IN DEPTH / Nuclear diplomacy in the Middle East

Munya Mardor, a veteran of Israel’s defense
establishment, wrote in his memoirs: “The moral and political
significance of armament with nuclear weapons is that countries that
relinquish nuclear and hydrogen weapons are doing the equivalent of
acknowledging that they are vassal states. This is apparently the
status that will be the lot of countries that have only conventional

Mardor wrote those words 30 years ago, but they have not lost any
of their validity today. Most of the global flashpoints in recent years
have been connected directly or indirectly to nuclear proliferation and
concern over losing control of it: Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iran
and Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s return to power
led to verbal escalation between Israel and Iran: Netanyahu warned that
an Iranian nuclear bomb would lead to “a second Holocaust,” and
promised to do everything in his power to stop it. The Iranians
retaliated with the threat that if they are attacked, they will hit
nuclear installations in Israel. The Obama administration is trying to
consolidate an “axis of moderates” that are afraid of Iran around an
Israeli-Arab peace process, with the worry in mind that Arab states
like Egypt and Saudi Arabia could follow in Iran’s footsteps. Also in
this c…

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