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Towards a Regional Security Regime for the Middle East: Issues and Options

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Publisher: SIPRI

The faltering Middle East peace process, the Iraq–United Nations dispute, Algeria's internal conflict, terrorism and suspicions that several Middle East states are developing weapons of mass destruction have focused attention on the Middle East.

Towards a Regional Security Regime for the Middle East: Issues and Options is the result of an 18-month study by the SIPRI Middle East Expert Group, whose members came from Canada, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America. The members were drawn from academe, politics, journalism and government service. All group members acted in their private capacities.

The report argues that a Middle East security regime is both possible, provided further progress is made towards ending the Arab-Israeli dispute, and necessary for the future security of the region. Among its key findings are:

  • Cooperative security is the only possible basis for a Middle East security regime.
  • Regional leaders must begin to develop a set of guiding principles for Middle East security.
  • A regional security regime must include mechanisms for regular dialogue between Middle East states on security issues.
  • Confidence- and security-building measures will play a key role in creating a Middle East security regime.
  • A weapons of mass destruction-free zone must be a fundamental objective of a regional security regime.
  • A regime must also encourage conventional arms control and the elimination of ballistic missiles from the Middle East.



Executive summary

1. Introduction

2. Basic concepts

3. Elements of a regional security regime for the Middle East

4. A way ahead

5. Towards a regional security regime for the Middle East: Conclusions