Lianet Vasquez

Lianet Vazquez was the Herbert Scoville Jr Peace Fellow at BASIC in 2014.

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Lianet Vasquez

Discover below Lianet’s posts ordered from newest to oldest

Toward the 2015 NPT Review Conference: Attitudes and Expectations of Member States in the Middle East

What might happen if States Parties from one of the most volatile regions in the world were to reconsider their membership of the principle international treaty that controls the deadliest weapons on Earth? Almost 20 years since the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), members of the Arab League have threatened to reconsider their position toward that extension on the basis that there has been no progress on the 1995 resolution associated with establishing a Middle East Zone free from weapons of mass destruction.

Do not let the Helsinki conference on a Mideast WMD-Free Zone fall off the “to-do” list

If Russia, the UK, and the US – as the co-conveners of the Helsinki conference on a WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East – had a priority list of foreign policy agenda items, convening such a conference would likely be hidden somewhere on pages 4 or 5 of a double-sided document, printed in 11 pt. Calibri font. Even among key stakeholders, the mounting crises in the region might reduce the diplomatic impetus for convening the conference, at least within the intended deadline of “as soon as possible” and certainly before the 2015 NPT Review Conference.

Geneva

Arabs & Israelis meet again – good news or bad news?

On June 24-25, representatives from Middle Eastern states, including Israel and Egypt, will meet in Geneva for the second time in the past two months to discuss the modalities and possible outcomes of the postponed 2012 Helsinki conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Let’s call it a bargaining chip

Referring to Israel’s nuclear program as a bargaining chip is not a breakthrough idea. Scholars have argued before that in lieu of having a “deterrence policy that does not deter,” Israel might perceive its nuclear arsenal as a bargaining chip to negotiate with its Arab counterparts over regional security issues, including around a WMD-free zone in the Middle East. The third blog in this series will explore, admittedly in a quite speculative fashion, another possible bargaining dimension of Israel’s nuclear program: a bargaining chip with the United States over its unconditional maintenance of Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME).

Bumps on the road to Helsinki: Will we ever get there?

Eleven months before the 2015 NPT Review Conference is convened, there is still no sign that the Helsinki conference on the establishment of the WMD-free zone in the Middle East will be held. In what seemed to be a glimmer of hope in Geneva on May 14-15, the conference’s facilitator, co-conveners and future state parties to the zone met to discuss the conference’s modalities.

A Middle East free of Nuclear Weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction

The idea of establishing a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in the Middle East was spearheaded by Iran in 1974, followed by Egyptian endorsement. In 1990, under President Hosni Mubarak’s leadership, Egypt broadened the concept of the zone to include other weapons of mass destruction and lobbied incessantly to bring discussions of the zone to the upper echelons of international relations, the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the United Nations.

Heeding the outcomes & remaining challenges of the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit

On March 24-25, 53 world leaders convened at The Hague for the third Nuclear Security Summit to discuss the implementation of national measures to protect vulnerable fissile and radiological material from belligerence-prone hands. The following commentary focuses on the summit’s outcomes and remaining challenges as a platform to build on for continued progress.

Nuclear security: continued breakthrough or stalled progress?

On October 11, 2001, a month following the catastrophic events of 9/11, a CIA report concluded that Al-Qaeda infiltrates planned to detonate a 10-kiloton nuclear bomb at the heart of New York City. Though later deemed as a false alarm, the motivation to conduct a nuclear attack by non-state actors, combined with the widespread availability of fissile material often stored under subpar conditions,

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