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
 
Hotels in Kuwait
Source : Kuwait Times  
Date : 2016-04-29
Author : Muna Al-Fuzai
A tour of the country will draw your attention to the large number of hotels here, new and old, and ones that are expected to open shortly....
Evolution and the Kuwaiti dialect
Source : Kuwait Times  
Date : 2016-04-29
Author : Jeri Al-Jeri
Evolution is a process of continuous growth with adaptations to the environment. Observers of languages realize how they grow, decay and die. A language is an intellectual creation that lives...
O Syrians … Don't drink from the Palestinian cup
Source : Arab Times  
Date : 2016-04-29
Author : Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Here we are, history is repeating itself. The miserable Arab scene, which Palestine has been witnessing recurrently for 68 years - the scene where the people of Palestine lost their...
Curse of our airport
Source : Arab Times  
Date : 2016-04-29
Author : Ali Ahmad Al-Baghli
I did not know that the Kuwait International Airport, which I have been criticizing for some time because of its small size and old lifespan compared to other airports around...
Why should Saudis care about Western media?
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2016-04-29
Author : Nahid Bashatah
Unfortunately, some Saudis still believe in a conspiracy theory that the Western world is colluding to publish and air negative news about us....
Do doctors in Saudi Arabia have a code of medical ethics?
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2016-04-29
Author : Abdulaziz Al Thukair
Healthcare professionals in our country do not dedicate enough time to examining patients. In the past, doctors used to take time to sit and talk with their patients. Today, most...
Reforms can be a game changer
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2016-04-29
Author : Aijaz Zaka Syed
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The ambitious Saudi plan preparing and positioning the Kingdom for the new realities of a post-oil world is truly transformational in...
Iran should focus on bread and butter
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2016-04-29
Author : Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Iran's supreme leader bitterly complains that the West has not kept its promises and that economic sanctions on his country have not been lifted despite Tehran keeping the commitments over...
Reform in Saudi Arabia
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2016-04-28
Author : Salman Aldossary
If Saudi Arabia's "2030 vision", which was revealed on Monday, came up with more than a cure to the "oil addiction" as the Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said...
The Mirage of Sovereignty and the Bluff of National Unity
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2016-04-28
Author : Eyad Abu Shakra
Both Iraq and Lebanon are currently living two big 'lies': sovereignty and national unity, and as the days go by, not only are the politicians in the two countries proving...
Gulf beyond oil and US
Source : Gulf Today  
Date : 2016-04-28
Author : N. Janardhan
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries' emphasis on a non-oil economy during the last 15 years reached a crescendo this week. Unveiling the 'Vision 2030' plan, Saudi Arabia said: "We...
Changing our attitude toward people with disabilities
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2016-04-28
Author : Nawar Fakhry Ezzi
One of my first interactions with a person with mental and physical disability occurred several years ago during one of my trips to a play area with my kids. While...
Shoura & women driving
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2016-04-28
Author : Samar Al-Mogren
Women driving is an old subject but many citizens across the country still call for this genuine right, which is expected to bring about a revolution in women empowerment, facilitating...
The architect of reforms
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2016-04-28
Author : Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Some of those commenting on the extensive media coverage of Saudi Vision 2030, and of the promises and activities pertaining to it, describe it as the biggest promotional propaganda in...
Securing Saudi future
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2016-04-28
Author : Sabria S. Jawhar
For many year - decades, really, - the need for a comprehensive national plan was badly felt. We were the most crucial player in the Middle East, but to the...
Total 200 Results in 14 Pages
1 
For more news, views and reports about this topic, please subscribe
to GRC website: www.grc.net
Fri Apr 29, 2016| 21-رجب-1437هـ
60 killed in Aleppo strikes
Turkey keen on trade deal with Qatar, GCC
Kuwaiti MPs: No human rights violations and no political prisoners in GCC
GCC banking sector enters new paradigm
Biden visits Iraq for talks with officials, show of support
Dubai most connected city in the world
'Mukalla liberation stern message to terror sponsors in Yemen'
Iran resumes electricity exports to Basra
Qatar key to boosting Turkey-GCC ties
UAE confident of youth power, asserts minister
UN Humanitarian chief urges UNSC to end violence in Syria
Asia's Iran oil imports surge 50% in March
Bahrain declared free of Coronavirus
KNPC signs KD 1.2 bn loan for fuels project
Qatar, Turkey sign defence co-operation agreement
Shoura to question health minister on 'failures'
Bahrain jails 8 people for life over 'terrorism'
  Op-Ed
War on poachers: Kenya to stamp out ivory trade
Swearing before swearing-in
Reforms can be a game changer
Iran should focus on bread and butter
More>>  
    Reports
Saudi Vision 2030
GCC Markets Performance - March 2016
More>>  
    GCC Press Agencies
Day's main stories from the GCC Press Agencies
    GRC Analysis
Renewable Energy in GCC
Paris Climate Deal and Oil-rich Countries
Combating Climate Change and Terrorism
    GRC Commentary
Earth Day 2016: The Promised Day
An Evolving Saudi-US Relationship
Water and Jobs: Hitting Two Birds with One Stone!
    GRC Press Release
Gulf Research Center press releases to the media
    GRC Publications
Qatar’s Legal Framework of Migration No.2/2016
The Strategic Environment in the Middle East: A Shattered Regional Order
Taxing Remittances: Consequences for Migrant Labour Populations in the GCC Countries
    GRC Newsletters/Bulletins

Enter your email to get the Newsletter
Go
A Note on Syrian Refugees in the Gulf: Attempting to Assess Data and Policies
      
Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Terms & Conditions | About Us |
Weather | Qibla Directions | Hijri Date Conversion Tool
Full Page :total time:0  |   29-- 29 Middle Page :0  --   | Right : 29 - 29--en--sess-enreq-en-coming