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Ariel Center for Policy Research (ACPR)

ACPR Research


Nuclear Programs of Arab
and Islamic States:
Capabilities, Strategies and Implications

Gerald Steinberg and Aharon Etengoff
Policy Paper No. 120

(In the book Muhammad's Monsters, David Bukay, (ed.),
AR: Balfour Books and Israel: ACPR Publishers, 2004, 300 pages.)


In this chapter, we will describe and analyze the 1) nuclear weapons capabilities and technologies, 2) development and acquisition plans and programs, and 3) statements on strategy and goals, for the following eight countries: Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Algeria.

For each country, we will present information based on a detailed study of the sources, including US government and other official reports, the academic literature, and press reports. The country assessments will also include analysis of technological acquisitions (including dual-use systems, materials, and facilities), delivery systems such as ballistic missiles, and cooperation with third countries, including Russia, China, and North Korea.

On this basis, the implications of the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology in the Arab and Islamic world will be analyzed. In the case of Pakistan, this section will focus on the impact of the nuclear weapons capability on the balance of power in the region (including the Persian Gulf), on the nuclear ambitions and programs of the other states in the region, and the potential for transfer of technology and experienced personnel. Regarding the Iraqi and Iranian nuclear acquisition programs, we will examine the security implications for the region (including Israel), and for future deployment of US and NATO forces and interests in the region. We will also consider the implications of the accelerating nuclear proliferation process in this region for European security interests.

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