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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 33, December 1998 - January 1999

Editor's Introduction

The end of the disarmament year was overshadowed by the US-UK bombardment of Iraq. In addition to coverage in Documents and Sources and News Review, this issue features two papers focusing on immediate and long-term priorities for securing peace and stability in Iraq and the broader region. Douglas Scott, from The Markland Group in Canada, ponders ways forward for a UN Security Council much weakened by the bombing. Gawdat Bahgat, Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, presents a detailed overview of the security policies and priorities of both Iran and Iraq.

The issue features three other opinion papers. Rebecca Johnson, Executive Director of the Acronym Institute, looks ahead to the next meeting of the Non-Proliferation Treaty's Preparatory Committee (PrepCom). The 1998 PrepCom was widely regarded as a severe disappointment, and Johnson proposes practical measures for moving ahead more effectively. Jozef Goldblat, Vice-President of the Geneva International Peace Research Institute, presents a case for a nuclear no-use treaty, vehemently rejecting the legitimacy of using or threatening nuclear weapons in any scenario. Carl Ungerer, from Queensland University in Australia, argues that one useful way to encourage nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation would be to reconvene the Canberra Commission. In Ungerer's view, "reconvening the Canberra Commission will not, by itself, lead to a reduction in nuclear weapons. But it will refocus the debate on elimination."

The Conference on Disarmament (CD) began its 1999 session on 18 January; the opening salvoes and early indications of likely progress and problems this year are reported and assessed in Rebecca Johnson's Geneva Update.

In addition to covering the Iraq crisis, Documents and Sources features statements from the CD, NATO communiqués, a Canadian Parliamentary report on nuclear policy and a major announcement on US missile defence plans. News Review includes coverage of a further delay in Russian ratification of the START II Treaty, this time prompted by the military strikes against Iraq, the continuing diplomatic aftershocks from the nuclear tests in South Asia, the decision of Cyprus not to deploy Russian anti-aircraft missiles, and the US imposition of sanctions against Russian entities for assisting Iranian proliferation efforts.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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