Tackling the Status Quo in the Middle East

Karim El Baz

Inspired by the spirit of the dangers of nuclear proliferation and use of nuclear weapons testing whether atmospheric, underwater or underground as a hidden message or show of force and ability to deter, the United Nations General Assembly convened to produce the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) as a means to end nuclear weapons’ testing. Despite the good intentions of the CTBT, almost 21 years have passed since its inception, and 8 countries (Annex 2 states) have
yet to ratify the treaty for it to take effect. These countries are: the United States, China, Pakistan, India, North Korea, Iran, Israel and Egypt.

This paper has a particular interest in tackling the roots that led three Middle Eastern Annex II states, namely Egypt, Israel and Iran to delay the ratification of the CTBT. The three states have held hostage the CTBT ratification, and by extension its entry to force to mere political bargains based on cost-benefit approaches. None of which have any serious strategic reasons not to ratify the CTBT, however they linkage ratification to other issues, even issues outside the CTBT realm.

In this paper, MENACS civil-military relations expert, Karim El-Baz, argues that the real challenge that faces the ratification of the CTBT (as well as the establishment of a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone, MEWMDFZ) is the absence of minimal favorable conditions. These include mutual recognition, stability as well as multiple political, historical and technical issues.

Mr. El-Baz presented this paper at the Comprehensive Test-Ban-Treaty Organization’s annual Science & Technology conference in Vienna, Austria, from June 26-30, 2017.

The article, as well as a video of this presentation, can be found below.

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