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Syria's Proliferation Challenge and the European Union's Response

Non-proliferation Paper No. 20

Non-proliferation Paper No. 20

Publisher: SIPRI
SIPRI, Stockholm:
July, 2012

Syria’s desire to acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is shaped by the perceived imbalance of power with Israel but also by a volatile regional environment. As a result, Syria has overcome resource scarcity and other structural constraints to build a significant chemical weapons arsenal, develop missile capabilities and, to the surprise of many, build a nuclear reactor. The European Union (EU) has attempted to offer economic and political incentives to encourage a gradual Syrian shift away from WMD as part of a greater effort to moderate Syria. However, Syrian strategic thinking, concerned with the regional balance of power and confrontation with the United States and Israel, appears to have largely ignored the EU.