Once more, Reviewing Clinton Remarks on NMD
The danger of TMD to the Security of the Middle East

24 September 2000

by Bahig Nassar, Coordinator,
Arab coordination Center of NGOs.

  1. Responses to the report you already received under the title "From Theater Missile Defense (TMD) to National Missile Defense (NMD) - A looming Danger NGOs Must Resist" were very encouraging. However the fact that many NGOs failed to notice the danger of TMD deployment and confined their campaign to the danger of NMD deserves more discussions. Leaders of these NGOs are prominent among advocates of peace, justice, security and disarmament. Peter Weise, a friend and a champion of the inalienable rights of people, international Humanitarian law and nuclear disarmament raised a question which may still hover in the minds of others, saying after reading the report, "I haven't thought this through yet, but wouldn't you and other Arab countries like to have a TMD against Israel missiles?" In other words TMDs may be accepted as a shield by all to challenge the danger posed by Israeli missiles. But isn't it better for all of them and for peace to give up their TMDs together with the imminent danger leveled at each of them? This is my position. If we allow countries in the Middle East (ME) the Mediterranean region, South Asia, North East Asia, The Pacific region and Europe to live behind TMDs shields our planet will be a strange place. Possibly US will be the only country which will not be affected by TMD unless Russia will send an advanced portable TMD on naval units close to its territories. I thank Peter will fully agree with me. But, his question is still valid and stands to reason. It prompts us to concretely discuss the problem in the context of developments of the ME or of any other region to unmask and discover more dangers of TMDs, deployment. Suppose a certain country or several countries in a region similar to ME or South Asia insist on maintaining their weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles, isn't it reasonable for the countries of the region to live behind TMDs shields? Have they another option?

  2. To answer this question - let us review the recent development in the > Middle East (ME). "US already transferred the technology of TMD to Israel and with additional US financial assistance they were able to deploy the Arrow TMD system to kill the missiles of their adversaries. This step prompted other countries of the region to acquire more ballistic missiles to compensate for those which will be killed. In turn, US made special efforts to convince friendly countries particularly in the Gulf area to purchase US ready made TMDs of lesser technological quality in comparison with that deployed in Israel. Thanks to US technology the later is now conducting tests on Arrow 2 to develop the system thus the wheel of arms race will continue moving. If this process will not be halted an open ended chain of missile and missile defense system will be deployed in the region and most of them will be purchased from corporate affiliated to US military industrial complex, chasing after profits" (quotation from the former report). The problem is not confined to the abnormal situation where all people of the region will live behind shields to ensure their security. But the real problem is that the technology of the shields is continuously developing and consequently the M.E. countries will continue for ever racing to purchase new effective shields (TMDs), mainly from US.

    Egypt is a developing country. The annual average of an Egyptian income is around 1400 US dollars whereas in Israel, a developed country, it is more than16,000 US dollar. Concerted effort is made to further the Egyptian social and economic development and above all human development in order to secure the utmost advantage of the scientific technological revolution achievements. Egypt, also has tried to bring other developing countries of the region together to establish a free market and possibly to initiate integrated social and economic projects in order to acquire better and (possibly equal) terms for their trade and economic relations with developed countries. They need to devote every penny available to achieve this target instead of purchasing missile and missile defense systems or to acquire nukes and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD). But other forces are pushing them to start arms race contrary to their basic interests.

    The same practices are underway in regard to China which possesses around 20 intercontinental missiles. Almost all of them can be neutralised by the 100 interceptors of NMD system together with other TMDs which may be deployed in North East Asia. To overcome these challenges China will initiate a new wave of arms race to compensate for the missiles which will be killed by US missile defense systems. Consequently colossal amount of money will be diverted from development fields to arms race, an attempt to halt China's brilliant economic development which could be a model for many developing countries.

  3. US TMDs and NMD are tightly connected to nuclear weapon proliferation and arms build up. In the ME several countries of the region try to acquire WMD and ballistic missiles to counter Israeli nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicels. Apart from squandering the limited budgets of ME developing countries on arms race other threats are leveled at them. US counter proliferation (P.C.) policy to use force combined with nuclear deterrence has been initiated to meet such a development. In 1996, the then Secretary of Defense Perry, highlighted the importance of US Counter Proliferation ( C.P.) when he said, "in deterring this (WMD) threat, we depend both on strong conventional military force and smaller but still powerful nuclear force. In our nuclear posture view, we reaffirmed the importance of maintaining nuclear weapons as a deterrent. But I would like to point out that both our conventional and nuclear force, as deterrents, not only must be strong, but must be perceived that the US has the will power to use that strength". (INESAP Information Bulletin, issue 12, March, 1997, P25). With the exception of North Korea, all countries threatened by US - CP are located in the M.E.

    M.E. countries are in a very strange and abnormal situation. On the one hand the deadly threats leveled against them due to Israeli unilateral possession of nuclear weapons and advanced missiles, and of late its deployment of the Arrow TMD system is inducing several countries of the region to seek every possibility to acquire WMD and ballistic missiles. On the other hand any country opposes US policies and may try to acquire these weapons will be subject to threats and possible use of US strong and huge conventional forces combined with nuclear deterrence. Even Egypt, a country firmly striving to abolish all nuclear weapons and to free the ME from WMD and their delivery systems had been lately included in the last list of suspected countries presented biannually by US intelligent service to the Congress. This took place at the time when Egypt strongly supported Palestinian position on the question of Jerusalem, contrary to US policy. In such a situation the only way to deliver Egypt and all ME countries including Isreal from the above mentioned deadly threats is to prevent TMDs deployment and to free the region from all WMD and their delivery vehicles.

  4. Possibly the main question which should be raised is why Israel deployed a TMD system in spite of the fact that no country in the region acquires nuclear weapons while it possesses an arsenal of diversified systems of these weapons and their delivery vehicles? For a nuclear weapon states (NWS) TMD or NMD is not a defensive shield but basically an offensive system to support nuclear deterrence after it will neutralize the weapons of its adversary.

    In his remarks of September the first, 2000, Clinton hints to this fact when he said " the prospect of deterrence served us very well in the cold war, and deterrence remains imperative ...Now, no one suggests that NMD would ever substitute for diplomacy or for deterrence. But such a system, if it worked properly, could give us an extra dimension for insurance in a world where proliferation has complicated the task of preserving peace" So, peace will not be preserved by putting an end to non proliferation through the implementation of NPT article VI on completes elimination of nuclear weapons. No, No, "peace" will be preserved by nuclear deterrence supported by missile defense systems. This is now the basic policy of US to preserve "peace" in the world and it is also the current policy of Israel to preserve "peace" in the M.E. region.

    In fact, two projects are now implemented in Israel. The first is to continuously develop missile defense systems (including lazer systems) to kill missiles of other states of the region, and consequently its capacities to launch a first nuclear strike will be enhanced. The second is to deploy nuclear capable cruise missiles on submarines of Dolphin-class, recently provided by Germany, in far and deep international waters, and consequently its capacities to launch a second nuclear strike will be developed.

    Nothing could impede nuclear disarmament and the transformation of the M.E. into a zone free from all WMD and their delivery vehicles more than the deployment of TMD in Israel and nuclear weapons on its submarines. Israeli triad of nuclear force, with land, air and submarine launched missiles will function effectively with the deployment of missile "defense" systems to neutralize the others missiles. The possibility of establishing a Zone free from all WMD is the ME is becoming very bleak. Therefore, we appeal to all NGOs to make every effort to prevent TMD deployment together with NMD. Both are the two pillars of the so-called Ballistic missile "Defense" (BMD). Achieving this target is particularly necessary because TMD scan be developed with additional technological devices and function as NMD.

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