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
 
The Middle East is in flames -- and Barack Obama's making it worse
Source : CNN  
Date : 2015-04-20
Author : Dr. Abdulaziz Sager
U.S. President Barack Obama's recent explanation of how his administration will engage with the Middle East is far from reassuring to the region....
The next health minister
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2015-04-20
Author : Mohammed Alehaidib
The Kingdom has left no stone unturned to provide its citizens with comprehensive and advanced health care. However, the big hurdle facing the country's sincere efforts toward this end is...
From Alexander the Great to Mohammed bin Salman
Source : Arab Times  
Date : 2015-04-20
Author : Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Undoubtedly, the 'Operation Decisive Storm' has weeded out the hornets' nest, otherwise we wouldn't be hearing all this squawking from the topmost people in Tehran to the smallest mercenary in...
Abadi and Iran's Agenda
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2015-04-20
Author : Salman Aldossary
US President Barack Obama's administration was extremely polite and civil in its response to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, after he claimed that Washington was not in favor of Operation...
US-Iranian disorder?
Source : Gulf Daily News  
Date : 2015-04-20
Author : James J. Zogby
Arab leaders cautiously welcomed the P5+1 framework with Iran. The Arab Press, on the other hand, was not so circumspect with criticisms ranging from the fanciful ("the US is ushering...
The wicked one living in a burrow
Source : Arab Times  
Date : 2015-04-20
Author : Ahmed Al-Jarallah
If slander, machination and instigation of sedition are the norms in the current world, Hassan Nasrallah is the host. This burrow dweller always hallucinates that the world is conspiring against...
A fatal blow to Baath Party
Source : Gulf Today  
Date : 2015-04-20
Author : Michael Jansen
If confirmed, the death of Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri could amount to a fatal blow to the still faint hopes that Iraq's Baath Party might, once again, play a determining role...
A step towards solidarity
Source : Khaleej Times  
Date : 2015-04-20
Author : Dr Ahmed Mokhtar
Do the joint military drills to take place in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia represent a first step towards implementing the Arab Summit’s decision to form a unified Arab military...
Initiative for dynamic Saudi-Indonesia ties
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2015-04-20
Author : Moehammad Amar Ma'ruf
Time changes dynamically. With time, the Saudi-Indonesia economic and technical relations too are becoming more varied and dynamic. The current development has led to both sides showing mutual interest in...
The rise of international schools
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2015-04-20
Author : Hussein Shabakshi
In the last decade we have seen a phenomenal rise in the number of international schools in Saudi Arabia. Last decade also witnessed a large number of Saudis moving to...
Conscription will discipline youth
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2015-04-20
Author : Mahmoud Ahmad
The recent call of Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Asheikh, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, for military conscription of young Saudis is a very positive one. This call, in a Friday sermon,...
Need for Saudi war correspondents
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-04-20
Author : Abdulateef Al-Mulhim
Since the beginning of the Saudi Arabia-led Operation Decisive Storm, the Kingdom's newspapers have been naturally flooded with analysis and reports on the situation in Yemen and the same is...
Absence of marketing's basics in local market
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-04-20
Author : Saad Al-Dosari
It is about a 15-minute trip from the school of my older son to my in-laws house where I drop him after the school hours on a daily basis. This...
New style of management in Kingdom
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-04-20
Author : Talal Al-Harbi
Soon after ascending the throne, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman introduced a new trend in the Kingdom. The massive Cabinet's reshuffle and changes in the top official...
UN swings into action
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-04-20
Author : Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg
On April 14, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted resolution 2216, after weeks of intensive debate. It represents the clearest and most comprehensive statement today by the international community...
Total 200 Results in 14 Pages
1 
For more news, views and reports about this topic, please subscribe
to GRC website: www.grc.net
Tue Apr 21, 2015| 02-رجب-1436هـ
Yemen rebel chief says 'will not give in... To aggression'
Dubai World is said to repay $2.92bn in debt makeover deal
Muslim Brotherhood a political outfit: Qatar FM
Iran stock fever reaches London with firms rushing to build funds
Over SR28 million water, sanitation projects for EP
KSA, Kuwait discuss Yemen
QCB and World Bank join hands for technical co-operation
Destroyed: 80% of Houthi ammunition
GCC shows robust non-oil sector growth, says Al Tayer
15,000 troops pledge loyalty to Hadi govt
Dubai residential sales slow to sustainable level
Cabinet okays GCC joint police HQ in Abu Dhabi
Remittances by Egyptian expats soar
Khamenei says Iran N-arms US 'myth'
Saudi oil exports drop amid price cuts to defend share
MERS cases drop sharply
EU dreams of Iranian gas to break dependence on Moscow
    Newspaper Editorials
Man-made tragedy
Welfare of the people
More>>  
    Opinions
The Middle East is in flames -- and Barack Obama's making it worse
Initiative for dynamic Saudi-Indonesia ties
More>>  
    GCC Press Agencies
Day's main stories from the GCC Press Agencies
    Reports
Prisons in Yemen
Hearing on U.S. Middle East Policy
More>>  
    Bank Reports
Saudi Arabia Banking Sector
GCC Equity Monitor - Global
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
United Arab Emirates’ Legal Framework of Migration
Evaluating Financial Literacy Training for Migrant Workers in the Gulf
The Socio-Political Background and Stakes of ‘Saudizing’ the Workforce in Saudi Arabia: the Nitaqat Policy
    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  |   25-- 25 Middle Page :0  --   | Right : 25 - 25--en--sess-enreq-en-coming