May 3, 2010 Special Dispatch No. 2936

Syrian Daily: Why Shouldn't the Arabs Have Nuclear Weapons?

May 3, 2010
Syria | Special Dispatch No. 2936

In an article in the Syrian daily Al-Watan, which is close to the Syrian regime, the paper's editor, Waddah 'Abd Rabbo, wondered why the Arab countries and Iran should not obtain nuclear weapons as deterrence against Israel.

It should be noted that officially, Syria is not striving to obtain nuclear weapons, and opposes nuclear weapons in the region, including in Iran's possession.[1]

The following are the main points of the article: [2]

"Why Shouldn't an Arab Country, or Iran, Obtain Nuclear Weapons as Long as Israel Possesses Such Weapons?"

"...Despite the call by Syria and other countries to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, I wonder, and I think that this question has become legitimate: Why shouldn't an Arab country, or Iran, obtain nuclear weapons as long as Israel possesses such weapons, takes pride in doing so, and ignores every call, Arab and non-Arab, for the elimination of WMDs?

"In other words, who threatens security and stability in our region? Isn't it Israel, which occupies lands, kills dozens of Palestinians every day, and threatens to send Syria back to the Stone Age and to destroy Lebanon's infrastructure?

"In the face of all the threats and the danger that Israel poses to all the Arabs, aren't the threatened Arab countries entitled, and [in fact] obligated, to obtain nuclear weapons to deter Israel from taking its aggressive steps?"

"All the Countries in the Region Are Going to Need [Nuclear Technology]"

"The West has tried for decades to prevent the Arabs from obtaining [nuclear] 'know-how' on the pretext that it could threaten Israel's security, and prevented them from obtaining advanced weapons on the same pretext. Today, the West faces Iran, which never declared that it strives to obtain nuclear weapons, and prevents it from obtaining nuclear technology that all the countries in the region are going to need in the coming decade.

"Several days ago, Saudi King 'Abdallah bin 'Abd Al-'Aziz decided to establish the King 'Abdallah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy. Saudi Arabia will certainly be one of the first Arab countries to need nuclear energy, because of its unprecedented construction development and [population] growth in recent years. This is based on the view that oil resources should not be exhausted but must be preserved for the generations to come. All oil states should adopt this perception in order to preserve their resources for the future, in anticipation of diversifying their sources of income by developing their industrial, tourism, and service sectors.

"To the best of my knowledge, Iran's claims are no different, and it has never claimed that it intends to obtain nuclear weapons. But again I wonder: Why shouldn't the Arab countries obtain [nuclear] know-how and technology, as long as there is an enemy called Israel lying in wait for us?"

"The Time Has Come... to Consider Nuclear Weapons as Means of Deterring Israel's Imperialistic Perception"

"If we do not do this, how will it be possible to deter Israel and its extremist governments and its bullies, who reject the Arab peace [initiative], occupy more and more land every day, and call to expel all the Palestinians?

"The time has come for us to seriously consider nuclear weapons as a means of deterring Israel's imperialistic perception and compelling the world [to ensure] the Arabs' security instead of Israel's. The Arab citizen is entitled to live in security and stability, and deserves to enjoy high status and honor from all the countries of the world. This is not going to happen as long as he does not possess knowledge and power.

"Are we going to act?"


[1] For example, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Mu'allem said during an October 2009 visit to France, "The region does not need nuclear weapons." Al-Watan (Syria), October 1, 2009.

[2] Al-Watan (Syria), April 27, 2010.

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