Where is the Middle East heading? The recent Wikileaks disclosures in the Daily Telegraph are somewhat alarming as they have raised a very serious security issue: that of Nuclear conflict in the world’s most unstable region. The paper reported concerns about the likelihood of Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups obtaining fissionable material to make a so-called ‘dirty bomb’ (basically, an IED packed with radioactive material that could make a target area unhabitable for a considerable period of time – essentially, a ‘poor man’s nuke’).
But there’s more reported as a result of these revelations. It seems that ‘rogue states’ in the region (such as Syria and Iran) are actively pursuing missile capabilities to deliver WMD outside their own theatres (see attached article). It also seems that the removal of Saddam Hussein did nothing to alter this situation back in 2003. In fact, it made Iran a lot stronger if anything.
With instability rife as Egypt and other countries traditionally aligned with the West teeter on the brink due to the recent protests, we may be seeing a major change in the balance of power in the Middle East – one which could be shifting towards a power vacumn into which extremism could takes it place. Naturally, this situation is making Israel very edgy, especially as it sees its closest neighbour (with whom it has a long standing peace deal) implode in on itself.
With a potential political realignment across the board, there is one inevitable winner in all this – Iran. The controversy over their alleged nuclear programme is well known. I suspect that Israel probably won’t want to tolerate this emerging threat for much longer. The spectre of a nuclear arms race looms high in my opinion. In order to neutralise this, I’d expect Israel taking action very soon – probably this year. I also wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a nuclear device being used in the region at some point.
This could be an interesting year. Stay happy!
Until the next post.
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