NOT BY WAR ALONE: Security and Arms Control in the Middle East by Paul Jabber

NOT BY WAR ALONE: Security and Arms Control in the Middle East

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A valuable fix on the problem of regional arms control--specifically, in the volatile Middle East. Jabber, author of Israel and Nuclear Weapons and co-author of The Politics of Palestinian Nationalism, first notes the dangers inherent in both the nuclear arms race currently underway (with Israel in the lead) and the continuing acquisition of conventional weapons, reinforced now by indigenous arms production and Arab oil wealth. He then takes up, as a model for analysis, the Tripartite Declaration of 1950 by France, Great Britain, and the US--the failed attempt by external arms suppliers to limit the influx of weaponry. Britain, he notes, wanted to retain her traditional military influence in the region; the US sought to construct a regional arms pact to block the Soviet Union; France wished to reap the political and military benefits of joint action and to reassert her traditional Mid-eastern aims. These plans, however, were soon disrupted. Israel emerged from the First Arab-Israeli War as the strongest military power in the region. Nasser took control in Egypt, and, stung especially by the 1955 Gaza-raid defeat, sought increasingly to rectify Egyptian military inferiority vis-à-vis Israel. Spurning American attempts to perpetuate his allegiance to the Western security framework, locked in conflict with Britain over possession of the Suez Canal, and angered by France's 1954 decision to supply arms to Israel, he opted for weapons from the Soviet bloc. This shift in the military balance fueled Israeli desire for a preemptive strike and brought about the 1956 Middle East superpower crisis. The tripartite agreement failed, Jabber emphasizes, because: diplomatic efforts to settle the Arab-Israeli conflict were not seriously pursued, the political aims of the suppliers conflicted; the Soviet Union was excluded; and the watchdog machinery was weak. Even more fundamental, however, was the lack of political agreement as to ""maintaining a military balance acceptable to the conflicting parties."" Specifying the solutions indicated, Jabber's study represents a significant addition to the meager literature on conventional arms control and a vital contribution to considerations of peace in the Middle East.

Pub Date: March 10th, 1981
Publisher: Univ. of California Press