Middle East

Non-state actors & WMD: Does ISIS have a pathway to a nuclear weapon?

Nuclear Security

On March 2014, during the Nuclear Security Summit held in the Netherlands, President Obama identified his number one concern as being the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan. UK Home Secretary Theresa May pinpointed her particular fear of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) acquisition of “chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons” in the “world’s first truly terrorist state”. Fortunately, there has not yet been a nuclear or radiological terrorist attack, but the smuggling of nuclear material remains a pivotal threat to nuclear security.

What next after the Iran Nuclear Deal?

The Iran nuclear deal is seen by many as a success for international relations and security. Implementation Day (16th January) came after years of intensive negotiations. Iran has reduced activities that could have been used to develop nuclear weapon capabilities and the E3+3 has responded by lifting many of its sanctions. There remain severe doubts and enemies of the deal in the United States, Iran and neighbouring states. There are likely to be developments in the region that could put the agreement under further pressure.

Mainstreamed or Sidelined? Non-NPT States and the Nuclear Order

Our Project Leader, Sebastian Brixey-Williams, asked a Carnegie panel of nuclear practitioners from India, Israel, and Pakistan whether they saw their states as responsible nuclear-armed states, and what criteria they use to make such an assertion. Not surprisingly, all the participants said yes, citing various criteria such as nuclear security, nuclear safety, mindfulness of maintaining stability, transparency and a robust and effective civil society.

UK Disagrees With EU Saudi Trade Embargo

Alexander Mosesov from Sputnik News featured a story about the UK’s disagreement with the EU-Saudi trade embargo. The article argues that the reaction by the UK to the decision was predictable. Paul Ingram was quoted in the article saying,

“This response [to oppose the embargo] from the British government is absolutely predictable. There is a strong belief in Whitehall [the British civil service] that the British defense industry depends upon exports to Saudi Arabia, and the strategic support the UK gives to Riyadh benefits UK influence in the region”

Preventing an Iranian bomb: the case against threatening military action

As the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program moves into its implementation phase, many are watching with a careful eye to see if and how it will succeed. Western skeptics are undoubtedly waiting to say, “I told you so” if Iran gets caught red handed developing a nuclear weapon capability. Others may be worried about the future, ten years from now when some of the constraints imposed by the deal expire, and how we will contain Iranian ambitions at that point.


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