all other Mideast states have essentially ignored the competing model.
Over time, Israel has added conditions to its model, notably insistence on step-by-step, confidence-building measures; settlement before a treaty-writing conference of outstanding disputes between Israel and all other regional states through direct negotiating of durable peace accords; and verification of a free-zone treaty by the regional parties themselves.35 The post-1990 emergence of Arab-Israeli arms control and security talks and Israeli-PLO negotiations, permitted Egypt, the leading NWFZ partisan, and Israel to maneuver in the U.N. General Assembly last fall to produce a NWFZ resolution, adopted by consensus, which (a) noticed peace-making movement and (b) included Israel's point about a mutually verifiable NWFZ.
Endorsed by a divided vote, amidst many abstentions, was a much moderated version of a perennially adopted resolution on Israeli nuclear armament. Influenced by broad U.N. opinion not as exercised as Egypt and its mainly nonaligned supporters, the resolution showed a mildness contrasting with the tone of Egypt's initiative on the Israeli-NPT issue.
Progress towards a NWFZ can be made only through a conference model. Basic steps include (a) achieving Arab-Israeli accords that prove enduring, and peaceful relations between and among at least these states: Egypt, the GCC states, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya and Syria; and (b) consensual agreement among the likely candidates for a Mideast free-zone about its geographic scope and view of contiguous areas. Presumably, NATO-member Turkey would be excluded. Emerging this year, a continental African NWFZ would help to answer questions about the southern extent of a Mideast free-zone and the free zone status of states south of it. Israel might demand that Pakistan, home of "the Islamic Bomb," should adhere to a Mideast free zone, unless it had already joined a South Asian NWFZ, which India has resisted. A high-expectation Israeli policy towards geographic coverage and contiguous areas on the east could extend free-zone negotiations indefinitely.
The crucial question is whether Israel would ever recross the nuclear line. In different circumstances, South Africa did so. If the peace process advances, the importance to Israel of its last-resort weapons would probably diminish and raise the threshold to their use.36 Yet the prospects for Israel's demilitarization would remain dim.
Fissile Material Production Cutoff
President Bush's 1991 plan for the Mideast contained a pioneering element: a verified cutoff of the production of fissile material (highly enriched uranium or separated plutonium) for any explosive purpose. The cutoff would be a major step en route to a NWFZ, an idea non-regime sources had advised previously. If implemented, the Bush proposal would shut down Dimona's research reactor and reprocessing plant; under external monitoring, Israel would be permitted to keep its separated plutonium and nuclear arsenal, both stored apart from Dimona, and even to deploy atomic arms, all the while adhering to its not-the-first formula. Exceeding NPT requirements, the cutoff would prevent other regional states from acquiring fissile production capabilities. The Bush administration did not press the scheme, producing chiefly skeptical Mideast reactions.
Traceable to an Eisenhower advisory, a non-discriminatory, multilateral and verifiable global treaty to end fissile production for military purposes or outside of international safeguards was urged in President Clinton's 1993 U.N. address. The treaty would apply to NWS and non-bomb states. The United States ended production of all fissile material for nuclear arms in 1992. Russia has ceased producing weapon-grade uranium; it plans to stop making weapon grade plutonium.
Receiving the U.N. General Assembly's consensual endorsement, the hugely ambitious proposal was taken up by the U.N. Disarmament Conference. Pre-negotiation disputes emerged over whether a cutoff pact should be drafted to apply to existing stockpiles, as several nonaligned states like Egypt and some European NATO countries sought. The NWS and many other nations supported coverage of new production only. Having the political edge, this position is meant to appeal to Britain, China, France, India, Israel and Pakistan. Formal bargaining on a pact began last March. After an agreed text is achieved, gaining sufficient ratifiers and paying for verification will be daunting tasks.
Trying out the idea of a fissile production freeze first in South Asia, the United States encountered predictable rebuffs from India and Pakistan, nuclear rivals still engaged in the Kashmir dispute. When a cutoff treaty surfaces, the Mideast is likely to offer major resistance to the measure. Already bound by the NPT, the Arab states and Iran would have serious problems accepting a pact giving no assurance that a NWFZ would inevitably follow and allowing Israel to hold an advantage over them. Israel might well resist the cutoff, because it would be difficult to renounce and acceptance might encourage pressures, even from close friends, seeking its denuclearization. An alternative to a cutoff treaty, a unilateral, informally verified Dimona shutdown, would lack credibility.
Developments external and internal to the Middle East in this decade which appear to be irreversible suggest that it is improbable that a nuclear emergency will arise any time in the region's long-term future. The giants' actual or projected reductions of their nuclear arsenals, devaluing the bomb while not abandoning excess nuclear insurance, and the phasing out or radical tamping down of global and Middle Eastern antagonisms provide strong evidence that nuclear arms are highly unlikely to be used or wielded in the region by one or more extra regional or local actors.
Contrary to some predictions, the post- 1990 Mideast scene has not exhibited anarchic conditions out of which new proliferators might arise. The possibility of bomb-spread has been treated with unwarranted alarm by Israel and the United States. The outlook traces to interests in maintaining Israel's bomb-monopoly or protecting military and intelligence budgets, or both, and to the legacies of Arab Israeli and Cold War confrontations.
The risks inherent in proliferation behavior, the bolstered nonproliferation regime learning from the Iraqi scare and enhanced by the indefinite extension of the NPT, and the power configuration and values of the New Nuclear World and the New Middle East suggest that a true rogue is unlikely to emerge. If, against all odds, a proliferating rogue should appear, its conduct would probably be defensive and not follow a Beginesque scenario. U.S. conventional or nuclear deterrence would be more than a match for the proliferant's modest capabilities.
Ultra-stringent U.S. policies intended to change Iran's and Iraq's behavior or regimes, or both, have not worked. U.S. policy makers would do well to consider differentiated engagement strategies towards the two countries for the sake of everyone's security and welfare. Respectful attention is due to France's and the European Union's call for a "critical dialogue" with Iran, which might seek such goals as getting it to work with Syria to defuse Hezbollah. Russia's policy towards Iran and Iraq should not be dismissed as only a cash-driven and pro-Muslim strategy. Linking Iranian nuclear development with robustly anti-proliferation Russia would help to prevent illicit Iranian nuclear conduct. As three P-5 states are inclined to do, Iraq should be granted full oil-sale relief, provided Baghdad supplies acceptable answers to biological and any other disarmament questions. The U.S. posture holding out for a non-Saddam regime may be a sterile project akin to U.S. Castro policy.
Regarding existing proliferation, an ingrained Israeli elite commitment to retaining a last-resort weapon, also useful for deterring foes from using one or more WMD, is likely to preserve Israel's nuclear assets for a very long time. If recrossing the line acquired important domestic support, Israel's fragmented political system, wedded to proportional representation elections, would present a huge obstacle to securing widespread endorsement of denuclearization.
Should comity ever reign from Tehran through Jerusalem to Rabat, multilateral diplomacy could well emerge to discuss the modalities of a bomb-free Mideast. Actual adoption of a NWFZ, or even of a fissile production cutoff, would have to wait for global or regional developments not visible now. Dimona might have to be closed down because of aging in this decade; replacing it would be politically catastrophic. In the long-term, Israel may have to pay a political price for bomb-retention in increasingly anti-nuclear regional and global environments.
1 See, e.g., William B. Quandt, The Peace Process (Washington, DC: Brookings, 1993). In July 1995, Israel and the PLO agreed in principle to Israeli army withdrawals from the West Bank and plans for Palestinian elections and expanded self-rule.
2 George Bunn, et al., Nuclear Disarmament: How Much Have the Five Nuclear Powers Promised in the Non-Proliferation Treaty? Washington, DC: The Lawyers' Alliance for National Security, et al., June 1994.
3 Dunbar Lockwood, "U.S. Nuclear Review Will Not Help NPT," Disarmament Times, October 24, 1994, p. I; and Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, Annual Report to the President and Congress, February 1995, pp. 83-92.
4 Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky and George Bunn, ''The Doctrine of the Nuclear-Weapon States and the Future of Nonproliferation," Arms Control Today, July-August 1994, pp. 3-9; and "Beyond the Nuclear Peril," Report No. 15, Henry L. Stimpson Center, January 1995, p. 57.
5 Statement by Amre Moussa, foreign minister of Egypt, NPT Review Conference, April 20, 1995.
6 Mohamed Shaker, "The Middle East, Israel and Iraq," PPNN Seminar, Arden House Conference, March 1995, pp. 9-10.
7 Gerald M. Steinberg, "Middle East Arms Control and Regional Security," Survival, Spring 1994, pp. 127-31.
8 Report on Nonproliferation and Counterproliferation Activities and Programs (Washington, DC: Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, May 1994); and Defense Secretary Perry's statement to the House Budget Committee, April 27, 1995. See also John M. Deutch, "The New Nuclear Threat," Foreign Affairs, Fall 1992, pp. 120-34. Unlikely threats from Third World states have replaced U.S. fears of the Soviet Union: Robert H. Johnson, Improbable Dangers (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994), chapters 7-8. Another critique is Michael Klare, Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws (New York: Hill & Wang, 1995).
9 Spurgeon M. Kenny, Jr., "What Price Counterproliferation?" Arms Control Today, June 1994, p. 2. See also Gary Milhollin, "The Perils of Perry & Co.," The Washington Post, February 6, 1994, p. C3.
10 See, e.g., John D. Hollum, director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, address to Arms Control Association, December 13, 1993; and Anthony Lake, "Tying Power to Democracy," The New York Times, September 23, 1994, p. A15. Libya, Iran and Iraq were denigrated in President Clinton's remarks at the World Jewish Congress dinner honoring Edgar Bronfman, April 30, 1995.
11 Leonard S. Spector with Jacquelin R. Smith, Nuclear Ambitions (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1990), pp. 175-83.
12 Mathias Dembinski, "North Korea, IAEA Special Inspections, and the Future of the Nonproliferation Regime," The Nonproliferation Review, Winter 1995, pp. 31-9.
13 William M. Arkin, "Success Phobia," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September-October 1994, p. 64; Thomas Mattair and Stephen Brannon, "The U.N. Sanctions against Iraq," Middle East Policy, vol. III, no. I, 1994, pp. 27-42; and U.N. Documents SI 1994/ l I 38, S/1994/115 I , S/1994/1206 and S/1995/284.
14 The Washington Post, October 27, 1994, p. A19.
15 Statement of Robert H. Pelletreau. assistant secretary of state, House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East, June 14, 1994: The New York Times, November 11, 1994, p. A 1 and January 11, 1995, p. A4; and statement of Ambassador Madeleine K. Albright on the situation in Iraq, March 13, 1995. A critique is Eric Rouleau, "America's Unyielding Policy toward Iraq," Foreign Affairs, January/February 1995, pp. 59-72.
16 S/1995/284, p. 31. For subsequent developments, see The Washington Post, July 7, 1995, p. A20.
17 See especially George Lenczowski, "Iran: The Big Debate," Middle East Policy, vol. III, no. 2, 1994, pp. 5-62; "Interview with U.N. Ambassador Kamal Kharazi of Iran," ibid., no. 3, pp. 125-44; Patrick Clawson, ed., Iran s Strategic Intentions and Capabilities (Washington, DC: National Defense University, 1994); and Sharam Chubin, "Does Iran Want Nuclear Weapons?" Survival, Spring 1995, pp. 7-24.
18 Interview with Martyn Indyk, Middle East Quarterly, March 1994, p. 65. See also "Symposium on Dual Containment," Middle East Policy, vol. III, no. I , 1994, pp. 1-20. On the view that U.S. policy is too lenient on Iran, see Kenneth Timmerman, "Our Confused Signals over Iran," The Wall Street Journal, February 15, 1995, p. Al 8. A criticism is F. Gregory Gause III, "The Illogic of Dual Containment," Foreign Affairs, March/April 1994, pp. 56-66.
19 See, e.g., Anthony Lake, "Confronting Backlash States," Foreign Affairs, March 1994, p. 52; R. James Woolsey's testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, July 28, 1993, and address to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, September 23, 1994; and Warren Christopher's address to the Anti-Defamation League, April 4, 1995.
20 Testimony of then-CIA Director R. James Woolsey and Russian Federation Foreign Service Intelligence Report, hearing of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate, 103rd Congress, 1st Session, February 24, 1993, pp. 51-6 and pp. 97-8, respectively.
21 The New York Times, January 4, 1995, p. AS; The Jerusalem Post, January 13, 1995, p. 9; and Iran Times, January 13, 1995, p. 15 and January 20, 1995, p. l.
22 The New York Times, April 3, 1995, p. 1.
23 Shai Feldman, "A Bigger Danger than Iran," The New York Times, April 4, 1995, p. A25. Contrast: A.M. Rosenthal, "What Is an Ally?" ibid., May 16, 1995, p. A15.
24 See, e.g., Harold Hough, "Israel's Nuclear Infrastructure," Jane's Intelligence Review, November 1994, pp. 508- IO; and Seymour M. Hersch, The Sampson Option (New York: Random House, 1992).
25 Paul F. Power, "The Baghdad Raid: Retrospect and Prospect," The Third World Quarterly, July 1986, pp. 865-66. "Gradual proliferation makes for peace," Kenneth N. Waltz in Scott D. Sagan and Kenneth N. Waltz, The Spread of Nuclear Weapons (New York: W.W. Norton, 1995).
26 Avner Cohen's letter to the editor, The Jerusalem Post (International Edition), May 26, 1995, p. 6.
27 Avner Cohen, "Most Favored Nation" [title supplied by journal editor], Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, January/February 1995, pp. 44-53. There is a case for distinguishing Israel's bomb, having a defensible existence, from bomb-seeking rogues like Iraq: McGeorge Bundy, testimony, U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, October 9, 1990.
28 Gerald C. Smith and Helena Cobban, "A Blind Eye to Nuclear Proliferation," Foreign Affairs, Summer 1989, p. 67.
29 See, e.g., Richard Falk's comments, Middle East Policy, vol. III, no. 3, 1994, p. 12; Saudi Gazette, January 30, 1995, Compuserve (Reuters News Service); and Eugene Bird, "Israeli Nuclear Program Blocks U.S.-Backed Non-Proliferation Initiative," The Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs, March 1995, p. 21.
30 See, e.g., statements by Ambassador Nabil Elaraby, Fourth Meeting of the Preparatory Committee of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, January 24, 1995; Middle East International, February 3, 1995, p. 6; and Fawaz A. Gerges, "Egyptian-Israeli Relations Turn Sour," Foreign Affairs, May/June 1995, pp. 69-78.
31 For issues at the conference's cusp, see John Simpson and Daryl Howlett, The Future of Nuclear Nonproliferation, PPNN Study Six, Southampton, UK, April 1995. For conference results, see Disarmament Times, May 18, 1995, pp. 1-4; The New York Times, May 12, 1995, p. A I; The Washington Post, May 14, 1995, p. A23; and Arms Control Today, June 1995, pp. 26, 28-9. Key documents are NPT/CONF./1995/L.4-L.8.
32 Mohammed I. Shaker, "The Outcome of the 1995 NPT Review Conference," U.N. Conference on Disarmament Issues, Nagasaki, Japan, June 12-6, 1995, pp. 13-6.
33 See Mahmoud Karem, "A Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in the Middle East," in Tariq Rauf, ed., Aurora Papers 16, Canadian Centre for Global Security, December 1992, chapter 2. For an analytic pro-NWFZ overview, see the Mideast free-zone study undertaken by James Leonard, Jan Prawitz and Benjamin Sanders for the U.N. secretary general, A/45/435, October 10, 1990.
34 Paul F. Power, 'The South Pacific Nuclear-Weapon Free Zone, Pacific Affairs, Fall 1986, p. 475.
35 For Israel's current stand, see statements by Ambassador Yehiel Yativ, U.N. General Assembly First Committee, October 21, 1994 and November 18, 1994; and interview with Dimona architect Shimon Peres, The Times, March 31, 1995, p. 12; and "Israel's position on the Nuclear Issue," issued by Israel's U.N. mission, April 1995. On the evolution of Israel's NWF policy, see Paul F. Power, "Preventing Nuclear Conflict in the Middle East: The Free-Zone Strategy," The Middle East Journal, Autumn 1983, pp. 625-6; and Avner Cohen, "The Nuclear Equation in a New Middle East," The Nonproliferation Review, Winter 1994, pp. 17-9.
36 Contrast Robert E. Harkavy, "After the Gulf War: The Future of Israeli Nuclear Strategy," The Washington Quarterly, Summer 1991, p. 169.