HUGO GROTIUS (Huig de Groot), a modern természetjogi felfogás és a modern politikai irodalom egyik megteremtője, aki a természet-jogon alapuló nemzetközi jog alapjait fektette le.
In recent years, nuclear and WMD proliferation has resurfaced as a global issue again. The international community has made huge efforts towards non-proliferation and security. One important dimension of these intentions is the question of nuclear disarmament and the extension of nuclear-weapon-free zones, already existing. So far seven nuclear-weapon-free zones have been established which cover more than half of the world’s territory – 74% of all land belongs to nuclear-weapon-free zones (which covers 99% of the Southern Hemisphere landmass). Sea areas, however, fall almost completely out of these territories. These seven nuclear-weapon-free zones today represent 119 states with almost 2 billion inhabitants.
The idea of a Middle Eastern Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (MENWFZ) has long been discussed but until now no real breakthrough has been reached. Over time the nuclear issue has meant a source of tension and cohesion in the region. The perception of Arabs versus Jews was a unifying concept for both sides and the question of security is still one of the most important segments of Middle Eastern policies. This one-dimensional contrast, however, has recently gone through some serious changes, as the region witnessed the rise of Iran, which nowadays seeks to develop all stages of the nuclear fuel cycle.
This actually led to a situation where several former adversaries found themselves on the same side, against a new threat. From the Israeli perspective the place of the Arab adversary has been taken over by Iran. But it is interesting to see that from a nuclear point of view Iran has become the number one challenge to the Gulf region as well. On the other hand the Israeli nuclear capability is still considered the biggest threat for the rest of the Arab world. Meanwhile the international community tries to press the whole region towards the establishment of a Middle Eastern Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone.
The issue of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) has become a priority again after the September 11 attacks of 2001 and the beginning of the United States-led war on terror. The Bush administration, however, used the WMD threat rather to justify its wars, than really initiate global disarmament efforts. In reverse, the new American government has truly made nuclear non-proliferation a top priority and tries to reach results at home and abroad as well. The beginning of 2010 was crucial in this sense and the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) advanced again the question of a MENWFZ. Besides, the 2010 Review Conference set 2012 as a date of a new meeting where concrete steps are to be taken towards the establishment of a MENWFZ – and that is why the issue is highly relevant again. In this paper I would like to describe the biggest obstacles to and chances of this initiative, exploring all the former proposals and their lessons in order to highlight how complex this debate is and what possible outcomes can be expected.