Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Amidst Turmoil, Nuke-Free Mideast Conference Derailed

A conference to establish a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East has been derailed, with the United States arguing that the talks should only go forward if Israel—the region’s only nuclear power—isn’t “singled out.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Inter Press Service

A long outstanding international conference on a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East, scheduled to take place in Finland in December, has been postponed, giving rise to speculation on whether it will ever get off the ground.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a vigorous opponent of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), remains hopeful the conference will take place sometime next year.

“I have also personally engaged with the states of the region at the highest level to underline the importance of the conference in promoting long-term regional stability, peace and security on the basis of equality,” he said.

But Dr. Rebecca Johnson, director of the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy, told IPS it is appalling for the people of the Middle East that militarism is still destroying the lives of civilians.

“If the recent tragic developments have also derailed the important Conference on freeing the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction, it will be important to convene early in 2013,” she said.

Dr. Johnson said the date need not be a deal-breaker – but this delay makes it even more important now to start a determined and constructive process to eliminate nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD) from the region.

“If the meeting cannot launch an effective process early in 2013, there will be serious consequences not only for the region but for the credibility of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), demonstrating yet another failure to deliver on its essential agreements,” she warned.

The proposal for the meeting was endorsed by 189 member states at the Review Conference on the NPT held at the United Nations in May 2010.

The Israeli government, while criticising the outcome document of that Review Conference, left the door open for participation in the proposed conference.

But the political uprisings in the Arab world, including the ouster of the Israeli-friendly Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, have triggered expressions of Israeli concern – specifically its own security in an increasingly hostile environment.

In a statement released Monday, the secretary-general said he reaffirms his “firm resolve and commitment, together with the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, in consultation with the states of the region, to convene a conference to be attended by all states of the Middle East.”

The focus, he said, will be on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction, on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at by the states of the region.

Hillel Schenker, co-editor of the Palestine-Israel Journal, told IPS that while it’s unfortunate the Helsinki conference will not be convened in 2012, the fact that Ban Ki-moon and the co-conveners, the U.S., UK and Russia, remain committed to the process is very encouraging.

It’s understandable, given the circumstances, he said, that it was difficult to convene the conference in December 2012.

However, the recent statement by the secretary-general expressing hope that the Finnish facilitator will be able “to conduct multilateral consultations in the shortest possible time which will allow the conference to be convened in the earliest possible time in 2013″, means that this valuable process will continue.

“For the conference to succeed, it is crucial that both Iran and Israel be at the table,” Schenker noted. “Hopefully the facilitator, perhaps with the aid of the Americans, will be able to convince the Israeli government of the importance of engaging in this process.”

Still, he said, the Helsinki Conference remains an historic opportunity to move forward on a parallel track, towards the creation of a regional security regime which will contain a Nuclear and WMD-Free Zone and towards Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab comprehensive peace.

Meanwhile, the United States, which traditionally throws a protective arm around Israel, has already laid down a condition in advance of the pre-conference preparations.

In July 2010, when Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu met with U.S. President Barack Obama, he was assured the Middle East conference would not single out Israel.

A White House statement also insisted the conference would only take place “if all countries feel confident they can attend, and that any efforts to single out Israel will make the prospects of convening such a conference unlikely.”

Speaking at a symposium on “Faith, Dialogue and Integration” at the United Nations Monday, Jonathan Granoff, president of the Global Security Institute, said nuclear weapons represent a form of security apartheid.

Like apartheid, both sides are injured. And those threatened reasonably feel the terror of destruction, he added, pointing out that those threatening have their moral foundations corroded or live in denial of what they are doing.

“The continued reliance on these horrific devices provides the modern world with its most severe and divisive irony,” he said.

The means of pursuing security are serving to breed insecurity. And the inequity inherent in the system pulls at the fabric of human unity, he added.

As Vartan Gregorian of the Carnegie Corporation recently pointed out, “All declared nuclear powers – the U.S., Russia, Great Britain, France, and China and now India and Pakistan (Israel as an undeclared nuclear power) – insist they possess nuclear weapons only to deter others from using them.”

Yet there have been many times in the past, and there will surely be times in the future, when major powers have used their nuclear capability to gain some political end by intimidation, he said.

Intimidation through the threat of annihilation of millions of innocent people is unjustified legally, morally, and remains the greatest threat to the stimulation of the proliferation of weapons, said Granoff. Thus, continued threat to use these weapons is impractical.

“One must therefore wonder if the irrational pride of power informs the policies of those who seek to perpetuate and ‘improve’ their arsenals of devastation,” he said.

Thalif Deen is a contributor to Inter Press Service.

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and two-time failed presidential candidate, is a foreign policy hawk with neoconservative leanings who appears set to become the next senator from Utah.


Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman and longtime “superlobbyist” who has supported numerous neoconservative advocacy campaigns, has become embroiled in the special prosecutor’s investigation into the Donald Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.


Jon Lerner is a conservative political strategist and top adviser to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. He was a key figure in the “Never Trump” Campaign, which appears to have led to his being ousted as Vice President Mike Pence’s national security adviser.


Pamela Geller is a controversial anti-Islam activist who has founded several “hate groups” and likes to repeat debunked myths, including about the alleged existence of “no-go” Muslim zones in Europe.


Max Boot, neoconservative military historian at the Council on Foreign Relations, on Trump and Russia: “At every turn Trump is undercutting the ‘get tough on Russia’ message because he just can’t help himself, he just loves Putin too much.”


Although overlooked by President Trump for cabinet post, Gingrich has tried to shape affairs in the administration, including by conspiring with government officials to “purge the State Department of staffers they viewed as insufficiently loyal” to the president.


Former Sen Mark Kirk (R-IL) is an advisor for United Against Nuclear Iran. He is an outspoken advocate for aggressive action against Iran and a fierce defender of right-wing Israeli policies.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Other than the cynical political interests in Moscow and Tehran, there is no conceivable rationale for wanting Bashar al-Assad to stay in power. But the simple fact is, he has won the war. And while Donald Trump has reveled in positive press coverage of the recent attacks on the country, it is clear that they were little more than a symbolic act.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The reality is that the Assad regime is winning the Syrian civil war, and this matters far less to U.S. interests than it does to that regime or its allies in Russia and Iran, who see Syria as their strongest and most consistent entrée into the Arab world. Those incontrovertible facts undermine any notion of using U.S. military force as leverage to gain a better deal for the Syrian people.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

An effective rhetorical tool to normalize military build-ups is to characterize spending increases “modernization.”


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Pentagon has officially announced that that “long war” against terrorism is drawing to a close — even as many counterinsurgency conflicts  rage across the Greater Middle East — and a new long war has begun, a permanent campaign to contain China and Russia in Eurasia.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Revelations that data-consulting firm Cambridge Analytica used ill-gotten personal information from Facebook for the Trump campaign masks the more scandalous reality that the company is firmly ensconced in the U.S. military-industrial complex. It should come as no surprise then that the scandal has been linked to Erik Prince, co-founder of Blackwater.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As the United States enters the second spring of the Trump era, it’s creeping ever closer to more war. McMaster and Mattis may have written the National Defense Strategy that over-hyped the threats on this planet, but Bolton and Pompeo will have the opportunity to address these inflated threats in the worst way possible: by force of arms.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

We meet Donald Trump in the media every hour of every day, which blots out much of the rest of the world and much of what’s meaningful in it.  Such largely unexamined, never-ending coverage of his doings represents a triumph of the first order both for him and for an American cult of personality.


RightWeb
share