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Other states in the Middle East will go nuclear if Iran does.

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Other states in the Middle East will go nuclear if Iran does.

Alex Helling's picture
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Iran continues to be on the international agenda with sanctions against Iran tightening over the next few months. These sanctions may have been enough to persuade the Israelis to give them a chance and not launch air strikes that may well be ineffective. One of the reasons that is given in every reasoning that says Iran must be stopped from getting the bomb is that an iranian bomb will inevitably lead to other states such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and possibly Turkey to follow and aquire their own capabilities. In a volatile region like the Middle East it would be unwise for any states to let its neighbours get an advantage over it and so any advance by one state is likely to trigger an arms race, in this case a nuclear arms race. This is also the logic of deterrence; Saudi Arabia knows that it can live with an Iranian bomb but only if it has its own nuclear weapons so as to create deterrence in the region. If other countries do not however get the bomb Iran will potentially be able to cause damage to other states while they will not be able to do anything in return for fear of nuclear retaliation that they can’t match. But is it really the case that if there is a little proliferation in the form of Iran getting the bomb that there will suddenly be a proliferation crisis in the region?  
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/04/02/don_t_fear_a_nuclear_arms_race
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/29/saudi-build-nuclear-weapons-iran

2 years 20 weeks ago
booji's picture
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It would be slightly odd if they did. All the states that could go nuclear are friends or allies of the United States. This means two things, first that they have little need to go nuclear as the United States could simply extend their 'nuclear umbrella' over these states as they already do for NATO and some Asian allies. Second that they would have a lot to loose by getting the bomb. The United States and the rest of the west would surely put sanctions on any state that goes nuclear without permission. Although it would be unlikely to be as severe as they have been towards Iran, more likely it would be a like India and Pakistan going nuclear with sanctions and a few years left in the cold.

2 years 20 weeks ago
Alex Helling's picture
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For me the real question is why a group of islamic states would want to go nuclear in response to Iran going nuclear when they did not in response to Israel doing the same. At the time Israel got the Bomb Egypt had recently been at war with Israel so it cant simply be that Iran can be considered a greater threat than israel was for these states. These states did not have the capability to quickly build a bomb but then as they do now so perhaps they were worried about an israeli first strike? But if that was the case then why should they not be worried about the same thing now? Essentially if these states learnt to live with and Israeli bomb why not an Iranian one?

2 years 20 weeks ago
booji's picture
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Potentially due to differences of perception between the two countries. Any nuclear strike on a neighbour by Israel would severely damage Israel as well due to the country's small size. And of course Israel already had superior armies to its neighbours so having a nuclear advantage did not make much difference.

And of course Israel is usually considered to be rational  whereas we never know what Iran may be capable of!

2 years 20 weeks ago
Dina's picture
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First of all, we need to take a step back and realise the whole point of having and wanting nuclear weapons- power and respect.  States like Iran want the bomb, not to use it, but to manipulate its power through threatening the use of their nuclear arsenal. It makes your country immediately less vulnerable to attack. The main nuclear powers- USA, Russia, UK, France & China all have one thing in common. They have not had a state led attack on them, and this is directly contributable to the fact they are all nuclear armed states. States that are nuclear armed cannot go to war or be attacked in the same way that non-nuclear states can. If you attack a nuclear armed country the retaliation will be horrific and there is a very high likelihood that the attacking state will be obliterated. It is not worth the cost to any policy maker, no matter how irrational the media portrays him it extremely unlikely to occur.  That is why Iran wants them, to prevent any future attack especially from Israel, because having a nuclear arsenal would put them on a more even footing. 

 

 

I cannot seem to rationalise why it would cause for a rapid nuclear proliferation in the region. If Iran does attack Saudi Arabia, who do you think will remove any trace of existence of the Iranian state? The US would, because of oil dependence. Saudi Arabia has no need for it; they will not be attacked, because they are too valuable to nuclear countries.  

 

Furthermore, Egypt and Turkey may both want the capability to be nuclear, but who is realistically going to sell them the technology? The best thing about the “nuclear club” is that it has very few members, and that makes everyone want to join, but they will never be allowed to join. South Africa attempted to develop its own nuclear programme at one point and is a much safer country to be nuclear compared to Egypt or Turkey. Still the nuclear community forced South Africa to decommission its programme. Nobody wants another nuclear armed state it takes the power out of the nuclear weapons. 

 

 

 The only thing that would be of concern to me with regards to the nuclearization of the region would be that Israel sparks something off in the Middle East again by blowing up the nuclear facilities just short of them going live as they did in the 1980s with Iraq. If Israel fails, then there will be a massive increase in instability and this would result in the greatest likelihood of a nuclear attack. Then and only then would the nuclear umbrealla get formally extended to the region, and would these countries start trying to acquire their own nuclear arms a sa means of precenting a future attack.  

2 years 18 weeks ago
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