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.
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.
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.
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.