Weapons of mass destruction free zones in the Middle East
The Middle East is the only region in the world where weapons of mass destruction (WMD) have been used after 1945. There have been some efforts to establish weapon of mass destruction free zones (WMDFZ) in the region, but none of them have succeeded so far. There are no WMDFZs in the world today, but there are several nuclear weapon free zones. These zones provide important lessons for the establishment of a WMDFZ, and the prohibitions it should include. A zone should include all states in the Middle East, but alternatives for a gradual approach should be considered. It is possible to start with some countries while allowing others delayed entry. All states in the Middle East have in principle agreed to the establishment of a WMDFZ in the regional Forum for Arms Control and Regional Security (ACRS). The ACRS forum was unable to create any agreement between the parties, and has not been active since 1995. This report suggests that the ACRS negotiations should be re-established, and that a step-by-step procedure towards a WMDFZ will be necessary.