Achieving a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East
Can there be peace in the Middle East while states possess weapons of mass destruction?
Achieving peace in the Middle East will ultimately be contingent on minimising and finally eliminating the possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction in the region. To achieve this, the States Parties of the Non-Proliferation Treaty have been mandated since 1995 to take forwards negotiations on a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East (WMDFZME).
Over 2018-2019, BASIC played an instrumental role facilitating the creation of the Middle East Treaty Organisation (METO), a network of civil society organizations working toward establishing a WMDFZME. This involved collectively crafting a living and adaptive Draft Treaty to galvanize governments and civil society across the region in an inclusive process involving debate and political pressure to promote a WMDFZ in the Middle East.
METO is now an independent organisation. This process was led internally by former-Executive Director Paul Ingram, with assistance from Quaker Peace Worker, Zain Hussain.
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BASIC is developing new approaches to overcome states’ dependency on the doctrine of nuclear deterrence, which blocks global nuclear disarmament and drives proliferation.
The Israeli policy of nuclear ambiguity is perhaps one of the most controversial nuclear policies today, and is the subject of some criticism by other states in the Middle East and nuclear disarmament activists.
On the 8th of May, the Middle East Treaty Organisation (METO) Project held a side-event in conjunction with the support of the Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Achieving the Possible: WMD Freezone in the Middle East. As negotiations at the 2019 NPT PrepCom continue and Iran announces it is suspending some of its obligations of the 2015 Iran Deal, the issue of how the international community can make progress of this issue pivotal to regional and global security becomes increasingly pertinent.
The 1995 indefinite extension of the NPT was agreed alongside a decision to hold a…
The adoption of the JCPoA signalled Iranian willingness to cooperate with western nations. However, in May 2018, President Donald Trump fulfilled a campaign promise and pulled the US out of the deal, reinstating sanctions on Iran and threatening foreign entities with secondary sanctions.
Israel’s demand for peace, recognition and solidarity before the achievement of a WMD Free Zone is a tall bar to progress and fails to appreciate how further steps towards disarmament would contribute to improving the current security context of the Middle East.
On November 12th, BASIC hosted a panel discussion at the annual Amman Security Colloquium entitled “Options available to promote progress in furthering NPT objectives in 2015”.
BASIC believes in making progress on nuclear disarmament, arms control, and non-proliferation through multiple complementary approaches. We continuously develop our programmes – streams of research – through sustained engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, collectively searching for the art of the possible.
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