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Regional Tool to Strengthen Nuclear Security: The Middle East

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The Nuclear Security Summits (NSS) brought high-level attention to nuclear security and created tools for cooperation. Despite this achievement, the threat of nuclear terrorism is not diminishing, especially in the Middle East. Among the ongoing, devastating wars, failed states, WMD arsenals, use of chemical weapons, and terrorist activity, there is an evident need for a Middle Eastern security architecture. Its development, however, is hindered by political conflicts. Nevertheless, there exist successful mechanisms that regional states have developed to enhance cooperation against radiological and nuclear threats. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) broadly defines nuclear security as “security of nuclear materials and the facilities that house them.” Given that risk environments can best be assessed at the regional level, this short paper explores the existing and potential regional tools, e.g., conferences, meetings, organizations, institutions, networks, etc., in the Middle East and examines their current and potential role in strengthening nuclear security. These mechanisms instill some degree of trust and confidence among regional stakeholders through practical items of cooperation that do not infringe upon the sovereignty and national security of states.

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