EFRAIM KARSH, MARTIN NAVIAS, AND PHILIP SABIN
THE 1980s witnessed the escalation of the arms race in the Middle East on to a higher qualitative level as a result of the widespread proliferation of non-conventional instruments of warfare and technologies. True, the spectre of non-conventional- weapons proliferation is not completely novel to the Middle East. The Egyptians had already employed gas in the Yemen civil war in the 1960s, while Israeli nuclear-development efforts are alleged to have begun a decade earlier. However, the far greater scope of the recent proliferation, its intensity and breadth and its higher level of technological sophistication, has rendered the issue of much greater political and military significance.
The Iran-Iraq War not only underlined the horrific nature of non-conventional warfare but also served to undermine a number of crucial thresholds relating to the uses of non-conventional weaponry, thereby making future employment of such systems seem increasingly probable. Concomitantly, the revelations by Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu concerning Israel's burgeoning nuclear capabilities, Iraq's grim determination to acquire the bomb, and the disintegration of the Soviet Union have made the nuclearization of the Middle East closer than ever. Since proliferation in this part of the world is believed to pose the greatest challenge to international security and stability, it is hardly surprising that the Middle East has been subjected to emerging efforts aimed at constraining and controlling the spread of non- conventional ordnance.
While estimates vary, it is generally accepted that Israel possesses a sizeable and sophisticated nuclear arsenal. In addition, Iran continues to pour substantial sums into building up its own nuclear force, while Algeria has purchased a nuclear facility capable of