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Nuclear Tech Race Is On In Middle East 352

Posted by Zonk
from the winner-could-also-be-the-loser dept.
CaroKann writes "The TimesOnline is reporting that six Middle Eastern nations have announced interest in developing nuclear technology. The nations involved are Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Middle East Economic Digest states that most of these nations are interested in developing nuclear technology for the purpose of powering desalination plants. However, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, suggests that the sudden interest in nuclear technology is driven by the desire of the six nations to create a 'security hedge' in response to Iran's recent nuclear development program."
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Nuclear Tech Race Is On In Middle East

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  • Ho hum (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Drinking Bleach (975757) on Saturday November 04, 2006 @04:42PM (#16718609)
    Worry me when they're threatening to use them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 04, 2006 @04:59PM (#16718747)
    We say Middle Eastern because we can't call them what they are -- Islamic states.
  • by Troed (102527) on Saturday November 04, 2006 @05:46PM (#16719141) Homepage Journal
    in a very monitored way

    Why should they, for a second, accept that?

  • Re:Plan ahead (Score:3, Insightful)

    by yog (19073) * on Saturday November 04, 2006 @06:02PM (#16719261) Homepage Journal
    The consensus in mainstream analytical circles is that a nuclear war is quite unlikely. Even Iran's mullahs aren't that crazy, their bluster about destroying Israel notwithstanding; Israel is rumored to have MIRVs with dozens of warheads on them; they could easily wipe out all life in Iran if they wanted to.

    The real likelihood is that a terrorist might obtain a nuclear device and detonate it in the middle of a major city, or from a container ship floated into New York harbor.

    Probably the main thing protecting us is not anti-missile technology, which of course is meaningless against a smuggled weapon, but rather the threat of nuclear annihilation against any foe (N. Korea, Iran) thought to have supplied the bomb to the perpetrators. Undoubtedly such threats have been made clear to those people behind the scenes.
  • To be quite honest (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PingXao (153057) on Saturday November 04, 2006 @07:04PM (#16719739)
    No nation or other group can seriously try to play mediator in the region re. nuclear weapons without confronting the elephant in the room. Israel must be made to acknowledge its stable of nukes. You can't tell nations they cannot have nukes while Israel is sitting right there in the middle of the lot with its unofficial nuclear arsenal.

    Any non-proliferation efforts are doomed to fail in the middle east unless Israel owns up to what they have. To turn a blind eye to their nuclear capability while preaching to other countries about what they can and cannot do is rank hypocrisy.
  • by Chabil Ha' (875116) on Saturday November 04, 2006 @08:42PM (#16720543)
    I don't think it's a matter of admitting them, nor is their position justification for their enemies to have them either. The whole idea of having nuclear technology is that you're sane enough not use them. You throw the $jihad variable in there and you unbalance the whole equation of nuclear technology.

    Israel has them, without a doubt, but they know that they wouldn't use them simply because I don't think that they would nuke the land that Abraham promised them. However, the Islamic point of view may feel justified to do it, not because they think Abraham promised it to *them*, but because it would eradicate the infidel in a very decisive manner.

    If you look at the political landscape surrounding Communism and Democracy (USSR & USA), we weren't playing our cold war based on religion, it was based on political ideal. We both knew we had the weapons and had a hair trigger on them, but we both knew and didn't want realize the consequences for using them, simply because we had sane people behind the button.

    I can't say the same in this situation.
  • Re:Ho hum (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nightfire-unique (253895) on Saturday November 04, 2006 @08:49PM (#16720599)

    A simple question - simply requiring critical thinking skills - and I ask this fully aware that those fascists in the White House (USA) are morally, ethically, and legally wrong to invade and occupy Iraq. Query: Just why are those Sunnis and Shi'a killing one another in such a focused fashion? And in what other religions do such great numbers of suicide bombers occur? None of the Benedictine nuns nor Jesuit brothers ever suggested I suicide for Christ.....

    Excellent questions. Here are my observations:

    Sunnis and Shiites are battling for control of Iraq, in much the same way that North and South Korea battled for control of Korea after the fall of Japan (the occupying force) in the 40s. The Americans have chosen to support the Shiites after the Sunni dominated provinces rejected the new constitution. Now, the Sunnis are fighting the Shiites because the American troops are more difficult to target.

    As we're all geeks here, watch the latest Battlestar Galactica season.. pay attention to the tension that forms between the Human police force recruited by the Cylons and the insurgents. It's good entertainment, yes.. but surprisingly insightful. :)

    Religions themselves don't dictate whether or not suicide bombers are common. Situations which cause desperation are the catalyst for suicide attacks. For example, Japan used "suicide bombs" in the form of Kamikazee attacks against American naval vessels during WW2. They also had man-guided torpedos which had no escape mechanism - a naval suicide bomb.

    Many allies fighting during WW2 engaged in suicide tactics, where they would give their lives to save a commander or lay a costly strike against enemy forces, knowing that they would not survive.

    No one gives their lives for a cause when they believe there is a better, more effective way. When you massacre people in a mosque or school (US-Afghanistan bombing campaigns, Israel-Lebanon campaigns, Pakistan-Pakistan strikes, etc), a percentage of those who survive will have lost loved ones and will be willing to end their life as long as it means those he/she feel responsible are injured or killed as well. This is an evolved trait - tribes which allowed attacks against them to occur without retribution were statistically less likely to survive than those tribes which raised the cost of assaults against them by employing revenge attacks).

    And rest assured that many involved in the Christian Crusades committed horrendous crimes, massacres, raping and pillaging, and yes - attacks where the perpetrator knew in advance that the result of the attack would be their death (ie. suicide attack).

    And there you have it. In my estimation, it is desperate people - outgunned, with no hope of a "fair fight" - that perform these attacks. The most effective way to stop the attacks is to make them less desperate (ie. by not massacring their loved ones, setting up checkpoints, toppling their democracies, etc).

  • Re:Ho hum (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Grym (725290) * on Saturday November 04, 2006 @10:47PM (#16721367)

    "And there you have it. In my estimation, it is desperate people - outgunned, with no hope of a "fair fight" - that perform these attacks. The most effective way to stop the attacks is to make them less desperate (ie. by not massacring their loved ones, setting up checkpoints, toppling their democracies, etc)."

    This is a common misconception about suicide bombers that just isn't true. Namely that the actors are disparate, tortured souls personally affected by the conflict. I suggest you read Dying to Win [amazon.com] by Robert Pape which profiles suicide terrorists and the timing/events surrounding suicide attacks. The results are surprising.

    Once you look at the data, it becomes obvious that suicide terrorism is not an act of passion or desperation at all. What seems abhorrent and unthinkable to us is just another form of coercion for the Islamic extremists. In fact, Mr. Pape's point makes perfect sense. If suicide terrorism was simply an act of revenge, why is it that negotiations with group leaders can lead to cease-fires? Moreover, why haven't we seen suicide terrorist attacks employed against totalitarian or media-restricted states?

    What does this mean? Well, once you get around the fact that this is another form of coercion you can start to address it as such. Don't intend to occupy Islamic states and not encounter suicide bombers. Contrary to what you say, you wouldn't allow unrestricted borders with Islamic states.

    -Grym

  • Re:Ho hum (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Grym (725290) * on Sunday November 05, 2006 @02:41AM (#16722679)

    You ignore everything he said about non-islamic suicide bombers, which, frankly, invalidades your point. Just because something is guided and organized does not make it less of an act of passion or desperation.

    I didn't address it because it wasn't relevant. He (and you) are conflating two different things: namely, the selfless acts of military personnel against military personnel in the context of battle and suicide terrorism perpetrated against civilians as a form of coercion against democratic states.

    Just take a look at the tactical leader of the 9/11 operations, Mohammad Atta [about.com]. He was wealthy, educated in Germany, and neither he nor his family could ever be considered victims of Western aggression. And yet, you'd have us believe that his act of suicide terrorism was one of desperation and passion and--more importantly--something that could have been prevented via appeasement. It wasn't.

    And Mr. Atta is quite the norm in this regard as well. I highly suggest you read the book I linked because the author actually profiles all of the September 11th hijackers in this way. He even created a database of all the suicide bombing incidents to occur in the 20 years up until the book was published and uses that database to see what the bombers have in common. The result totally debunks this ridiculous and ill-conceived notion that suicide bombers as emotionally unstable individuals who have been personally affected by the conflicts in which they participate.

    -Grym

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

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