Thinking outside the box: preserving the NPT while advancing the Middle East weapons-of-mass-destruction-free zone

Nir Hassid

Since 1995, unsuccessful efforts to promote a Middle East weapons-of-mass-destruction-free zone (MEWMDFZ) within the review process of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) have weakened the treaty regime. In this viewpoint for The Nonproliferation Review, MENACS expert Nir Hassid proposes establishing a designated Middle East Support Unit to work independently from and in parallel to the NPT review process. The Support Unit will contribute to both global and regional security. Globally, its work will increase the ability to reach a consensus-based final document at the 2020 NPT Review Conference, which in turn will strengthen support for the treaty. Regionally, the Support Unit can help reinvigorate dialogue on security measures and nonproliferation in the Middle East. The possibility of resuming a direct dialogue between states in the region is of utmost importance today, as growing regional instability is a source of mutual concern to the Arab states, Iran, and Israel.

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