At this point in time we don’t know what sort of nuclear reactor Vladimir Putin had promised his Egyptian host Abdel-Fattah a-Sisi during the Russian president’s visit to Cairo last week. No actual construction is about to start in the immediate future and thus the nature of the project is moot.
Moreover, it’s not the only new reactor planned. Turkey is getting one as is our next door neighbor Jordan. The Saudis too are shopping for nuclear power.
In all instances, including that of oil-glutted Saudi Arabia, the pretext is the need for an energy source. This too is the pro forma excuse of Iran, another major oil-producer. Also cited is scientific research – hardly the forte or focus of any of the aforementioned countries.
Unlike Iran, however, none of the above had vowed to wipe Israel off the map which can theoretically somewhat ease our angst.
But the long term implication of the nuclear buzz in our vicinity bodes ill.
None of the governments around us that are so eager to acquire nuclear capability can even be trusted with the safe maintenance of such facilities.
Worse yet, even if the countries in question are currently run by governments regarded as relatively moderate, the sands of the Middle East are constantly shifting. There is no guarantee against insurrections and violent upheavals. Egypt itself had only recently been under the rule of the inimical Muslim Brotherhood, still a force to be reckoned with in that country.
The instability characteristic of most Mideastern societies could lead to the ascendance of irresponsible forces, to resort to understatement. These won’t necessarily even need sophisticated nuclear weaponry to terrorize the entire region. Small “dirty bombs” will suffice for that purpose. Herein resides the greatest danger.
The blame for this burgeoning nuclear race must be laid squarely at the door of the powers negotiating a deal with Iran. These are only negotiations in name. In effect the bottom line has already been scripted – the removal of sanctions from the ayatollah regime while leaving it very viably on the nuclear threshold.
Such appeasement won’t prevent Iran from developing nuclear weaponry. At the very most it may delay it for a few months and even that only for appearances sake. Iran has now basically attained all it needs for a plutonium bomb – it only has to assemble the parts.
Gallingly, Russia is among the so-called negotiators despite having been Iran’s foremost backer and having constructed reactors for it. If this isn’t an inbuilt conflict of interests, it’s hard to define what is. The fact that this same Russia now offers reactors – of whatever type – to other Mideastern states hardly inspires confidence.
All this while, the US silently suffers the sham and treats the international negotiating team as bona fide. Therefore, America is perhaps the one which bears the greatest guilt for the emerging regional nuclear race.
By watching Russia play it for a sucker for years and in fact colluding in the Russian scam by easing sanctions on Iran, the US has signaled all the countries in Iran’s proximity that they had better look after themselves and invest in creating a balance of terror.
The bad deal in-the-making with Iran – the one which both US President Barak Obama and nuclear facility retailer Putin are vigorously promoting – is geared to establish Iran as a regional nuclear power, one which America and Russia will each claim as its strategic ally.
What Washington desires is to underpin Shiite Tehran as the linchpin of forces confronting the extremist Sunni Islamic State – regardless of Iran’s own evil record. What Moscow wants is to fortify Tehran as the chief ally of another of Russia’s protégés, Syria’s embattled dictator Bashar Assad.
Since IS is also fighting Assad, there appears to be a Russo-American commonality of interests in this case.
This isn’t only bad news for Israel. Ours, it must be stressed, is not the only state which fears Iran, even if it is the most directly threatened by it. As the deal with Egypt now indicates, Russia already cynically exploits America’s acute myopia.