Conventional Arms Sales

Stoking the Nuclear Fire

by Michael Klare
published in MER112

For years, US leaders have attempted to muffle opposition to overseas arms sales by arguing that transfers of conventional, non-nuclear munitions reduce the risk of nuclear war. If we provide our allies with adequate conventional defenses, the argument goes, they will not be motivated to acquire nuclear defenses. But conventional arms sales to the Middle East have not reduced the risk of nuclear war. In fact, the opposite is true: Cascading arms sales to the region are making nuclear war more, not less likely.

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Handshakes in Geneva

by The Editors | published November 30, 2013

Everyone is happy with the interim agreement reached with Iran in Geneva on November 23 -- that is, everyone who really wants to defuse the tensions over Iran’s nuclear research program.

Adams, Israel and South Africa

by Tim Frasca
published in MER133

James Adams, Israel and South Africa: The Unnatural Alliance (London: Quartet Books/Namara, 1985).

James Adams, a senior executive at the Sunday Times of London, scores an overwhelming victory in undermining the thesis of his own title. After even a few pages, his book convinces us, albeit unintentionally, that the Israel-South Africa courtship (and its many consummations) is quite a natural alliance after all, though not without the usual bumps. Mercifully, his remarks on the presumed improbability of the relationship betweeen “a people in flight from racism” and a state “founded on the ideas of racial superiority” absorb little of the author’s energy or the reader’s time.

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Intervention and the Nuclear Firebreak in the Middle East

by Michael Klare
published in MER128

The “deadly connection” -- the link between interventionism, conventional warfare and nuclear war -- has now become a major issue for the peace movement. This, in turn, has compelled those working on nuclear disarmament questions to begin to deal with the Middle East and US policy there. The reason for this is simple. When we look at specific regions of the world, it is obvious that the Middle East is the area where the connection arises in its most acute and dangerous form -- the area where a nuclear war is most likely to break out.

The PLO and the European Peace Movement

by
published in MER143

In July 1985, the European Nuclear Disarmament movement (END) convened in Amsterdam. One plenary session featured a discussion between Ilan Halevi and Mary Kaldor concerning peace movement support for liberation struggles in the Third World, and for the Palestine Liberation Organization in particular. The question had provoked considerable controversy at END’s meetings a year earlier, and the conference organizers responded by inviting Halevi and Kaldor to discuss frankly the issues at stake, including pacifism, political violence and the reluctance of Western peace forces to confront Israeli militarism and occupation policies.

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Pakistan's Nuclear Fix

by Joe Stork
published in MER143

Earlier this year, stories citing US intelligence documents reported that Pakistan now had the capacity to enrich uranium to 93 percent. In other words, Pakistan could produce its own weapons-grade nuclear material. This is perhaps the single most difficult step in manufacturing nuclear bombs.

Few persons who had been following Pakistan’s efforts were surprised by this news, or doubted its accuracy. In February 1984, Pakistan’s general-president, Zia ul-Haq, confirmed that Pakistan had made its first enrichment breakthrough, to the 5 percent level needed for research and nuclear power purposes. From that point it was only a matter of time before the country’s nuclear technicians achieved weapons-grade enrichment capacity.

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Recipe for an Israeli Nuclear Arsenal

by Martha Wenger
published in MER143

Ten years ago, 62 percent of Israelis questioned in a poll were convinced that their nation had the nuclear bomb; 77 percent thought that if it didn’t already have it, it should. Only four percent believed Israel was nuclear-free. [1] In October 1986, an Israeli nuclear technician revealed to the Sunday Times of London that Israel indeed has an extensive nuclear weapons program. Mordechai Vanunu, who worked in a secret underground Israeli bomb factory for nine years, convinced top US and British nuclear scientists who questioned him closely that Israel has built at least 100 and possibly as many as 200 nuclear weapons. This would make Israel the sixth-ranking nuclear power in the world.

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Nuclear Shadow Over the Middle East

by Joe Stork
published in MER143

In the summer of 1984, Newsweek published the results of a Gallup poll of hundreds of top-ranking American military officers. Among the questions was this: where did they see the greatest threat of a conflict situation which might escalate to nuclear war? The majority responded clearly: the Middle East. [1]

Nuclear Summits and the Middle East

by Mohamed Sid-Ahmed
published in MER151

To what extent can agreements on nuclear disarmament between the superpowers contribute to the reduction of tensions in regional conflicts, particularly in the Middle East?

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The Middle East and Soviet Military Strategy

by Michael MccGuire
published in MER151

The Middle East, the Persian Gulf and the eastern Mediterranean are of particular strategic concern to Moscow because of their proximity to the Soviet Union. In addition, the Soviets view the Middle East in the second half of the 20th century as akin to the Balkans at the turn of the century: they consider the area to be the most likely source of a world war. Since 1979, moreover, the Soviets have confronted the concrete possibility of a major military conflict with the United States in the area north of the Persian Gulf. This prospect has brought the dangers of political turbulence in the Middle East into sharper focus, and altered Soviet perceptions of the immediate strategic significance of various countries in the Middle East.

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