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
 
French does not have the right to insult Muslims and their beliefs
Source : Kuwait Times  
Date : 2015-01-26
Author :
The countries that are normally called Islamic or Arab all condemned the Charlie Hebdo attack, and all these countries condemned Charlie Hebdo itself....
Only in Kuwait 7
Source : Kuwait Times  
Date : 2015-01-26
Author : Talal Al-Ghannam
Only in Kuwait it is like hell for the domestic helper to change her or his sponsor if he or she is not satisfied....
A King Loyal to Family and Country
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2015-01-26
Author : Tariq Alhomayed
In 2010, while Saudi Arabia's King Salman Bin Abdulaziz—then Prince Salman—was leaving a dinner reception held for him in Norway by the country's minister for higher education, a crowd of...
Farewell to a beloved King!
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2015-01-26
Author : Hussein Shobokshi
To say that the Saudis are very saddened by the passing of their beloved monarch, the late King Abdullah, would simply be a gross understatement. Even the usually conservative Saudis...
King Abdullah's legacies
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-01-26
Author : Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg
King Abdullah passed away on Jan. 23. He was a great world leader who transformed Saudi Arabia in many profound ways....
Kingdom continues to be in safe hands
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-01-26
Author : Sabria S. Jawhar
There is no question that King Abdullah left big shoes to fill, but at the same time there is little doubt among Saudis that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques...
Another smooth transition
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-01-26
Author : Abdulateef Al-Mulhim
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman ascended to the throne on Jan. 23. His assignment came in smooth transition following the demise of King Abdullah. King Salman is...
Salman: Experienced leader at the helm
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-01-26
Author : Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi
Only a few hours of assuming the throne, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman demonstrated the depth of his leadership, vision and his ability to make the right...
We may be sad but are very optimistic
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-01-26
Author : Saad Dosari
When death speaks, everything comes to a halting silence. King Abdullah's death is a great loss to the country. During his decade-long reign, the country has been able to change...
Dawn of a new era
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-01-26
Author : Bikram Vohra
While the gloom of a great loss will persist, there is no greater testimony to a king than to have power shift smoothly and seamlessly to the next generation. This...
Great men outlived by their achievements
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-01-26
Author : Abdullah Sadiq Dahlan
The histories of kings, presidents and heads of state are often characterized by the achievements they make on behalf their countries. The names of some of these leaders are synonymous...
Crisis of legitimacy in Yemen
Source : The Peninsula  
Date : 2015-01-25
Author : Dr Khalid Al Jaber
Events in Yemen have become unpredictable and everyone is convinced that this country is heading fast towards failure or Somalisation. The state’s public institutions are collapsing, the president has resigned,...
Who are Houthis, the group that toppled Yemen's govt?
Source : The Peninsula  
Date : 2015-01-25
Author : Adam Taylor
On Thursday, the entire government of Yemen's President, Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi - a key US ally in the region - resigned. Following the resignations, control of the country appears to...
Why Yemen is tearing itself apart
Source : The Peninsula  
Date : 2015-01-25
Author : Clive Jones
Yemen is witnessing another bout of instability, as Shia Houthi rebels seized the presidential palace on Tuesday in the capital Sana'a demanding power-sharing concessions from President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who...
A tough task ahead in Yemen
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-01-25
Author : Rasheed Abou-Alsamh
After days of bloody clashes this week between the militias of the Houthi rebels and government forces in Sanaa, Yemen's capital - which included bombing the presidential palace and laying...
Total 200 Results in 14 Pages
1 
For more news, views and reports about this topic, please subscribe
to GRC website: www.grc.net
Mon Jan 26, 2015| 05-ربيع ثاني-1436هـ
Talks in Yemen between political parties, rebels break down
Saudi Arabia's nonoil GDP growth expected to be robust in 2015
Zarif lands in hot water over walk with Kerry
Qatar's non-hydrocarbon growth to touch 11.9% this year, says Markaz report
US senators urge need for US role on ground in Syria, Iraq
GCC may post 'twin deficits' on oil plunge
KSA's policies win global respect
Dubai real estate market shows growth in 2014
Saudis fortunate to have King Salman as leader
Qatar Airways named 'best economy long-haul experience'
Yemen parliament postpones meeting on president resignation
DP World orders pilot boat for Jebel Ali Port
10 killed, 33 wounded in Iraq bombings
7 die in rocket attack on Damascus: Monitor
Hezbollah says Israel wants to set 'new rules' with Syria raid
ADCB profits surge on income, commissions
    Newspaper Editorials
Need for balance
Need to intensify Ukraine peace efforts
More>>  
    Opinions
A King Loyal to Family and Country
King Abdullah's legacies
More>>  
    GCC Press Agencies
Day's main stories from the GCC Press Agencies
    Reports
Gulf Security, Stability, and Terrorism: Country Rankings
More>>  
    Bank Reports
Oil prices and the GCC: The resilient and the less so
GCC Markets Performance – May 2014
More>>  
    GRC Analysis
Saudi Arabia and the ASEAN Periphery: Cambodia, Myanmar, and Brunei
NATO and the Future of Gulf Security.
Saudi-Vietnam Relations
    GRC Commentary
Price of not heeding Kingdom's advice
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
Bahrain’s Legal Framework of Migration
Ethnography, Anthropology and Migration to the Arabian Peninsula: Themes from an Ethnographic Research Trajectory
Can the EU Still Inspire Integration in the Gulf?
    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  |   16-- 16 Middle Page :0  --   | Right : 16 - 16--en--sess-enreq-en-coming