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
 
Dear Zarif, you can't liberate Al-Quds with pistachios and caviar
Source : Arab Times  
Date : 2016-07-29
Author : Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Mohammad Jawad Zarif was not funny in his lectures about the chastity of revolution and his attempt to cover up the scandals which the government of his country has been...
Brexit heralds a new era in UK-GCC relations?
Source : The Peninsula  
Date : 2016-07-29
Author : Sean Evers
You're landing at New York's LaGuardia Airport on the "expressway" approach-it's called that because you come in low enough to buzz the Grand Central Parkway and Mets' Citi Field before...
Meeting the challenges of population growth
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2016-07-29
Author : Hameed Al-Anazi
The Kingdom's population has increased to over 20 million. With expats, it has reached 31 million. According to the United Nations, it is expected that the Saudi population will reach...
Our airports should be run by international directors
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2016-07-29
Author : Muhammad Al-Saad
The problems associated with the services provided by Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) have never been solved. We have seen the same problems in local and international airports over the past...
Why do our universities prefer to hire non-Saudis?
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2016-07-29
Author : Khalid Al-Wabel
Six Saudi universities rejected the job applications of 200 Saudis who hold PhD degrees in different majors while the same universities announced 851 job openings for non-Saudis. This news appeared...
How can there be guardianship over women in a modern Saudi Arabia?
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2016-07-28
Author : Faisal J. Abbas
So much has happened over the past two weeks: a terrorist attack in France on Bastille Day, a failed Turkish coup, Donald Trump officially became the Republican Party nominee and...
Organizing polygamy
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2016-07-28
Author : Samar Al-Mogren
I was talking jokingly to a Moroccan woman working in Riyadh. "If you don't return to Morocco soon, your husband will marry another woman," I said....
Time to wage a media war
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2016-07-28
Author : Tariq Alhomayed
The least that can be said about the Iranian authorities destroying 100,000 satellite dishes on the grounds that they breach regulations and threaten moral, cultural and social values is that...
Peace in Syria? It takes more than regime ceasefires
Source : Al Arabiya TV  
Date : 2016-07-27
Author :
This week the Syrian regime announced that it was prepared to enter peace talks 'without conditions'. Almost immediately members of the opposition rejected the claim. It’s not entirely surprising -...
The disgruntled over Gulf stability
Source : Al Arabiya TV  
Date : 2016-07-27
Author : Turki Al-Dakheel
The current debate on social networking sites expresses a number of dangerous phenomena. The most prominent is linked to the motherland and citizenship, which are honorable concepts. Citizenship is a...
Does university matters while offering employment?
Source : Oman Daily Observer  
Date : 2016-07-27
Author : Haider Al Lawati
The recent poll conducted by the Graduates Survey Department of the Ministry of Higher Education with the chief executives and employers in public and private sectors has resulted in findings...
Art appreciation is a foundation of any culture
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2016-07-27
Author : Tariq A. Al-Maeena
The creation of a commission for entertainment and culture as part of Saudi Vision 2030 is a great boon for art and culture lovers in the Kingdom. When one...
Undermining Syrian opposition
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2016-07-27
Author : Osama Al Sharif
These are bad times for the political arm of the Syrian opposition. There endemic divisions notwithstanding, now they fear that a US-Russian understanding may derail the one thing that keeps...
Turkey's stability is a must
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2016-07-27
Author : Abdulrahman al-Rashed
When Egyptians took to the streets in July 2013 protesting the rule of then President Muhammad Mursi, observers were filled with fear even more than when people had filled Tahrir...
Qaboos Sultan of 'challenges'
Source : Arab Times  
Date : 2016-07-26
Author : Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Forty six years ago, he disembarked from an old model civilian airplane at a humble airport in Muscat - a young man with a skinny body and thick beard....
Total 200 Results in 14 Pages
1 
For more news, views and reports about this topic, please subscribe
to GRC website: www.grc.net
Sun Jul 31, 2016| 25-شوال-1437هـ
Blow to peace effort - Houthis ink deal with Saleh to run Yemen
KSA, Kuwait protest Iran foray into Gulf waters
Syria's Nusra Front says it is breaking ties with al Qaeda to avert attacks
Qatar, Argentina sign MoUs
Ensure workers do not migrate illegally: Oman advises India
SAGIA grants Pfizer 100% ownership of KSA business
Syria and Russia's cluster bomb use relentless: HRW
Yemen's 'political council' is rebels' desperate bid against legitimacy: Gargash
Flagging non-oil business dampens outlook for Gulf
Iranians 'attacked 12 embassies in 25 years'
IS 'don't represent Islam' - White House
Inter-Yemeni consultations resume in Kuwait
Qatar Airways said to lift IAG stake to 20%
Solid Bahraini-Jordanian ties haileld
200 women allowed by courts to travel alone
  Op-Ed
Solar so good: it's the beginning of a longer journey
In terror crosshairs
Dear Zarif, you can't liberate Al-Quds with pistachios and caviar
Brexit heralds a new era in UK-GCC relations?
More>>  
    Reports
GCC Markets Performance - June 2016
Brexit in the GCC Context…
More>>  
    GCC Press Agencies
Day's main stories from the GCC Press Agencies
    GRC Analysis
The GCC and the EU's New Global Strategy
For the GCC States, a different Europe to deal with
GCC-Russia Relations: Lot of Rhetoric but Little Substance
    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
Renewable Energy Policies in the GCC: Challenges and Prospects
Foreign Investments in the GCC and Investments of GCC Countries Abroad
Gulf-European Relations in 2015
    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:1  |   37-- 38 Middle Page :0  --   | Right : 37 - 37--en--sess-enreq-en-coming