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1.05.2005

Egypt, terrorism, and nuclear proliferation

The AP is reporting that Egypt has been working on a nuclear program. But why would they? Surely their base motivation is to counter the Israeli nuclear capability, but shouldn't they have learned the lessons of the War on Terror by now? Any state that is developing nuclear weapons in violation on non-proliferation agreements will be of grave concern to the US, especially an Islamic country where there is a possibility that the weapons could make their way into the hands of terrorists. If these reports are true, you would think they would know better.

Sure India and Pakistan have developed full nuclear strike capability, but that was before the current concerns over the link between nuclear proliferation and terrorism. Iran and North Korea are plainly in the sights of the Anglo-American alliance, and why would Egypt not be as well? It is a given that relations between the US and Egypt are better than those with the two remaining members of the "Axis of Evil", but does that give them immunity from proliferation issues?

I have a feeling that the State Department will look at this "seriously", but they will get a pass in part because of the regional politics. While the classification of Egypt as a "moderate" Islamic nation could be debated, most would agree that they are not in the same category as Iran, Syria, and the former Taliban government in Afghanistan. Based on this alone, our approach to this situation will probably be muted, but you can be sure we will be taking steps to try limit the chance that any byproducts or output of the Egyptian nuclear program will not be getting into the hands of terrorists.

That is the real challenge of modern nuclear proliferation, nation-states will be responsible with the capability, in most cases, due to the obvious consequences. But with terrorists it is a different story, the willingness to die for their misguided cause alters the situation drastically. So our efforts must be focused on eliminating the producers of nuclear weapons who would sell them to terrorists, in this way our anti-proliferation efforts can be the most effective.

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