(photo credit: REUTERS)
We don’t know what sort of nuclear reactor Vladimir Putin had promised his Egyptian host, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, during the Russian president’s visit to Cairo last week.
Moreover, it is not the only reactor planned.
Turkey is getting one, as is Israel’s other 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 the need for 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.
Still, the nuclear buzz in our vicinity bodes ill in the long term.
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 will not necessarily even need sophisticated nuclear weaponry to terrorize the entire region. Small “dirty bombs” would 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 negotiations in name only. The bottom line has already been scripted – the removal of sanctions from the ayatollah regime while leaving it on the nuclear threshold.
Such appeasement will not 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. Tehran 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 is not a conflict of interest, what is? The fact that this same Russia now offers reactors – of whatever type – to other Mideastern states hardly inspires confidence.
All the while, the US silently accepts the sham and treats the international negotiating team as bona fide. Therefore, America perhaps 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 Tehran – which both Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin are vigorously promoting – is geared toward establishing Iran as a regional nuclear power that both can then claim to be a strategic ally.
Washington wants to underpin Shi’ite Tehran as the linchpin of forces confronting the extremist Sunni Islamic State – regardless of Iran’s own evil record. Moscow wants to fortify Tehran as the chief ally of another of Russia’s protégés, Syria’s embattled dictator Bashar Assad.
Since Islamic State is also fighting Assad, there appears to be a Russo-American commonality of interests in this case.
This is not only bad news for Israel. The Jewish state, it must be stressed, is not the only country that fears Iran, even if it is the most directly threatened by it. As the deal with Egypt indicates, Russia is already cynically exploiting Washington’s myopia.