Home Page - Gulf in the Media
HomePoliticsEconomy                               Set Gulfinthemedia.com as home page
Opinions
"Postings of opinions published in the Gulf and international newspapers
 Print  Send This Page
Save Listen to this Article
In nuclear crisis with Iran, GCC has a duty to be heard   

The National - 25 March, 2012
Author: Anne Penketh

In a university room filled with policymakers and experts in Doha's ever-expanding Education City, the subject is Iran's nuclear programme, but the talk is of Israel.
energy

You might think that seen from Qatar, the prospect of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon would trump any considerations about Israel's presumed nuclear arsenal. Yet at a two-day conference on nuclear non-proliferation in the Gulf last week, organised by the British American Security Information Council at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Qatar, the long-standing regional grievances about the nuclear powers' perceived double standards were front and centre.

In particular, the nuclear powers in the UN Security Council are accused of hypocrisy for punishing Iran over its nuclear programme while extending unparalleled diplomatic and military support to Israel, which developed nuclear weapons clandestinely while remaining outside the international treaty framework. The question was all about fairness: why should Iran be forcibly prevented from exercising its treaty rights to enrich uranium whereas Israel, the only nuclear power in the Middle East, continues to be shielded?

Israel - which has ignored appeals to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - is seen as an aggressor determined to preserve its "nuclear veto" in the region by stamping on would-be competitors. The Israelis have taken unilateral action twice to destroy nuclear reactors in the region; they bombed Iraq's Osirak facility in 1981 and a Syrian site in 2007. There is a pervasive sense of fatalism that if Israel were to act against Iran there would be nothing the region could do about it.

"If military action happened, we have no control over it. We can't raise a veto," Dr Mustafa Alani, programme director for security and terrorism studies at the Gulf Research Council, told the conference. "Nobody listened to us about Iraq when we said it was wrong."

Dr Hans Blix, the former chief UN weapons inspector for Iraq, and an adviser to the UAE's nuclear energy programme, pointed out that under a 1977 additional protocol to the Geneva Conventions, attacks on nuclear power stations are prohibited, if such attacks risk releasing "dangerous forces" that endanger large numbers of civilians.

He said that while the article is not broad enough to ban attacks on uranium enrichment plants, it would appear to protect the Iranian Bushehr nuclear power plant, which is in operation and contains nuclear fuel that could be dispersed and cause danger to civilian populations. Governments need to be reminded that the bombing of this power plant would be a terrible precedent.

Indeed, after the June 1981 Osirak bombing, a unanimously-approved UN resolution not only condemned Israel's action but called "upon Israel to refrain in the future from any such acts or threats thereof".

And with the threat of Israeli action already hanging over Iran in 2010, the NPT review conference adopted an article, clearly targeting Israel, urging "all states" to abide by a decision adopted at the IAEA general conference in September 2009 prohibiting "armed attack or threat of attack against nuclear installations, during operation or under construction". (While Israel is not a member of the NPT, it is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency).

So it's clear that an Israeli bombing of Bushehr would be illegal under international law. Yet this issue is surely a red herring. In any Israeli raid, the target is unlikely to be a civilian plant where damage would poison the water of populations for generations to come, but rather military sites and known nuclear facilities with military potential.

What can the Gulf states do in this situation? While unable to prevent an Israeli attack, minds should now be focused on seeking a negotiated outcome to the showdown, as the big powers grouped in the P5+1 (US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) prepare for a new round of talks with Iran. The six states of the Gulf Cooperation Council have the right to contribute, and not only by seeking reinforced firepower for themselves from the Americans in a region which is already bristling with military hardware.

Of course there is a range of opinions within the GCC, with the Saudi leadership having privately urged Washington to "cut off the head of the snake" while others, such as Qatar and Oman, want to preserve their relationship with Iran. What is certain is that the military option would benefit none of the GCC states, while ensuring that Iran would bolt from the NPT and race towards building the bomb in a country where there is already strong public support for the nuclear programme.

The parameters of a bargain with Iran are already clear. Despite several rounds of ever-tightening UN and unilateral sanctions, Iran has refused to suspend its sensitive uranium enrichment activities and is amassing a stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 per cent. It's still a long way from the 93 per cent enrichment required for weapons grade, but it has made the critical jump in mastering the fuel cycle by moving from the 5 per cent required for civilian reactors to the 20 per cent needed for medical isotopes.

Any deal with Iran would have to preserve its right to enrich uranium on its own soil - under safeguards. The Americans will have to convince the Iranians that their goal is not regime change. The Iranians will have to satisfy the International Atomic Energy Agency about questions relating to their earlier weapons programme and that their current intentions are purely peaceful. And the sanctions should be lifted.

It will take time, and that's also where the GCC can play a role. For with tensions running high, and with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu keeping up a steady drumbeat of war - whether to raise the diplomatic pressure on the Iranians or to build support for inevitable military strikes remains to be seen - there is a need for cool heads in the region.

A failure of the P5+1 talks could trigger a war. If the GCC states can speak with one voice, they have a right to be heard. Not only is it their right. It is their duty.



Anne Penketh is Programme Director, Washington, of the British American Security Information Council
 
Turkey's benign neglect helped spur the Islamic State's rise
Source : The Daily Star  
Date : 2014-07-22
Author : Atilla Yesilada
One night in 1995, I switched to CNN International to catch the evening news, and saw a long caravan of Toyotas driving toward a dusty city carrying solemn young men...
Lebanon struggles with Syrian refugees
Source : The Daily Star  
Date : 2014-07-22
Author : Alex Rowell
A combination of security, economic and above all political considerations has the Lebanese government seeking for the first time to limit, and ultimately reduce, its Syrian and Syrian-Palestinian refugee population....
Saving Yemen
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2014-07-22
Author : Salman Aldossary
The Houthis are nothing more than a rebel movement in Yemen that has gotten out of control, attempting to become a state within a state. Recently, the movement found the...
A Crisis Made in Washington
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2014-07-22
Author : Tariq Alhomayed
Has the West become accustomed to crises taking place in the Middle East, no longer caring about them (with the Syrian conflict serving as a prime example here)?...
Yes Virginia, there are fairies...
Source : Gulf Daily News  
Date : 2014-07-22
Author : Winfred Peppinck
Well there is one Shura Council committee chairman who must, for he has taken umbrage at a recent report the US government "spies on 194 countries," almost the whole of...
Amir man of words, deeds
Source : Arab Times  
Date : 2014-07-22
Author : Yousef Awadh
Kuwait officially condemns the Israeli assault on Gaza through its authentic and firm stance. HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad in his first official speech against the Israeli aggression while...
Challenges of Iraqi turmoil
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2014-07-22
Author : Khalil Hanware
The Iraqi turmoil has intensified geopolitical worries as ISIS poses a major threat to any sign of normalcy in the region....
The end of land grabs?
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2014-07-22
Author : Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg
According to Saudi press reports, the Ministry of Justice has uncovered false land deeds for large swaths of land in Riyadh and other provinces. In Riyadh alone, the total area...
Stalemate over Iran nuclear negotiations
Source : The Peninsula  
Date : 2014-07-22
Author : Ray Takeyh
The Iran nuclear negotiations have reached a stalemate. The White House has asked for an extension, and Congress should give it additional time. But the latest stumble offers an occasion...
Women's clubs for marriage
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2014-07-22
Author : Mansour Ibrahim Al-Dakhil
The number of unmarried women in Saudi Arabia is increasing at an alarming level. The number has now reaching about 1.5 million. As the media is focusing on this issue,...
Locking Away Iraqi History
Source : The Antiwar.com  
Date : 2014-07-21
Author : Michael Patrick Brill
In March 1979, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein told his inner circle that leading the Arab countries to a final victory against Israel would first entail a showdown with the United...
Will Iran play the nuclear 'game' with the Americans?
Source : Al Arabiya TV  
Date : 2014-07-21
Author : Camelia Entekhabi-Fard
During the last few days before the expiry date of Iran's interim nuclear deal, uncertainty clouded the air at the nuclear talks in Vienna. The uncertainty came from Iran's delegation giving...
Sultanate needs to spend more on fighting diabetes
Source : Oman Daily Observer  
Date : 2014-07-21
Author : Ray Petersen
According to the World Health Organisation, there are 347 million diabetes sufferers worldwide, and in Oman, one in six households is affected by diabetes in some way. The disease is...
Debate: The Gulf states could participate in the Iranian nuclear talks
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2014-07-21
Author : Dr. Zuhair Al-Harthi
Historically, conflicts between the Safavids and the Ottomans-the peak of which was seen in Basra-have created a sea of distrust and suspicion between the two sides that has only deepened...
Debate: The Gulf states will find it hard to join the Iranian nuclear talks
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2014-07-21
Author : Dr. Antoine Safer
Negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) have been marked by years of wrangling, give-and-take, and mutual accusations of indirect...
Total 200 Results in 14 Pages
1 
For more news, views and reports about this topic, please subscribe
to GRC website: www.grc.net
Wed Jul 23, 2014| 25-رمضان-1435هـ
Kuwait revokes citizenship of TV owner, ex-MP
Innovation index: UAE and Saudi Arabia lead in Mideast
EU freezes curbs against Iran as talks extended
QCB real estate index touches record high
Sure of victory, thanks to Russia: Syria
Yemen braces for fuel price reform
Jihadists seize monastery in Iraq
DFM withstands Arabtec drop, climbs 2.5%
FNC meet reviews draft on anti-terrorism law
China's oil imports from Iran rise nearly 50%
Saudi education system should go 'glocal' 
STC Q2 profit doubles to SR2.80 billion
ISIL selling Syrian oil at low price to Iraqis
IMF raises Saudi growth forecast to 4.6pc for 2014
Kuwait urges Ban to stop Israeli
Bahrain opposition groups facing legal action
    Newspaper Editorials
Warfare in Libya
Probe the MH17 disaster
More>>  
    Opinions
Saving Yemen
Stalemate over Iran nuclear negotiations
More>>  
    GCC Press Agencies
Day's main stories from the GCC Press Agencies
    Reports
Iraq Crisis and U.S. Policy
Iraq's Jihadi Jack-in-the-Box
More>>  
    Bank Reports
GCC Markets Performance – May 2014
Saudi Arabia: Baseline Macroeconomic Forecast 2014-16
More>>  
    GRC Analysis
Saudi-Vietnam Relations
Saudi-Philippines Relations
Enhancing Saudi-Japan Relations
    GRC Commentary
On Relations between Rulers and Citizens: The Need for a New Social/Political Contract in the GCC States
Key Issue Facing the Saudi Ruling House.
    GRC Book Review
Beyond Regionalism? Regional Cooperation, Regionalism and Regionalization in the Middle East
India, GCC and the Global Energy Regime: Exploring Interdependence and Outlook for Collaboration.
    GRC Press Release
Gulf Research Center press releases to the media
    GRC Publications
The Middle East and North Africa: Change and Upheaval 2014
The Legal Framework of the Sponsorship Systems of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait: A Comparative Examination
In Search of Stability: Saudi Arabia and the Arab Spring
    GRC Newsletters/Bulletins

Enter your email to get the Newsletter
Go
      
Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Terms & Conditions | About Us |
Weather | Qibla Directions | Hijri Date Conversion Tool
Full Page :total time:0  |   39-- 39 Middle Page :0  --   | Right : 39 - 39--en--sess-enreq-en-coming