Policy Briefs for the Middle East Conference on a WMD/DVs Free Zone
The series of Policy Briefs for the Middle East Conference on a WMD/DVs Free Zone was launched in late 2011 by the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East. The goal of this series is to provide ideas, concepts, and background information to shape the debate on the planned Conference at a time when such services are most needed. Addresses include vital decision-makers in the Middle East, United Nations delegations and embassies as well as the representatives of the relevant external powers and the interested public.
The Policy Briefs are the result of the Orchestra's workshops and they are jointly written by the "best and the brightest" in their respective field of expertise. The mix of coordinators and authors from inside and outside the region will make it possible not only to get the first-hand national and regional information, but also to express the more distanced views of extra-regional experts.
Thank You, Mr. Facilitator! - Honoring Amb. Jaakko Laajava in the Context of Finland’s Contributions to Peace and Security
This POLICY BRIEF reviews the efforts and experiences of the Finnish Facilitator, Amb. Jaakko Laajava, to achieve the goal of establishing a Conference in Helsinki on a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and all other Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Vehicles. It draws on the expectations and hopes which were presented by APOME Players in POLICY BRIEF No. 6 “Welcome, Mr. Facilitator!” Even though the envisaged Helsinki Conference did not take place, thanks to Mr. Laajava’s tireless efforts almost all relevant state players from the conflict region met again for the first time in almost twenty years at a series of five meetings in the Swiss cities of Glion and Geneva. This POLICY BRIEF documents in a unique way the personal accounts and assessments of the Facilitator and his colleagues that have not previously been available in a coherent and comprehensive way. They have evolved from Jaakko Laajava’s role as PRIF’s First Honorary Diplomat Research Fellow. He was the center of the project on “New Paths for Disarmament and Nonproliferation in the Middle East/Gulf.” Mr. Laajava inspired APOME’s Team as well as all participants in the two international expert conferences that took place in Frankfurt (December 8-9, 2015) and Berlin (May 3-4, 2016) generously sponsored by our cooperation partners: the German Federal Foreign Office in Berlin, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs in Berne, the German Foundation for Peace Research, and the Ecumenical Center of the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau and of Kurhessen-Waldeck in Frankfurt/Main.
The JCPOA - A Potential “Game Changer” for a Regional WMD/DVs Free Zone as Part of Cooperative Security ArrangementsA Potential “Game Changer” for a Regional WMD/DVs Free Zone as Part of Cooperative Security Arrangements
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and the E3+3 states represents not only an important breakthrough in the international dispute over the Iranian nuclear program, but may also have a positive impact on any nonproliferation and disarmament effort in the Middle East. This could help to overcome the current stalemate after the failed Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in New York in May, 2015. This POLICY BRIEF proposes utilizing the momentum achieved with Tehran, particularly in re-introducing the idea of a WMD/DVs Free Zone throughout the Middle East/Gulf, as part of broader security arrangements. Building on the analytical framework of earlier contributions, we seek to evaluate whether and how the JCPOA affected the respective bilateral relations, in particular with regard to security concerns/threat perceptions and the potential for cooperation. This POLICY BRIEF was written in the context of the project “New Paths for Disarmament and Nonproliferation in the Middle East/Gulf,” dedicated to Ambassador Jaakko Laajava, and generously sponsored by the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs in Berne. Between November 1, 2015 and August 31, 2016, the project included two international expert gatherings in Frankfurt (December 8–9, 2015) and Berlin (May 3–4, 2016), generously supported by the German Foundation for Peace Research and the Ecumenical Center of the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau and of Kurhessen-Waldeck. Both gatherings were devoted to developing new ideas for overcoming the current situation of non-communication among governments in the NPT context. The authors wish to express their gratitude to Ambassador Laajava for his comments on an earlier presentation during his third stay as PRIF’s First Honorary Diplomat Research Fellow in Frankfurt in June, 2016.
Transboundary Water Conflicts in the Middle East - Exploring Multilateral Environmental Cooperation between Israel and Its Neighbors
Transboundary water systems ignore political borders and create inescapable dependencies among riparians. In certain settings, such interdependency can stimulate transnational cooperation. In others, it can be a catalyst for conflict. The water crisis between Israel and Palestine is a facet of the conflict that is much less visible than struggles over power and politics, but which must be integrated into the peacemaking process – not least because it is embedded within a web of political and socio-economic issues, but also because it is in danger of creating grave humanitarian and environmental problems. As the region’s water resources become increasingly scarce and polluted, the situation to overcome the natural water crisis using a top-down approach remains stuck in a deadlock. For cooperation to occur on an equal, sustainable basis, certain conditions have to be met, which will be presented in this POLICY BRIEF. In an attempt to revive the negotiations on military cooperation, other fields of regional cooperation such as the water realm should be explored and tested. This POLICY BRIEF therefore investigates under what conditions cooperative initiatives from the environmental field can be transferred to the disarmament and nonproliferation area. It further argues that the water sector can both contribute from and enhance on-going efforts in the disarmament and nonproliferation sector.
First Steps towards a Regional Security Architecture - Unilateral and Multilateral Opportunities for Israel
The fact that the 2015 NPT Review Conference has failed to agree on a consensus document is certainly disappointing. The convening of five rounds of multilateral consultations between Israel and the Arab states since 2013 can surely be considered an achievement, but negotiations in New York were again characterized by traditional positions that prevented any substantial progress towards establishing a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East. Against this backdrop, returning to a ‘business-as-usual policy’ with regard to nonproliferation and disarmament is therefore hardly possible. Once the dust has settled, regional actors would be well advised to make use of the multi-faceted opportunities, presented in this Policy Brief, to prove their continuing commitment to disarmament and to revive the regional peace process as crucial steps towards the future establishment of a regional security architecture that is based on a comprehensive understanding of ‘security’. While such a two-track gradual approach requires many compromises by all relevant actors, Israeli diplomacy in the future may well make use of the rather pragmatic approach of its more moderate neighbors, who have shown less ideological and more compromise-oriented stances on various issues. Nevertheless, at the end of the day Israel has to be willing to commit, in principle, to far-reaching concessions in a security-compatible way. This would send an important message to the public of all Middle Eastern states that Israel is a true partner for peace, disarmament, democracy, and economic prosperity.
The Energetic but Overstretched Arab ‘Hegemon of the Gulf’ - Qatar in Times of Regional Upheavals
Based on the ‘Middle East Regional Hegemony Approach’ outlined in Policy Brief No. 42, this issue examines Qatar’s foreign policy shifts in the context of the Arab Spring. The small Gulf monarchy has evolved from a foreign policy based on utilizing soft-power tools such as mediation to one favoring hard-power instruments of active interventionism. This Policy Brief assesses Doha’s foreign policy according to four main principles: the core interest in regime survival and security, the use of soft power as a tool for boosting Qatar’s standing in regional politics, the management of relations with regional competitors, and efforts to tighten security relations with its Western allies. This includes focusing on Doha’s massive domestic and global investment strategy as well as the shift from soft-power to hard-power tools in the regional conflicts in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria. We will show that although Doha’s foreign policy strategies may at times seem to lack a clear concept, they are driven by a political vision that is clearly set to establish Qatar as a ‘brand’ and assert security interests through investment and prestige. We argue that Doha’s security interests will be served best by returning to the former strategy of mediation and focusing on politics that foster cooperation between the regional partners. This would also serve Qatar’s self-proclaimed ambitions to support the process towards a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East.
An Assertive and Besieged ‘Hegemon of the Gulf’ - The Islamic Republic of Iran at a Critical Juncture
Based on the ‘Middle East Regional Hegemony Approach’ outlined in Policy Brief No. 42, this issue examines the Islamic Republic of Iran as a perceived ‘Hegemon of the Gulf’. Derived from its rich civilizational history, Iran upholds a traditional claim for regional supremacy. In the domestic realm, however, the Islamic Republic is confronted with economic, political, social, and demographic challenges of a magnitude that can potentially undercut its ambitions and the paramount goal of the ruling elite: regime stability. Tehran’s domestic and foreign policy goals are underlined by two features: its active regional interventionism and the nuclear negotiations with the E3+3. While the Arab Peninsula is not of primary Iranian interest, stable influence in the Levant and a remarkable impact on Iraqi politics are the result of employing a broad scope of foreign policy tools and intensified ties with state and non-state actors. The nuclear talks provide the potential for a Comprehensive Nuclear Agreement, which will protect central elements of Iran’s nuclear activities and remove nuclear-related sanctions. Therefore, we argue that Tehran’s regime security would best be served by a less assertive foreign policy and a strong determination to close the nuclear file. Common regional interests cry out for an interest-based strategy of cooperation between Iran, its regional neighbors, and the international community. This could have positive repercussions on the Helsinki Conference on a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East.
The Arab Spring and the Three ‘Hegemons of the Gulf’ - The Quest for Regional Primacy of Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar in View of the Helsinki Conference
The Arab Spring has severely impacted upon the Middle East. While several countries descended into chaos, the three ‘Hegemons of the Gulf’ – Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar – adapted their policies to maintain regime security by preserving and extending their regional influence although with limited success. In this Policy Brief, we develop the ‘Middle East Regional Hegemony Approach’, drawing on the traditional hegemony concept and the recent regional power approach for analyzing the regional ambitions of the three countries. This includes examining, first, the existing patterns of amity/enmity in the Gulf sub-region; second, the domestic dimensions as the basis for foreign policy and regional security; and third, the foreign policy instruments – from soft to hard power. This approach makes it finally possible to assess the influence of the three ‘Hegemons of the Gulf’ on the sub-regional, wider Middle East, and international level. Concluding that there are severe costs to pay for pursuing a hegemonic policy, this Policy Brief argues that Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar should search for opportunities of cooperation as an alternative and a less risky route towards securing sub-regional, regional, and international influence. This could have positive repercussions on the Helsinki Conference on a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East.
The Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone - Lessons Learned for the Helsinki Process
This Policy Brief analyzes the establishment of the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone – the first zone in the northern hemisphere. Compared with other zones, the treaty text contains the most comprehensive obligations and provides a powerful example of strengthening regional and international non-proliferation efforts. The Central Asian experience implies several lessons learned for the Helsinki Process on the establishment of a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East. Familiarizing the different actors with each other remains essential. Organizing formal and informal communication platforms is extremely helpful in order to introduce such a habit of dialogue. While dialogue takes root, confidence and trust can be enhanced. This should be supported by strong leadership from regional officials. Specialized UN agencies, as honest brokers, can help establish a group of experts, with the participation of experts from the region, to elaborate the forms and elements of preparation and implementation of an agreement. Such gatherings can prove instrumental in compiling the most important principles, contents, and milestones – not yet a treaty text – for a future WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East.
Confidence-building Measures and Arms Control in the Middle East Can Go Hand-in-Hand - Offering a Different Perspective on the Issue of ‘Sequencing’
The effort to establish a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles in the Middle East has raised in the context of discussing such a zone the relationship between confidence-building measures (CBMs) and tackling weapons directly. One common view is that, in an area with such a history of conflict and mistrust, a long period of building trust and confidence must precede efforts to regulate arms. Another view is that CBMs are too often used to delay and substitute for ‘real’ arms control. This Policy Brief – in contrast – argues that many years of experience in solving problems in the East-West context have shown that arms control without some measure of trust and confidence is very difficult, while CBMs alone without some formal constraints on, and predictability regarding, armaments is unlikely to solve issues. In this respect, the Middle East will not be ‘so different’ as many regional representatives claim and based upon past experience, neither confidence nor arms control can proceed very far in isolation from one another: they must be pursued in parallel and can be mutually reinforcing.
Improving the Conditions of Success for the WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East - Overcoming the Core Challenges by Intercontinental Learning
The Six Continent Initiative is designed to offer incentives for intercontinental learning, i.e. for adopting and adapting arms control and disarmament experiences, successes, and opportunities, in order to support the efforts of establishing a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East. This Policy Brief therefore addresses seven structural stumbling blocks: the fixation on the nuclear dimension; the management of trust; the “sequencing issue”; the “conceptual gap” regarding regional security and arms control; the lack of dialogue structures; the prejudice that nuclear weapons do no harm unless used; and, finally, the lack of empathy and patience. The experiences and measures discussed in this Policy Brief may well expedite regional and international discussion of how to move forward towards zonal disarmament: as a vital element of a regional peace strategy, the planned Helsinki Conference represents the ‘golden opportunity’ to develop a (more) cooperative regional security concept, which builds on the principles that real security cannot be achieved against, but only with your neighbor(s) and that under certain circumstances, fewer weapons can mean more security.
U.S./NATO Missile Defense in Europe - Implications for Iran and the Two Major Conveners of the Helsinki Conference
This Policy Brief analyzes the role of U.S./NATO missile defense (MD) programs in Europe as a response to the perceived missile threat emanating from Iran and also examines these MD activities in the East-West context, especially regarding their impact on the behavior of Washington and Moscow as the two major conveners of the envisaged Helsinki Conference on a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East. In the Iranian-Western context the rationales for pursuing such a costly project are assessed as being unconvincing: first, the Pentagon does not regard the MD-equipped Aegis ship as needing to protect all points in Europe at all times - underscoring that there is no 'real threat' permanently emanating from Tehran's missiles. Second, U.S. officials have stated that American MD activities will cover all of Europe by the year 2018. Therefore, the costly and technologically utterly limited programs of European NATO members will then be redundant. Within the East-West context, this Policy Brief argues that, first, Western MD activities have contributed considerably to a generally confrontational climate. Second, despite the current Ukraine-centered crisis, it is not yet too late for an intensified constructive bilateral approach so that the Helsinki Conference could become reality. One case in point is the selective and determined bilateralism demonstrated by Washington and Moscow, which resulted in Syria's chemical weapons arsenal being destroyed.
Conflict Mediation in the Middle East - Lessons from Egypt as a Mediator and Object of Mediation
In recent years, Egypt has achieved three mediation successes: the unity deal between Fatah and Hamas as well as the Gilat Shalit prisoner exchange in 2011 and the cease-fire agreement between Hamas and Israel in November 2012. These mediation successes stand in stark contrast to the unsuccessful efforts by external actors from the Middle East and the international arena to mitigate the intra-Egyptian tensions in Summer 2013. This Policy Brief approaches this puzzle by developing a framework for analyzing mediation efforts and assessing the conditions for success in the cases at hand. It argues that the mediation successes analyzed gave Egypt greater diplomatic clout in interactions with regional and inter-national actors. Yet the failed mediation efforts following the crisis of July 2013 and the resulting political, economic, and social instability of the most populous Arab country have rather developed into another stumbling block on the way to the Helsinki Conference on the establishment of a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East - with a 'give and take' attitude at its core.
The Practice and Promise of Inter-faith Dialogue and Peacebuilding in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - Concretizing the Positive Role of Religion in Settling the Long-standing Dispute
This Policy Brief approaches inter-religious dialogue, education, and action from two different perspectives: the conceptual/theoretical and the practical views. The first one concludes that one should not expect too little of religious peacebuilding, because religious institutions and leaders have enormous resources at their disposal for supporting peace. The second one holds that one should not expect too much: religion cannot be the main solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when it is not the core problem. In order to achieve a comprehensive peace which takes into account the religious and spiritual dimensions, believers on all sides need to become active on at least three levels: during official negotiations, at the international/regional level by religious authorities, and, finally, at the grassroots level. The latter is of special relevance since the challenge of transforming people's hearts and minds after generations of conflict requires a serious and systematic set of educational programs for future generations about the existential need to learn to live together. In this context, the activities of the Interreligious Coordinating Council of Israel and of Al Wasatia, Moderate Islamic Movement in Palestine, are presented as two encouraging examples - without losing sight of the numerous other ongoing inter-faith initiatives in the Holy Land.
Biological and Chemical Weapons Verification - Proposals for Transparency-enhancing and Confidence-building Measures
Reviewing the Helsinki process of discussing a Middle East WMD/DVs Free Zone, the question arises whether having the missing states join the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) would sufficiently address the security concerns in the region. While this question remains difficult to answer, this Policy Brief investigates the possible contributions by the BTWC and CWC and their respective transparency-enhancing and verification mechanisms. First it describes the different international legal instruments governing the prohibitions on chemical and biological weapons. Furthermore, it discusses the various available tools to enhance transparency, and monitor and enforce compliance. It identifies possible additional measures specific to the region and suggests a number of concrete steps to initiate multinational activities to augment trust and confidence in the validity of the ultimate goal of regional disarmament. Moreover, it takes into account Syria’s unexpected accession to the CWC and acceptance of an accelerated CW destruction process under international supervision, and considers some implications for the wider Middle East. This Policy Brief concludes with a set of recommendations on verification and confidence building regarding chemical and biological weapons in the region.
Possible Frameworks for Verification of a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East - The Nuclear Dimension
Recognizing the 1995 NPT Resolution calling for a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East, it is worth noting that no such zone exists worldwide yet. Nuclear Weapon Free Zones are in effect, providing examples for issues of verification and organizational setup. Making the Middle East zone successful and sustainable will require, among others, solutions to verification issues that consider feasible and effective setups for institutional frameworks. Therefore, this Policy Brief addresses these issues by developing three possible verification frameworks for an NWFZ in the Middle East, in the broader context of a WMD/DVs Free Zone: verification carried out by the International Atomic Energy Agency; joint verification by the IAEA and a regional control mechanism; and separate verification by both institutions. This Policy Brief argues that, on balance, a Middle East NWFZ would be better off relying on IAEA verification and safeguards at the beginning. Over the medium- to longer-term, given the political will, financial, and human resources, the regional states could invest in a regional authority to build up their own capacity and thereby contribute to strengthening mutual confidence and trust.
From Rio to Helsinki? - Advantages and Shortcomings of the ABACC Concept and Its Possible Application in the Middle East
Recent discussions around the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery vehicles (DVs) in the Middle East have been encompassed by several proposals intended to design an efficient institutional framework that could be easily accepted by all states in the region. This Policy Brief provides a specific analysis of the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC) in order to suggest possible applications of the model to new contexts. Although seldom examined in its own evolution, the ABACC rapprochement model has been frequently read as a virtuous example of how nuclear rivalry can be turned into cooperation to ensure regional nuclear non-proliferation with a common technological benefit for both parties involved. Regarding this positive example of regional arms control and verification, this Policy Brief addresses similarities and differences with the current situation in the Middle East from a practical perspective. To this end, an interpretative matrix including multiple local variables and analytical dimensions that need to be considered when endorsing the transfer of the Argentine-Brazilian verification regime to other parts of the globe is offered. The key aspects include: a conflict- and actor-related dimension, a territorial, scientific-technological as well as legal dimension, plus other regional equilibriums (economical, cultural, religious dimemsions). The reading of such a matrix allows the authors to argue that, if certain conditions are met, the ABACC concept may provide a complete framework for 'neighbor-to-neighbor' safeguards and mutual control at a regional level that negotiators can rely on when fostering new paths for the Helsinki Conference on the establishment of a WMD/DVs Free Zone.
Mediating the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process - Current Prospects and Alternative Frameworks
This Policy Brief examines the reasons for the continued stalemate of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which started more than two decades ago. In particular, it assesses the ubiquity of American mediation as an integral part of the peace process and its role in the evolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the early 1990s. By looking at the characters of third-party mediation in the conflict and the unique traits of past and present American diplomatic efforts, this Policy Brief suggests that the current paradigm of American engagement, which has rarely been scrutinized in the past two decades, may not be conducive to the achievement of Israeli-Palestinian peace. The current efforts of Secretary of State, John Kerry, indicate that American mediation is no more likely to be successful in 2014 than it was ten or 20 years earlier. Accordingly the Policy Brief proposes alternative frameworks which may complement or supplant the current American approach to Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. It thus provides essential conceptual and policy tools to facilitate a deeper understanding of the vagaries of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the ways in which mediation can be harnessed to mitigate some of its key intricacies. As a policy analysis of conflict resolution, the insights in this Policy Brief also serve as important building blocks in the Helsinki process on establishing a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East.
Exploring Common Ground in a Promising Triangle - Improving Regional Dynamics between Afghanistan, Iran, and the United States
Afghanistan has been and will continue to be a key factor for the adjacent regional security architecture of the Middle East due to its geostrategic location. During the upcoming transition period until 2014 and thereafter, the international community will have to prove its continued commitment as a partner to the Afghan government and people. Although technically on the margins of the Middle East, Afghanistan has always been an important factor in the political dynamics between its geographical neighbors and the West. Therefore, the transition should be closely followed, as a stable Afghanistan will also be beneficial for the entire region and its international strategic partners. Against this backdrop, this Policy Brief seeks to explore possibilities for Iran and the U.S. as two key players in the region to become salient investors and partners to Afghanistan in addressing security issues, the refugee problem, and underdevelopment as well as combating terrorism. Therefore, this issue considers the potential for regional cooperation on Afghanistan, identifying common interests and the possibilities for joint engagement.
Nuclear Disarmament in South Africa - Historic Events and the Lessons for the Middle East
The South African disarmament example is historically unique. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Pretoria dismantled its nuclear deterrent as well as its biological and chemical weapon programs and its efforts to develop ballistic missiles and space launch systems. The proceedings covered the full spectrum of armaments which are also central to the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery vehicles (DVs) in the Middle East. It is, therefore, the distinct aim of this Policy Brief to identify various ‘lessons learned’ from the political and technical factors involved in the process of abandoning the South African WMD programs. Three overarching factors can be identified which contributed towards the dismantlement of the South African WMD arsenals. These were firstly, the democratization process within the country itself and, secondly, significant regional and global events that eased South Africa’s security situation on the regional and international level. The unilateral process of nuclear dismantlement – which is seen by many as a model for other countries – was kept secret. Inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) started only afterwards and finally confirmed the complete dismantlement of the nuclear weapon program (‘backwards verification’). South Africa occupies a unique position in history in being the only state that has ever unilaterally and voluntarily discarded its WMD as well as its missile programs. We hope that other states follow our example to take this decision voluntarily without having any obligation to do so, for the sake of making the earth and the world a safer place and avoid conflict in the future.
Exploring Economic Cooperation in the Middle East - A Catalyst for the Helsinki Conference?
The envisaged Helsinki Conference on the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles is supposed to be purely focused on arms. Nevertheless, the negotiations will not evolve within a political vacuum. Expanding economic cooperation among neighbors, therefore, may contribute not only to a generally more positive atmosphere, but may also help realizing compromise-oriented solutions to the weapons problem. We are well aware that the relations between Israel and Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey are dominated by various conflicts: there is no solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the horizon, the Peace Treaties with Egypt and Jordan have remained mostly ‘cold’, and the political ties with Turkey face severe challenges. While politics remains the single most important factor in the respective dyads, the economy is not irrelevant. Despite rather asymmetrical political and economic relations, it is widely recognized that economic elements can principally have an impact. They could prove essential for peace building in the Israeli-Palestinian case as well as for peace preserving and enhancing towards Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey. This way, economy contributes to intensifying dialogue, reducing misunderstandings, increasing confidence, and may, finally, facilitate chances of success for developing a sustainable security architecture for the Middle East.
Walking a Tightrope in Baghdad - The ‘New’ Iraq between Sovereignty and Iranian Influence
Since the last American troops left Iraq in December 2011, the government in Baghdad has moved closer towards the Islamic Republic of Iran and has, for example, supported the Assad regime in the Syrian Civil War. This does, however, not suggest a strategic Shiite alliance under Iranian leadership from Tehran over Bagdad and Damascus to Beirut. Recent developments show that the ‘new’ Iraq is not a satellite of Iran. In the aftermath of the U.S. occupation, Iraqi politicians increasingly view Iran’s influence as an obstacle to the sovereign development of the country. In order to understand the complexities of Iraqi politics in its current state of post-American sovereignty and Iranian interference, this Policy Brief analyzes the Islamic Republic’s military, political, and economic influence on the country. It will demonstrate that the tensions resulting from this bilateral relationship play an important role in Baghdad’s efforts to develop a foreign policy based on neutrality and the peaceful resolution to regional conflicts. This Policy Brief also suggests how Iraq could profit from its close connections with Iran, its status as an Arab state, and its special relations with the United States. This composition provides the country with an opportunity to facilitate cooperation on issues of regional security – it could even become a regional mediator. The greatest challenge to such a course is certainly Iraq’s domestic instability.
Preparing the Ground for Regional Arms Limitations - Operations, Deployment, and Testing of Medium-range Ballistic Missiles in the Israeli-Iranian-Saudi Triangle
In this Policy Brief, we discuss options for far-reaching confidence- and security-building measures in the areas of operations, deployment, and testing of medium-range ballistic missiles, and apply them to the Israeli-Iranian-Saudi triangle. In the area of missile operations, we suggest that each state in the triangle declare that its medium-range missiles are not permanently targeted at any specific neighbor and are not maintained on permanent ready-to launch alert. We further entertain the possibility of forgoing or limiting certain modes of deployment that are considered particularly destabilizing as well as introducing ceilings on deployed missile forces beyond the actors’ current capabilities. With regard to the modernization and expansion of missile capabilities, we promote a regional flight-test ban on longer-range ballistic missiles as an effective preventive measure. These robust CSBMs can increase the level of strategic stability and form an important part of a regional norm-building process. With both regional and extra-regional actors still working towards a WMD/DVs Free Zone, missile-related proposals offer the prospect of selective cooperation beyond the intractable core challenges in the WMD area. Thus, the proposed measures offer benefits not only to Israel, Iran, and Saudi Arabia but to all states of the region and could facilitate negotiations in Helsinki.
Applying Missile-related Confidence- and Security-building Measures in the Middle East - The Challenges in the Israeli-Egyptian and Israeli-GCC Relationship
This Policy Brief applies the concept of missile-related confidence- and security-building measures (CSBMs) laid out in Policy Brief No. 18 to the political core challenges in Israel’s relationships to Egypt and the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). It also examines five main challenges relating to arms control/reduction and the envisaged Helsinki Conference. For Israel and Egypt the core challenge is the nuclear issue. Cairo demands that Israel dismantle its nuclear arsenal, which Israel in turn regards as vital for its security. Given this stand-off, agreement on modest and far-reaching CSBMs could be useful. Because of their secondary importance in the overall arsenals of both countries, missile-related CSBMs should be used to improve bilateral relations as a precondition for tackling the nuclear issue in the future. The core challenge Israel faces with the GCC states is the lack of alignment between relatively low military tensions and the highly loaded Israeli-Arab dispute with which the non-existent diplomatic relationships between Israel and the GCC states is associated. This conflict cannot be directly resolved by trust-building measures. Nevertheless, CSBMs such as mutual visits to missile tests or to space rocket launches could certainly facilitate to revive the Arab Peace Initiative, which in turn might lead to improvements in the Arab-Israeli relationship.
Modest Confidence- and Security-building Measures for the Middle East - No-first Use Declarations, Transparency Measures, and Communication Structures
The incremental process towards a zone free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery vehicles (DVs) in the Middle East could benefit from two sets of modest confidence- and security-building measures (CSBMs). Their objective would be to reassure potential enemies that one’s intentions are not aggressive and that military capacities are used only in a defensive mode. The long-term hoped for effect could be to defuse tensions, develop mutual trust, and pave the way for more far-reaching measures required for the establishment of a WMD/DVs Free Zone. The first set of CSBMs would be mutual no-first use declarations regarding WMD and/or their DVs. It could take the form of a minimum approach for no-first use of unconventional missiles against states which do not possess such missiles themselves (and right of retaliation in case of attack), or it could take the more ambitious shape of an unconditional no-first use of any missiles (except in case of invasion). The second set of CSBMs would be transparency and structures for the exchange of data related to military forces (holdings, use, doctrine, movements, etc.). As the experience of bilateral hotlines and the European multilateral network has shown, such measures can prevent misperceptions and avoid conflict escalation.
Military Confidence- and Security-building Measures - Lessons from the Cold War for the Middle East
The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis showed that the world was on the brink of a nuclear catastrophe and that systematic security coordination between the U.S. and the Soviet Union was urgently needed. The following era of détente paved the way for the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe which resulted in the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and first voluntary confidence-building measures. After developing common principles and procedures, the security dialogue intensified and the scope of trust building expanded. The espousal of the policy of ‘glasnost’ (transparency) by new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev finally broke the stalemate of the negotiations. With the 1986 Stockholm Document these strengthened measures became politically binding, militarily significant, and verifiable. The primary goal of this Policy Brief is to understand the principles, objectives, and procedures which contributed to Cold War confidence building. Therefore, this issue examines the evolution of the East-West security dialogue and follows the path of military trust building from the 1950s to the beginning of the 1990s. It identifies lessons learned and assesses the transfer potential of trust-building initiatives to the volatile security situation of the Middle East – among them establishment of a structured regional security dialogue as a positive condition for making the Middle East Conference on a WMD/DVs Free Zone happen, successful, and sustainable.
The Third Step for Coping with Military Asymmetries in the Middle East - A Framework for Missile-related Confidence- and Security-building Measures
This Policy Brief makes the case that missile-related confidence- and security-building measures (CSBMs) are vital steps on way to a WMD/DVs Free Zone which will be discussed at the Helsinki Conference. Both categories of CSBMs – modest ones such as hot lines, or far-reaching ones, e.g. the de-targeting and de-alerting of missiles, are one element of an integrated and long-term approach that also includes arms control, reductions, and disarmament. However, both the missiles and the trust-building initiatives need to be seen within the predominant conflict formations in the Middle East. CSBMs are therefore analyzed in terms of the relationships between and among crucial states. The objective is twofold: first, to find out to what extent missile-related measures can address the core challenges identified in those relationships; and, second, whether and to what extent the constructive potential of CSBMs can tackle the five main arms control/reduction- and Helsinki-related challenges: managing and reducing deep-rooted mistrust; helping to start an arms control dialogue; offering positive spill-over effects in other areas, i.e. nuclear, biological, and chemical warheads; providing opportunities for norm building; and increasing opportunities in negotiations for trade-offs and bargaining.
The Specific Verification Requirements of a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East - Lessons Learned from Existing Arms Control and Disarmament Treaties
This Policy Brief addresses specific verification issues likely to arise in negotiating and imple- menting a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East. The analysis proceeds from the premise that, at entry into force of the treaty, all parties will have become members of the principal treaties in the WMD area and will have accepted IAEA safeguards and the Additional Protocol. The international experience with verification will form the basis in the zone. Its members can derive considerable benefit from the fact that all forms of WMD/DVs have successfully been eliminated from other parts of the world. It is widely believed that WMD already exist in the Middle East and have actually been used. Delivery systems also exist in abundance. Furthermore, the regional history of conflict and suspicion poses an essential demand for effective means of resolving compliance issues. More effective mechanisms need to be developed, including confidence- and security- building measures, reductions in existing WMD, and the total elimination of relevant systems and capabilities. This Policy Brief puts forward ideas for creating an effective verification regime satisfactory to all parties in the zone. n This Policy Brief builds on the contributions of the participants of an Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East Workshop held in Vienna, Austria, from September 8-10, 2012, generously founded by the Foreign Ministry of Norway. The views represented in this Policy Brief are solely those of the authors in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of entities the authors are associated with.
There is no direct precedent for what constitutes an ‘effectively verifiable’ zone free of all weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery vehicles (DVs), as has been called for by the international community in the Middle East. However, the prospective parties to such a zone can draw on a wealth of existing experience and techniques developed through implementation of existing bilateral, multilateral, and global arms control and disarmament treaties. This Policy Brief outlines key arms control verification concepts, their practical application under existing treaties, and the associated verification challenges likely to be encountered in the context of a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East. While the challenges may appear daunting, we share the opinion that the subject of verification may actually offer unique opportunities for regional dialogue, exchange, and even confidence building.
Internal and External Sources of Israeli Policy Change - Strategies for Inducing Greater Flexibility towards the Middle East Disarmament Process
Like the other states of the region, Israel will make a sovereign decision whether to join a ‘new’ Helsinki process for arms control and disarmament in the Middle East. Nonetheless, its decision is embedded in an international and domestic environment. In this Policy Brief, we will identify and assess those factors and approaches that might induce Israel to participate in such a process. Our analysis indicates that the United States has considerable leverage in this respect and we argue that it is time for the U.S. to reconsider its policy of ‘unconditional support’ with-out, however, compromising its strong commitment to Israel’s security. The influence of other external actors like the EU or Germany is comparatively limited. Substantial policy shifts could also originate within Israel, which is facing a severe socio-economic crisis and has witnessed its most extensive social protests ever. Naturally, the citizens of Israel have always viewed national security as a paramount concern. But the recent protests have brought another factor to the fore: personal economic security. The two concerns are linked and unless the Israeli government is able to bring the conflict with the Palestinians and Arabs to a political conclusion, Israel will continue to face difficult economic, social, and military challenges in the long run. A successful outcome of the envisioned Middle East Conference could benefit Israel in the long term by creating a more favorable geopolitical environment. The Israeli government must decide whether this might not be a time to plan for the country’s long-term security and development, and adjust its priorities accordingly.
The First Two Steps to Cope with Military Asymmetries in the Middle East (II) - Listing Security Concerns and Motives behind Weapon Programs in the GCC States and Iran
Establishing a zone free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery vehicles (DVs) in the Middle East requires a cooperative, ‘give and take’ approach to arms control, reduction, and disarmament. Without providing a blueprint, we suggest a strategy for coping with the ‘jungle’ of military complexities by presenting the lists of security concerns of the participating countries at the Middle East Conference as a first step. As a second step, we propose to identify the motives and interests behind WMD and DV programs, which also reflect domestic factors such as historical experiences, military-industrial-bureaucratic interests, and broad domestic power constellations. Taken together, these security concerns and motives behind WMD and DV programs constitute the major stumbling blocks on the gradual way towards a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East. The dialectical, yet asymmetrical relationship between conflict formations/coalitions and weapons is also relevant for assessing confidence- and security-building measures (CSBMs). Hence, the immediate conclusion is to conceptualize weapon/DV-related CSBMs as the next step along the incremental path towards a WMD/DVs Free Zone. While a previous issue has analyzed Egypt, Israel, and Syria, this Policy Brief deals with the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council vis-à-vis Israel and Iran, Iran vis-à-vis the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. vis-à-vis Iran.
The First Two Steps to Cope with Military Asymmetries in the Middle East (I) - Listing Security Concerns and Motives behind Weapon Programs in Egypt, Israel, and Syria
In order to establish a zone free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery vehicles (DVs) in the Middle East, a cooperative, ‘give and take’ approach to arms control, reductions, and disarmament must be found. Without providing a blueprint, we suggest a strategy for coping with the ‘jungle’ of military complexities by presenting the lists of security concerns of the participating countries at the Middle East Conference as a first step. As a second step, we propose to identify the motives and interests behind WMD and DV programs, which additionally reflect domestic factors such as historical experiences, military-industrial bureaucratic interests, and broad domestic power constellations. Taken together, these security concerns, motives, and interests constitute the stumbling blocks on the gradual way towards a WMD/DVs Free Zone. The dialectical, yet asymmetrical relationship between conflict formations and weapons is also relevant for assessing confidence- and security building measures (CSBMs). Hence, the conclusion is to build both upon the lists of concerns and the motives and interests by conceptualizing weapon/DV-related CSBMs as the next step along the incremental path towards a WMD/DVs Free Zone. While this issue covers Egypt, Israel, and Syria, the following one will consider Iran, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the United States vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic.
From Confrontation to Selective Cooperation - Reconciling U.S. Extended Deterrence, Iran’s Security Concerns, and the Goal of a WMD/DVs Free Zone
In recent years, the United States has sought to bolster its regional security arrangements by means of massive arms transfers to its Arab partners and Israel, as well as an increased presence of naval and air forces in the Gulf region. While it would seem that these measures have had a reassuring and restraining effect on Washington’s allies, they have also served to accentuate Iran’s threat perceptions, thus contributing to an increased level of security competition in and around the Gulf. In this Policy Brief, we examine the logic of the United States’ strategy for regional security provision, its main pillars, and its impact on Iran’s security concerns within the overall context of the envisaged Helsinki Process for a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems in the Middle East. We then highlight opportunities for selective cooperation between the two main protagonists in the smoldering nuclear crisis. By proposing a number of concrete measures designed to lower tensions without alienating the United States’ regional allies or increasing the likelihood of additional proliferation attempts, we seek to outline an incremental path towards a less polarized regional security architecture that is compatible with the long-term goal of a WMD/DVs Free Zone.
Religious Fundamentalism as an Obstacle to Peace in the Middle East - Under What Conditions Might Pragmatism Prevail?
Religious fundamentalists have in several instances served as barriers to the peaceful conclusion of disputes in the Middle East, especially in the framework of the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As a consequence and irrespective of the specific definition of fundamentalism, these groups can constitute in various countries a substantial hurdle for any arms control initiative such as the upcoming Middle East Conference (MEC). This gathering, planned for late 2012, is to deal with the establishment of a zone free of all kinds of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery vehicles (DVs). Achieving a successful and sustainable outcome at the MEC could be hampered by a host of problems, one of which is the difficult role that religious fundamentalism could possibly play in undermining this initiative. Hence, this Policy Brief provides decision makers and practitioners with information on these presumably ‘negative’ actors, drawn from case studies covering various fundamentalist groups within the Middle East and beyond. These recommendations are based on the key finding that, contrary to mainstream expectations, the major players can behave pragmatically, provided they are acting in favorable circumstances.
The Arab Spring - Its Impact on the Region and on the Middle East Conference
The transformations broadly grouped under the term Arab Spring have shaken the foundations of a variety of Middle East regimes. This Policy Brief provides an overview of different cases where changes of and within the regime have taken place, as well as yet unsolved situations, with a view to the upcoming Middle East Conference.
Although the lack of progress in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as well as the international debate over the Iranian nuclear program are still contentious issues, the Arab Spring uprisings and their aftermath may provide a new context in which arms control initiatives could be more successful.It is too optimistic to think that existing dilemmas can be easily resolved in this new and changing environment, but the Arab Spring may provide strong momentum for change.
For the Facilitator of the Middle East Conference and his team the following factors should form a checklist of issues requiring immediate attention: how domestic events positively or negatively affect the decisions of involved actors; which countries are to take a leading and constructive role in the MEC process; how to benefit from a more visible Arab League; and finally, the Facilitator and his team should not ignore those countries which so far have not been affected by the Arab Spring but which will nevertheless be important for the Middle East Conference process.
Among delivery systems, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) constitute the latest military technology available. They offer new military options, but also new challenges in terms of their implications for politics and confl ict in the Middle East. In this Policy Brief, we argue that the establishment of a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East is effective only if all regional states agree on restrictions regarding the development and use of UAVs, since they could be capable of carrying nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons. We therefore strongly encourage Middle Eastern states and external powers to bring the issue of the control of UAVs on the agenda of the Middle East Conference. In this Policy Brief, we take stock of various regulations which directly or indirectly address the UAV problématique. We do so by evaluating existing arms control regulations, export controls, transparency as well as confidence- and securitybuilding measures. Based on these insights, we make recommendations on how to deal with armed unmanned aerial vehicles at the Middle East Conference and propose feasible first steps in the field of UAV normbuilding and arms control.
Yemen and the Middle East Conference - The Challenge of Failing States and Transnational Terrorism
Although the debate of the Middle East Conference is dominated by major regional actors, Yemen’s domestic crisis is of concern for its success. Despite not being the focus of significant non-proliferation concerns, it is not clear whether the country has consistently lived up to all its commitments. In addition, Yemen possesses a number of aircraft and missiles which might be used as delivery vehicles for weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, its status as a failing state at a geostrategically sensitive location poses profound challenges to regional and global security. Should Yemen become a failed state, weapons smuggling could increase. The potential access of terrorist groups to chemical weapons could seriously undermine regional and global security. The ongoing tensions in the country’s North also raise the specter of Yemen being drawn into the wider competition over regional influence between Riyadh and Tehran.
Welcome, Mr. Facilitator! - The Track II Community Endorses Ambassador Jaakko Laajava
Within the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East, experts from the Middle East and beyond have explicitly discussed various questions regarding the role and tasks of the Finnish Facilitator of the 2012 Middle East Conference envisaged by the international community. In this Policy Brief we express the expectations, hopes, concerns, and recommendations of the assembled experts to Ambassador Jaakko Laajava and his team. We all join in supporting him in his efforts to create the political will to make the Middle East Conference happen, successful, and sustainable. The Facilitator will have to deal with a variety of challenges and opportunities. To these we propose some options and recommendations. In general, we encourage the Facilitator to take an active and impartial role during the process that we hope will lead to the establishment of a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East.
Nuclear Weapon Free Zones and the Nuclear Powers - Lessons for a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East
The proposal to establish a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles in the Middle East poses a variety of challenges. One is the attitude nuclear weapon states are likely to adopt towards the prospective zone. In the past these states played a crucial role in ensuring the success of nuclear weapon free zones (NWFZs) as they can provide the parties to those treaties with negative security assurances, i.e. legal guarantees against nuclear attacks.
Building on Experiences of Mediation in the Arab World - Assessing Positive Conditions for the Middle East Conference
This Policy Brief provides a checklist of factors that increase the chances of success for conducting or facilitating mediation in the Middle East. These guidelines are tested by examining six case studies of recent Middle East mediation efforts as well as by asking whether and how the factors on the checklist influenced the outcomes in each case. The analysis suggests that the checklist helps to identify those circumstances which are conducive to successful mediation. It is thus a tool to aid policy-makers and practitioners in recognizing or creating conditions for successful mediation.
The Reconciliation of Hamas and Fatah - Smoothing the Way to the Middle East Conference by Contributing to Peace and Security in the Region
The 2011 reconciliation agreement between the two major Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah could contribute to reviving the fledgling Middle East peace process. This Policy Brief identifies the platform of the future Palestinian government as the key for linking Palestinian unity and the possible resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Progress on this front could help mitigate regional tensions and therefore enhance prospects for success of the envisaged 2012 Middle East Conference. Any political settlement between Israel and the Palestinians requires the presence of a representative acceptable by both Gaza and the West Bank. As such Palestinian reconciliation is a pre-requisite to achieving peace and security in the region.
Getting the Middle East Conference Started - Opportunities for Israel and Iran to Join the Process
The participation of Israel and Iran, two major conflicting parties in the Middle East, is vital for convening a successful Middle East Conference on a regional zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles. This Policy Brief presents motivating reasons for both states to join this important international gathering. The authors emphasize opportunities included in the mandate for the planned Middle East Conference and identify key national interests on the part of both countries for participating in the event. This Policy Brief argues that the participation of both Israel and Iran would create a win-win situation not only between these two parties but also for the entire Middle East.
How to Make the Middle East Conference Happen, Successful, and Sustainable - A Conceptual Framework for a Track II Expert Group’s Contribution
The Middle East Conference envisaged by the international community for 2012 is meant to discuss the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and of their delivery vehicles. For a classical Track II project like the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East, this is a historic opportunity to provide timely ideas, concepts, and background information for the relevant addressees in the region, the United Nations, and the embassies, and especially for the Facilitator, Finnish Ambassador Jaakko Laajava, and his staff.