Is There a Nuclear Arms Race Brewing in the Middle East?

nuclear_arms_raceBy Joshua Krause

Despite being one of the most conflict-riddled regions on the planet, the Middle East has somehow avoided widespread nuclear proliferation. With the exception of Israel, and a handful of American nukes parked in Turkey (which can’t be launched unless the US gives them the authorization codes) the nations of the Middle East completely lack nuclear weapons. And it’s not because they don’t have the ability to build these weapons. There are plenty of oil-rich governments in the region that could build them if they wanted to. The only thing preventing that is a series of international treaties, and nothing more.

No doubt, it’s a good thing that a nuclear arms race never occurred in the Middle East. Granted, an arms race is never a good thing, but it would be especially disastrous in the Middle East, where ethnic and religious wars have been endemic for thousands of years, and where global superpowers like Russia and the US have vested interests.

Unfortunately, this may not be the case in the near future. And by near future, I mean right now, because there are plenty of signs that suggest several nations in the Middle East are considering the construction of nuclear weapons.


The most obvious candidate for a new nuclear program would be Saudi Arabia, which is frightening to think about when you consider all the sabre rattling they’ve been up to recently. It’s been rumored for several years that the Saudis have an agreement with Pakistan to deliver ready-made nukes upon request, but there hasn’t been any clear evidence of this agreement.

However, their foreign minister was recently asked by CNN about whether or not they’re planning to purchase nukes from Pakistan. His response was rather unsettling to say the least.

When asked about nuclear cooperation with Pakistan, he told CNN on Tuesday: “I am not going to get into details of discussions we have with foreign governments, and certainly not allied governments. I’m sure you understand.”

“Saudi Arabia is committed to two things. I always say two things we do not negotiate over: our faith and our security.”

He added: “Saudi Arabia will do whatever it takes in order to protect our nation and our people from any harm. And I will leave it at that.”

The day before that conversation transpired, John Kerry went on CNN to warn Saudi Arabia about any such agreement, and to assure the world that there was nothing to worry about. “You can’t just buy a bomb and transfer it,” he told Wolf Blitzer before adding “There’s all kinds of (nonproliferation treaty) consequences. I mean, there are huge implications of that. And Saudi Arabia knows, I believe, that that is not going to make them safer, nor is it going to be easy, because the very things that Iran went through, they would then be subject to with respect to NPT and inspection and so forth.”

However, the Saudis don’t care about these treaties, and neither does anyone else in the Middle East. The reason why has to do with our government’s recent treaty with Iran. According to Zero Hedge:

Unfortunately, one of the frightening ironies of the deal is that it’s causing some states to reconsider commitments they made to the US with regard to nuclear weapons development. “In barely noticed testimony last month, Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the UAE’s ambassador in Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba, had informed him in a telephone call that the country no longer felt bound by its previous nuclear agreement with the United States,” AP reported last autumn.

“He told me, ‘Your worst enemy has achieved this right to enrich. It’s a right to enrich now that your friends are going to want, too, and we won’t be the only country,’” Royce said in a phone interview.

And more recently, an Israeli official has expressed concerns about the potential for a nuclear arms race among Arab countries, as a result of our nuclear agreement with Iran.

On Sunday, in the latest sign that the crowning achievement of Obama’s presidency is about to backfire in dramatic fashion, Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya’alon claimed Sunni Arab nations are moving ahead with plans to acquire nuclear weapons. “We see signs that countries in the Arab world are preparing to acquire nuclear weapons, that they are not willing to sit quietly with Iran on brink of a nuclear or atomic bomb,” he said, after meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah.

And he didn’t stop there. “If at a certain stage they feel confident, particularly economically, they are liable to make a break for the bomb,” Ya’alon claimed, referencing Iran’s windfall crude profits. “15 years is just around the corner,” he warned, a reminder to the world that the deal to limit Iran’s nuclear enrichment has an expiration date.

It’s impossible to know for sure if the Iranians are really going to build nuclear weapons. The Israelis have been wagging their finger at the international community for decades, claiming that the Iranians are on the brink of building these weapons. And in that time, they haven’t built a single fissile bomb. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that an arms race won’t happen.

Assume for a moment that Iran has no intention of going nuclear. All that matters is that their neighbors believe that they’re going to build them, and they will counter this imaginary threat by building their own weapons. At that point, Iran will have no choice but to renege on their promise to maintain a peaceful nuclear program.

So, regardless of what Iran really intends to do, a nuclear arms race in the Middle East is all but inevitable at this point. Within the next 10 to 20 years, this hotly contested region is going to become even more unstable that any of us could have possibly imagined.

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Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger.

  • Archie1954

    Don’t blame this potential proliferation on the Iran/US agreement. That idea is totally ridiculous. Yes this situation has a spark that set it off, but that spark has been smoldering for 30 years or more and as the situation in the Middle East became more and more inflamed (thanks to GW Bush) it has flared into life. I am speaking of course of Israel’s acquisition of nuclear weapons long ago and its refusal to sign the non proliferation treaty.

    • A concerned american

      Yeah, it’s Bush’s fault, all the worlds problems are the result of Bush. Obama hasn’t done a thing to add to world unrest, especially in the Mideast. And Obama hasn’t driven up the national debt, it does that automatically huh?

      • Archie1954

        Well thank you at least for acknowledging Bush’s salient part in the current mess. However your comment about the national debt needs some revision. Under Obama for instance the annual budget deficits have been coming down dramatically. Debts grow because there is insufficient income to pay them down. That is the case with the US and it is because of tax relief for those who least need it, the 1% and their millionaire friends and that cannot be blamed on Obama. It’s your friend once more dear old incompetent Bush!

        • A concerned american

          So the debt has been dropping under Obama. have you read the papers or listened to the news? Fewer people are working today and the debt has gone up just like you stated.

  • A concerned american

    It’d be foolish to think that there isn’t a nuclear arms race int he Mideast, Obama feels that it is wrong for only a few nations to have nuclear bombs so he allowed Iran to proceed with theirs and they have sworn to wipe out Israel and The United States.
    Apparently, Obama wants world-wide unrest which would ultimately end in one world order-after the destruction of Israel of course.

  • MA Deuce

    Is There a Nuclear Arms Race Brewing in the Middle East?
    Does hilary clintoon bark?

  • Uncle B

    Middle East is technically goddammit ignorant, and cannot get past the age of the sword in metallurgy. They buy all their weaponry from outside, AK 47’s, explosives, hummers, light armored vehicles, cell phones, ammunition, light artillery, Toyota Trucks, cotton wear, uniforms, military footwear, even warfare tactics, all imported, even the ISIS Ideologies seem to be part of Saudi versions of the many Muslim variants found in Islam. If nukes are employed it will be by Proxy Nations getting anxious to share in the oil riches under the feet of the human scum in the apparent genocide occurring as we speak.

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