[Senate Prints 110-34]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]



 2d Session                 COMMITTEE PRINT                     S. Prt.
                                                                 110-34
_______________________________________________________________________
 
                            CHAIN REACTION:

                      AVOIDING A NUCLEAR ARMS RACE

                           IN THE MIDDLE EAST

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 TO THE

                     COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS

                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                       One Hundred Tenth Congress

                             Second Session

                             February 2008

                                     





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                     COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS

                JOSEPH R. BIDEN, Jr., Delaware, Chairman
CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut     RICHARD G. LUGAR, Indiana
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts         CHUCK HAGEL, Nebraska
RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, Wisconsin       NORM COLEMAN, Minnesota
BARBARA BOXER, California            BOB CORKER, Tennessee
BILL NELSON, Florida                 JOHN E. SUNUNU, New Hampshire
BARACK OBAMA, Illinois               GEORGE V. VOINOVICH, Ohio
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey          LISA MURKOWSKI, Alaska
BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, Maryland         JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
ROBERT P. CASEY, Jr., Pennsylvania   JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
JIM WEBB, Virginia                   DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
                   Antony J. Blinken, Staff Director
            Kenneth A. Myers, Jr., Republican Staff Director


                                  (ii)


                            C O N T E N T S

                              ----------                              
                                                                   Page
Letter of Transmittal............................................     v
Executive Summary................................................   vii

Chapter 1: Introduction..........................................     1

Chapter 2: Historical Lessons on Nuclear ``Roll Forward'' and 
  ``Rollback''...................................................     4

Chapter 3: Saudi Arabia..........................................     9
    The Worst Case Scenario......................................     9
    Saudi Perceptions of Iran and the Iranian Nuclear Program....    10
    The Saudi Nuclear Energy Program.............................    15
    Will the Saudi Seek a Nuclear Weapon?........................    16
    Policy Considerations........................................    21

Chapter 4: Egypt.................................................    25
    Egypt's Nuclear Power Program: Past and Present..............    25
    Egypt and Iran...............................................    27
    Egypt and Nuclear Weapons....................................    28
    The Two Wild Cards...........................................    30
    Policy Considerations........................................    32

Chapter 5: Turkey................................................    35
    Major Irritants in the United States-Turkey Relationship.....    36
    Turkey and NATO..............................................    39
    Turkey and Nuclear Weapons...................................    40
    Policy Considerations........................................    41

Appendix 1: Status of Relevant Nuclear Agreements................    45
Appendix 2: U.S. Non-Immigrant Visas Issued in Saudi Arabia......    46
Appendix 3: U.S. Non-Immigrant Visas Issued to Egyptian, Saudi, 
  and Turkish Nationals..........................................    47
Appendix 4: Map of the Middle East...............................    48
Appendix 5: Map of Arabian Peninsula and Vicinity................    49

                                 (iii)


                         LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL

                              ----------                              

                                                 February 27, 2008.

    Dear Colleagues: In July of 2007, I directed my Senate 
Foreign Relations Committee staff member for the Middle East, 
Bradley Bowman, to undertake an examination of the factors that 
could motivate states of the Middle East to acquire nuclear 
weapons.
    Between July and December 2007, Mr. Bowman conducted 
research and interviewed hundreds of individuals in Washington 
DC, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the 
United Arab Emirates. In addition to pursuing the question 
regarding ``nuclear drivers'' in the Middle East, he also 
focused specifically on the regional ramifications if Iran were 
to acquire nuclear weapons.
    The resulting staff report contains policy considerations 
that represent the independent judgments of the author and do 
not necessarily reflect the views of members of the committee. 
However, in the wake of the December 2007 NIE and in light of 
recent announcements by Arab states regarding nuclear energy, 
the observations and analyses presented here are timely. They 
are offered as one contribution in the effort to understand 
Middle East politics and the challenges the U.S. will confront 
going forward.
            Sincerely,
                                  Richard G. Lugar,
                                            Ranking Member,
                                    Committee on Foreign Relations.


                                  (v)

                           EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

                              ----------                              

    Iran's nuclear program remains one of the most serious 
threats to U.S. interests and Middle East peace, despite the 
December 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) conclusion 
that ``Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003.'' 
Iran continues to enrich uranium-the most difficult component 
of a nuclear weapons program-and continues to conduct work that 
could contribute to nuclear weapons development. As the NIE 
states, Iran now possesses the ``scientific, technical, and 
industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons if it 
decides to do so.'' Consequently, the NIE judges ``with 
moderate confidence'' that Iran will have enough highly-
enriched uranium (HEU) to produce a nuclear weapon by 2010-
2015. Furthermore, because the motivations inspiring the 
Iranian drive for nuclear weapons remain unaddressed, Iran 
remains unlikely to fully abandon its long-term drive to obtain 
a nuclear weapon capability. If in fact Iran halted the other 
aspects of its nuclear weapons program in 2003, this action 
almost certainly represents a tactical pause rather than a 
strategic change of course. In short, Iran now possesses the 
means as well as the motivation to develop nuclear weapons. 
Consequently, it is entirely possible that the United States 
could confront a nuclear-armed or nuclear weapons capable Iran 
in the next decade.
    If such an undesirable scenario were to occur in the next 
decade, despite the international community's best efforts, the 
U.S. must not be caught unprepared. U.S. decision-makers must 
seek to understand the regional dynamics that would accompany 
an Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons and be ready to 
implement policies to prevent a bad situation from becoming 
worse. An Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapon or a nuclear 
weapons capability would dramatically shift the balance of 
power among Iran and its three most powerful neighbors-Saudi 
Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey. This shift in the balance of power 
could spark a regional nuclear arms race as Iran's neighbors 
seek to redress the new power imbalance. This raises important 
questions: How are these three countries currently responding 
to the Iranian nuclear program? How would Riyadh, Cairo, and 
Ankara respond if Tehran were to cross the nuclear threshold 
and acquire nuclear weapons? Would they pursue nuclear weapons 
of their own? What factors would influence their decisions? 
What can the U.S. do now and over the coming years to 
discourage these countries from pursuing a nuclear weapon of 
their own?
    Chapters 3, 4, and 5 contain staff's findings related to 
these questions. Each chapter touches on the respective 
country's relationship with Iran and the United States, 
identifies the incentives and disincentives that would 
influence the state's response to a nuclear-armed Iran, and 
provides policy considerations that would reduce the chances 
the state would respond by pursuing nuclear weapons. Based on 5 
months of research and interviews with hundreds of officials 
and scholars in the United States and seven Middle Eastern 
countries, this report comes to the following conclusions for 
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey:

                        SAUDI ARABIA (CHAPTER 3)

    The development of a Saudi nuclear weapon represents one of 
the most serious and most likely consequences of an Iranian 
acquisition of nuclear weapons. If Iran obtains a nuclear 
weapon, it will place tremendous pressure on Saudi Arabia to 
follow suit. The only factor that would likely dissuade the 
Saudis from pursuing a nuclear weapon would be a restored 
United States-Saudi bilateral relationship and a repaired Saudi 
perception regarding the reliability of the U.S. security 
guarantee. If the United States does not take deliberate 
actions in the coming years to achieve both of these 
objectives, an Iranian bomb will almost certainly lead to a 
Saudi bomb.
    The vast majority of individuals interviewed believe that 
Saudi Arabia represents the country most likely to pursue a 
nuclear weapon in response to an Iranian bomb. Significant 
disagreement among many parties exists regarding the Saudi's 
final decision, as well as their capability to obtain a nuclear 
weapon. However, high-level U.S. diplomats in Riyadh with 
excellent access to Saudi decision-makers expressed little 
doubt about the Saudi response. These diplomats repeatedly 
emphasized that an Iranian nuclear weapon frightens the Saudis 
``to their core'' and would compel the Saudis to seek nuclear 
weapons.
    Those who believe Saudi Arabia would not respond to an 
Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons by pursuing a weapon of 
its own usually emphasize one of three arguments. The first 
suggests the value the Saudis place on their relationship with 
the United States would dissuade them from taking a nuclear 
decision that would severely damage their most important 
bilateral relationship. Undoubtedly, Saudi Arabia values its 
relationship with the United States. The United States has 
served as Saudi Arabia's most important security guarantor 
since 1945. However, Saudi Arabia values its relationship with 
the United States because the United States has served Saudi 
Arabia's interests. If Saudi Arabia comes to believe the United 
States cannot or will not protect the Kingdom and its core 
interests, the Saudi regime will not hesitate to develop the 
independent means to deter its enemies. If the United States 
does not take assertive steps now to restore Saudi faith in the 
U.S. security guarantee, this will increase the likelihood that 
the Saudis will respond to a perceived decline in the 
reliability of U.S. security guarantees and the emergence of an 
Iranian nuclear threat by pursuing an independent nuclear 
deterrent.
    The second argument frequently cited relates to the 
character of the regime. Some argue the Saudi regime is too 
conservative, too timid to take such a bold and controversial 
step. However, the Saudi regime's undoubtedly conservative and 
occasionally timid approach to foreign relations has not kept 
Saudi Arabia from taking covert and controversial measures in 
the past in order to protect its interests. The Saudi 
acquisition of 50-60 CSS-2 missiles, 10-15 mobile launchers, 
and technical support from China at a cost of about $3 to $3.5 
billion in the late 1980s provides an example. These missiles, 
which represent some of the longest-range missiles in the 
world, were acquired by the Saudis after the U.S. decision not 
to sell the Saudis surface-to-surface missiles. This Saudi 
move-apparently conducted without the knowledge of Israel or 
the United States-reflected anything but a conservative or 
timid approach. While the acquisition of a nuclear weapon would 
represent a much greater challenge to the bilateral 
relationship, the CSS-2 affair demonstrates that in order to 
ensure its own security, Saudi Arabia will not hesitate to 
aggressively bypass or risk alienating the United States in 
order to protect Saudi interests.
    The third argument often cited relates to Saudi Arabia's 
nuclear technology capabilities. Saudi Arabia lacks the human 
expertise and the technical knowledge necessary to develop a 
nuclear weapons program on its own. Experts consistently 
describe Saudi Arabia's nuclear infrastructure and know how as 
far inferior to Egypt and Turkey. However, many individuals 
emphasize that the U.S. should not underestimate Saudi Arabia's 
ability to buy the technology required. Many scholars and U.S. 
diplomats believe Saudi Arabia may have some sort of formal or 
informal understanding with Pakistan regarding nuclear weapons. 
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have common interests and 
complementary assets. Pakistan has a nuclear capability and 
limited money, while Saudi Arabia has no nuclear capability and 
virtually unlimited money. While no solid evidence exists to 
confirm the formalization of such an agreement, some 
circumstantial evidence suggests an agreement or 
``understanding'' may exist.

                           EGYPT (CHAPTER 4)

    An Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons would ignite a 
heated debate in Cairo as to whether Egypt should pursue 
nuclear weapons. Although such a development in Iran would 
hasten Egypt's nuclear energy efforts, in the view of almost 
all of those interviewed, Egypt would most likely choose not to 
respond by pursuing its own nuclear weapons. The potential 
Israeli response and the impact on Egypt's relations with the 
United States represent the most important reasons. Two pillars 
undergird Egyptian national security strategy: peace with 
Israel and a security partnership with the United States. While 
both Israel and America remain very unpopular with the Egyptian 
people, the Egyptian regime relies on peace with Israel and aid 
from the United States to maintain its security and its power. 
An Egyptian pursuit of nuclear weapons would destabilize--if 
not topple--the Israeli and American pillars of Egypt's 
national security strategy. Egyptian leaders considering a 
pursuit of nuclear weapons would need to consider the Israeli 
response. If the past is any indication, there is no reason to 
believe a new Egyptian nuclear weapons program would evade 
Israeli attention. Such an Egyptian program and the Israeli 
response could reignite open hostility between the two states. 
Additionally, an Egyptian nuclear weapons program could 
severely damage the bilateral relationship between Egypt and 
the United States. Egypt leans heavily on U.S. aid, as well as 
U.S. military assistance, and an Egyptian nuclear weapons 
program would endanger both. Therefore, as long as peace with 
Israel and a security relationship with the United States 
remain in Egypt's interest, the disincentives for an Egyptian 
nuclear weapons program appear to outweigh the incentives.
    However, two wildcards--the response of Israel and Saudi 
Arabia to an Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapon--could 
decisively shape Egypt's response. If Iran were to acquire a 
nuclear weapon in the next few years, this would represent a 
major strategic and political shock to Israel. As a result, the 
Israeli Government would face tremendous domestic political 
pressure to respond in an explicit and bold way. The nature of 
the Israeli response could prove decisive in shaping Egypt's 
response to an Iranian bomb. Secondly, a Saudi acquisition of a 
nuclear weapon would substantially shift Egypt's cost-benefit 
analysis regarding the acquisition of nuclear weapons.
    Egyptians see themselves as the natural leaders of the Arab 
world, based largely on Egypt's proud history, its dominance of 
Arab culture and media, its large population, and its relative 
military prowess. However, staff frequently encountered a 
feeling among Egyptian officials and scholars that Egypt's 
leadership role has deteriorated in recent years. Egyptians 
view Saudi Arabia as the country attempting to replace Egypt as 
the leader of the Arab world. While Saudi Arabia has only one-
third of Egypt's population, Saudi Arabia's oil wealth and its 
role as ``guardian of the two holy mosques'' give it a unique 
position from which to challenge Egypt's leadership.
    Within this context of competition between Egypt and Saudi 
Arabia, a Saudi acquisition of a nuclear weapon would represent 
a uniquely threatening challenge to Egypt's self-conception and 
regional influence. While Egypt would view an Iranian bomb as a 
negative and disconcerting development, in the end, Iran does 
not represent an Arab or Sunni power. Thus, despite Tehran's 
efforts to blur ethnic and religious differences, it is 
unlikely that Iran will ever be able to unify Sunni Arab powers 
beneath its leadership. The same cannot be said of the Saudis. 
The Saudis are Arab and they are predominantly Sunni, and in 
sharing these two important characteristics with Egypt, a Saudi 
nuclear bomb would represent a more proximate and more serious 
threat to Egypt's prestige and national identity. In short, the 
manner with which Israel and Saudi Arabia respond to the 
potential Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons will have a 
potentially decisive influence on Egypt's decision regarding 
nuclear weapons.

                           TURKEY (CHAPTER 5)

    If Iran acquires nuclear weapons in the next decade, this 
would also place significant pressure on Turkey to follow suit. 
Turkey and Iran do not see themselves as adversaries, but 
Turkey believes the centuries of peace and relative stability 
between the two states and their predecessor empires derive 
primarily from the rough balance of power between them. A 
nuclear-armed Iran would dramatically tip the balance in Iran's 
direction. Turkey believes this increased Iranian power would 
lead to a more aggressive Iranian foreign policy and a 
marginalization of Turkey. Such a development would 
significantly undercut Turkey's desired role as a respected and 
powerful mediator between east and west. In such a scenario, 
there would be strong voices in the Turkish General Staff, as 
well as among ultra-nationalist politicians, arguing for Turkey 
to respond by pursuing nuclear weapons. Thus, the possibility 
still exists that Turkey would respond to Iranian nuclear 
weapons by developing nuclear weapons as well.
    At the same time, there are significant disincentives to a 
Turkish pursuit of nuclear weapons. First, doing so would 
severely damage United States-Turkish relations, which 
represent an essential component of Turkish national security. 
Second, such a development would endanger Turkey's good 
standing in NATO, another key component of Turkey's national 
security. Third, a Turkish pursuit or acquisition of nuclear 
weapons would seriously undercut any remaining chance of 
Turkish accession into the European Union. Fourth, powerful 
popular voices within Turkey would likely oppose a Turkish 
attempt to acquire nuclear weapons. Unlike Egypt, Iran, and 
Saudi Arabia, the democratic system in Turkey would enable 
these popular forces to influence Turkey's decisions on these 
issues.
    Staff believes U.S.-Turkey relations and Turkish 
perceptions regarding the reliability of NATO will serve as the 
decisive factors in Turkey's decision regarding nuclear 
weapons. If the bilateral relationship with the United States 
is poor and Turkey's trust in NATO low, Turkey would be more 
likely to respond to Iranian nuclear weapons by pursuing 
nuclear weapons as well. However, a fully restored bilateral 
relationship with the United States and a renewed Turkish trust 
in NATO provide the best means to discourage a Turkish pursuit 
of nuclear weapons.
    Unfortunately, staff found evidence of strain in the U.S.-
Turkey relations and skepticism regarding the reliability of 
NATO security assurances for Turkey. Prior to President Bush's 
meetings with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan on November 
5, 2007, Turkish-United States relations were at one of the 
lowest points in memory. Since this visit, relations between 
the two countries have begun to rebound, but much work remains. 
Also, real and perceived delays and failures of NATO in 
fulfilling its commitments to Turkey in 1991 and 2003 have 
contributed to a widespread Turkish disenchantment with NATO. 
If these Turkish perceptions toward the United States and NATO 
do not significantly improve, an Iranian bomb could lead to a 
Turkish bomb.


                            CHAIN REACTION:



                      AVOIDING A NUCLEAR ARMS RACE



                           IN THE MIDDLE EAST

                              ----------                              


                        Chapter 1: Introduction

    In 1984, George Shultz wrote, ``It is no exaggeration to 
say that controlling the spread of nuclear weapons is critical 
to world peace and, indeed, to human survival. It is a cause 
that deserves and receives top priority in our foreign 
policy.'' In the years since Secretary Shultz's observation, 
the threat posed to the United States by nuclear proliferation 
has only grown worse. The diffusion of scientific knowledge 
related to nuclear weapons and reactor technology in the last 
two decades has dramatically increased the danger to the United 
States and its interests.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ The author would like to thank the Congressional Research 
Service generally and Paul Kerr, Christopher Blanchard, and Jeremy 
Sharp specifically for their research assistance. The author would also 
like to thank Jay Branegan and Robert Einhorn for their helpful input. 
However, the views expressed here are the author's alone.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A global nuclear energy ``renaissance'' appears to be 
underway due in large part to concerns over greenhouse gas 
emissions that accompany fossil fuel consumption and the 
inability of oil and natural gas supplies to meet the 
burgeoning global demand for energy. In the Middle East, these 
energy dynamics, as well as a desire to match Iran's nuclear 
progress, have ignited and renewed widespread interest in 
nuclear energy. In addition to Iran, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, 
Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Oman, Qatar, the UAE, and Yemen, 
have all expressed interest in nuclear energy. While some of 
these states appear more committed to pursuing nuclear power 
than others, the growing demand for energy, combined with 
strategic calculations related to Iran, virtually guarantee 
that the Middle East of 2025 will be populated by at least 3-4 
states engaging in nuclear power generation.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\ For purposes of this report, the Middle East is defined by 
Egypt in the west, Turkey in the north, Iran in the east, and Yemen in 
the south. This definition specifically excludes the countries to the 
west of Egypt (the Maghreb) and countries to the east of Iran (Pakistan 
and Afghanistan).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This growing presence of nuclear energy in the Middle East 
will exacerbate current global trends in which nuclear 
materials and technology are becoming increasingly available. 
Without comprehensive international reform, this increased 
availability of nuclear materials and technology will reduce 
the supply-side obstacles to acquiring a nuclear weapons 
capability, thereby shifting the cost-benefit analysis of many 
states in a dangerous direction. Increasingly, states that seek 
a nuclear weapons capability will have access to the knowledge 
and materials necessary to obtain it. This is not to suggest 
that technical hurdles to the development of nuclear weapons 
will cease to exist, but only that the proliferation of nuclear 
energy technology and know-how will lower these hurdles. For 
many states, this development will reduce the time and 
resources required to obtain a nuclear weapons capability.
    Since the supply-side obstacles to nuclear weapons 
proliferation continue to decrease, the international community 
must place greater emphasis on the demand-side of the issue. In 
other words, U.S. policy must place a greater emphasis on 
identifying and addressing the ``nuclear drivers'' that 
motivate states to pursue nuclear weapons. The international 
community should continue its efforts to control and regulate 
nuclear technologies and materials, but must take its efforts 
further. An effective nuclear nonproliferation strategy must be 
comprehensive, focusing on both the availability of nuclear 
materials and technology, as well as the demand for nuclear 
weapons. Unfortunately, since the end of the cold war, U.S. 
nuclear nonproliferation policy has been decidedly one-sided--
often neglecting to evaluate the reasons states pursue nuclear 
weapons. If U.S. policy continues to neglect the ``nuclear 
drivers'' that motivate states to pursue nuclear weapons, U.S. 
efforts to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the 
Middle East will almost certainly fail.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\ Gawhat Bahgat, ``Nuclear Proliferation and the Middle East,'' 
the Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies (Winter 2005).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Since the advent of nuclear weapons in the last months of 
World War II, 29 states have pursued nuclear weapons. However, 
18 of these states willingly abandoned their programs--a 
decision often called nuclear ``rollback.'' \4\ These 18 case 
studies provide ample evidence that states can be dissuaded 
from pursuing nuclear weapons when the international 
community--and often the United States in particular--addresses 
the state's motivations behind its quest for nuclear 
weapons.\5\ The history of nonproliferation does not teach that 
states eyeing nuclear weapons inevitably get them. Rather, the 
history teaches that nonproliferation efforts succeed when the 
United States and the international community help satisfy 
whatever concerns drove a state to want nuclear weapons in the 
first place. In other words, if the United States can 
accurately identify and address the motivations--or ``nuclear 
drivers''--that compel or encourage Middle Eastern states to 
pursue nuclear weapons, it may be possible to interrupt the 
nuclear proliferation momentum in the region.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\ Rebecca Hersman and Robert Peters, ``Nuclear U-Turns: Lessons 
From Rollback for Preventing Future Proliferation,'' Center for the 
Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction (National Defense University, 27 
June 2007).
    \5\ The countries that have ``rolled back'' are Norway, Italy, 
Indonesia, Egypt, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, 
Yugoslavia, South Korea, Taiwan, Romania, South Africa, Ukraine, 
Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Libya. The Iraqi program was discovered and 
reversed by force and the Iranian program continues.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------


              the ramifications of an iranian nuclear bomb


    In light of this global nuclear energy ``renaissance'' and 
with the benefit of these historical lessons, this study 
attempts to identify the ramifications of a potential Iranian 
acquisition of nuclear weapons. More specifically, this report 
assesses the likelihood that neighbors of Iran would respond to 
an Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapon by seeking nuclear 
weapons of their own. Furthermore, this study seeks to identify 
the steps the U.S. can take now, as well as in the future if 
Iran were to develop nuclear weapons, to prevent a regional 
nuclear arms race.
    Such a study may seem unnecessary to some in light of the 
December 2007 NIE, but Iran's nuclear program remains one of 
the most serious threats to U.S. interests and Middle East 
peace. Iran continues to enrich uranium-the most difficult 
component of a nuclear weapons program-and continues to conduct 
work that could contribute to nuclear weapons development. As 
the NIE states, Iran now possesses the ``scientific, technical, 
and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons 
if it decides to do so.'' Consequently, the NIE judges ``with 
moderate confidence'' that Iran will have enough highly-
enriched uranium (HEU) to produce a nuclear weapon by 2010-
2015. Furthermore, because the motivations inspiring the 
Iranian drive for nuclear weapons remain unaddressed, Iran 
remains unlikely to fully abandon its long-term drive to obtain 
a nuclear weapon capability. If in fact Iran halted the other 
aspects of its nuclear weapons program in 2003, this action 
almost certainly represents a tactical pause rather than a 
strategic change of course. In short, Iran now possesses the 
means as well as the motivation to develop nuclear weapons. 
Consequently, based on Iran's acquired capabilities and Iran's 
continued motivations, it is entirely possible that the United 
States could confront a nuclear-armed or nuclear weapons 
capable Iran in the next decade.
    If such an undesirable scenario were to occur in the next 
decade despite the international community's best efforts, the 
U.S. must not be caught unprepared. The U.S. must know what to 
expect and must know what steps to take to prevent a bad 
situation from becoming worse. An Iranian acquisition of a 
nuclear weapon or a nuclear weapons capability would 
dramatically shift the balance of power among Iran and its 
three most powerful neighbors--Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey. 
This fact raises many questions, including: How are these three 
countries responding today to the Iranian nuclear program? How 
would Riyadh, Cairo, and Ankara respond if Tehran were to cross 
the nuclear threshold and acquire nuclear weapons? Would they 
pursue nuclear weapons of their own? What factors would 
influence their decisions? What can the U.S. do now and over 
the coming years to discourage these countries from pursuing a 
nuclear weapon of their own? Based on 5 months of research and 
interviews with hundreds of officials and scholars in the 
United States and seven Middle Eastern countries, this report 
attempts to answer these questions. In order to do this, each 
chapter touches on the respective country's relationship with 
Iran and the United States, identifies the incentives and 
disincentives that would influence the state's response to a 
nuclear-armed Iran, and provides policy considerations that 
would reduce the chances the state would respond by pursuing 
nuclear weapons.

       Chapter 2: Historical Lessons on Nuclear ``Roll Forward'' 
                            and ``Rollback''

    If Iran were to develop a nuclear weapon or nuclear weapons 
capability in the next decade, preventing a nuclear chain 
reaction in the region would represent one of the most 
difficult and complex challenges the U.S. has confronted in 
years. Fortunately, a significant case study history already 
exists that provides invaluable information on why states make 
decisions with regard to the development or relinquishment of 
nuclear weapons programs. According to a comprehensive study by 
the National Defense University's (NDU) Center for the Study of 
Weapons of Mass Destruction, 29 states have pursued nuclear 
weapons (``roll forward'') since 1945. Of these 29 states, 18 
of them willingly abandoned their programs--a decision often 
called ``rollback.'' \1\ This substantial sample size offers 
four particularly valuable patterns and lessons that can inform 
U.S. policy in the Middle East.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ The countries that have ``rolled back'' include Norway, Italy, 
Indonesia, Egypt, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, 
Yugoslavia, South Korea, Taiwan, Romania, South Africa, Ukraine, 
Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Libya. The Iraqi program was discovered and 
reversed by force and the Iranian program continues.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    First, there rarely exists a single explanation for a 
nation's decision to pursue nuclear weapons. According to the 
NDU study, the most influential ``roll forward'' factors have 
been: assessment of threat, breakdown of global 
nonproliferation norms, national pride and unity, personal 
leadership, strategic deterrent, and perceived weakening of 
security alliances. The most influential ``rollback'' factors 
have been: foreign pressure, impediments to development, 
international standing, personal leadership, net loss of 
security, and a reassessment of the threat.\2\ While this list 
clearly underscores the preeminent role of security 
calculations in the decision of states regarding the 
development of nuclear weapons, other factors consistently 
impact the nuclear decision as well. Scott Sagan, a respected 
nuclear proliferation scholar, highlights the importance of 
security considerations in the nuclear ``roll forward'' 
decision, but he also emphasizes the influential role of 
domestic sources. According to Sagan, the parochial interests 
of actors in the nuclear energy establishment, important 
interests within the professional military, and domestic 
interests of politicians can increase the likelihood that a 
country will pursue nuclear weapons.\3\ Other scholars agree 
that one can not dismiss the importance of domestic factors, 
but place greater emphasis on individual political leaders. For 
example, it is difficult to ignore the pivotal role of Nasser 
(Egypt), Gaddafi (Libya), Ben-Gurion (Israel), and the Shah 
(Iran) in their respective country's nuclear decision.\4\ 
Regardless of the factors one chooses to emphasize, the overall 
point is clear. Although security considerations usually play a 
preeminent role in the nuclear proliferation of states, a 
number of other factors play a decisive role as well.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\ Rebecca Hersman and Robert Peters, ``Nuclear U-Turns: Lessons 
From Rollback for Preventing Future Proliferation,'' Center for the 
Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction (National Defense University, 27 
June 2007).
    \3\ Scott D. Sagan, ``The Causes of Nuclear Proliferation,'' 
Current History (April 1997).
    \4\ Gawdat Bahgat, ``Nuclear Proliferation and the Middle East,'' 
The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies (Winter 2005) 
408.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The South African case study underscores this point. South 
Africa established its Atomic Energy Corporation in 1948. By 
the end of the next decade, South Africa was conducting 
indigenous nuclear research and development. In the mid-1970s, 
South Africa decided to develop a nuclear weapon capability. 
According to some reports, South Africa tested a nuclear device 
in 1979. By 1989, South Africa had built six crude atomic bombs 
and was at work on a seventh. According to F.W. de Klerk, South 
Africa decided to build nuclear bombs for a ``credible 
deterrent capability,'' with the decision being made ``against 
the background of a Soviet expansionist threat in southern 
Africa,'' and ``South Africa's relative international isolation 
and the fact that it could not rely on outside assistance, 
should it be attacked.'' \5\ In addition to these publicly 
cited explanations, there were nine major motivations for this 
South African nuclear program, according to the NDU study. 
Among these incentives were a perceived threat from communist 
and African nationalist power, the personal interest of Prime 
Minister P.W. Botha, a sense of political isolation, and the 
weakening of civilian oversight of the military.\6\ South 
Africa only relinquished its nuclear weapons after the 
coincidence of four developments, each of which appear to be 
critical to the South African decision. These include:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\ Bill Keller, ``South Africa Says It Built 6 Atom Bombs,'' New 
York Times (March 25, 1993).
    \6\ Rebecca Hersman and Robert Peters, ``Nuclear U-Turns: Lessons 
From Rollback for Preventing Future Proliferation,'' Center for the 
Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction (National Defense University, 27 
June 2007).


   Reassessment of Threat. The end of the cold war reduced 
        feelings of insecurity as 50,000 Cuban troops withdrew 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        from the region.

   Desire for International Standing.  After the end of 
        Apartheid, the South African regime sought to normalize 
        relations with the rest of the world in order to 
        achieve the political and economic assistance that 
        would accompany such a move. The normalization of 
        relations required South Africa to relinquish its 
        nuclear weapons.

   Personal Leadership.  President F.W. de Klerk's personal 
        leadership represented a critical factor in the South 
        African decision.

   Regime Change.  As the Nationalist Party prepared to 
        relinquish power to the African Nationalist Congress, 
        the Nationalist Party feared the ANC might share 
        nuclear weapons or technologies with its allies in 
        Libya, Cuba, the PLO, or Iran.\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\ Ibid. South Africa Case Study.


    Although, some explanations are more important than others, 
these case studies demonstrate that a single reason cannot 
explain a country's decision to ``roll forward'' or 
``rollback'' its nuclear weapons program.
    Second, a state's decision regarding the development of 
nuclear weapons should not be viewed as a single, distinct, 
irreversible decision. On the contrary, history consistently 
demonstrates that the proliferation decisionmaking process of 
states can be better understood as a series of decision points 
in which states ``dial up'' or ``dial down'' their programs in 
an effort to keep options open. Decisions related to 
proliferation evolve slowly and incrementally. Undoubtedly, 
leaders make specific policy decisions in response to a 
particular set of initial motivations, but these decisions are 
frequently reassessed and reversed as the program progresses in 
response to new developments. While this finding provides hope 
for those who seek to reverse nuclear weapon programs, it also 
suggests that the international community can never ``rest on 
its laurels,'' trusting that a state has irreversibly turned 
its back on nuclear weapons. In other words, the U.S. can never 
declare victory in nonproliferation, either with regard to a 
particular country or a set of countries. Nonproliferation will 
have to remain a permanent fixture of U.S. policy. In the 
future, the increasing diffusion and availability of nuclear 
technology and know-how will make it easier for states to 
``dial up'' their nuclear weapons programs.
    Third, the ``drivers'' of a state's nuclear weapons program 
should not be viewed as constant. In other words, the 
motivations that catalyze a state's nuclear program probably 
differ from the motivations that help to sustain that nuclear 
program. The ``drivers'' propelling the program forward 
continue to evolve over time. Often, as a state's nuclear 
program develops, constituencies emerge, momentum builds, and 
people ``rally around'' the program. As a result, stopping a 
program that has already begun presents more of a challenge 
than preventing the onset of a program in the first place. Once 
leaders make the decision to pursue nuclear weapons and work 
begins, discontinuing the pursuit in the face of international 
pressure would promote an image of weakness that could likely 
result in political difficulties. Although the initial 
motivation may have had an overwhelmingly security-centric 
focus, the political desire to create a domestic and 
international image of strength may motivate the decision to 
continue nuclear weapons development.
    Fourth, due to its relative power and global influence, 
U.S. policy often has a strong influence on the decisionmaking 
of states regarding nuclear weapons. Whether the state 
represents a potential adversary or a consistent friend, 
policies of the U.S. often play a decisive role. With potential 
adversaries, U.S. respect and recognition, the extension of a 
nonaggression pact, or the credible promise of economic and 
political benefits can sometimes convince potential adversaries 
to ``rollback'' their nuclear weapons programs.
    U.S. policies have played an even more decisive role in 
dissuading allies from pursuing nuclear weapons by extending a 
reliable U.S. or U.S.-led security umbrella over the 
``vulnerable'' ally. Several countries began nuclear weapons 
programs and decided not to see these programs through to 
completion due in large degree to a U.S. or U.S.-led security 
guarantee. These countries include Australia, Italy, Norway, 
South Korea, and Taiwan.\8\ This is not to suggest that the 
U.S. security guarantee represented the only factor in the 
``rollback'' decision of these countries, but the extension of 
a reliable U.S. security umbrella appears to have influenced 
each state's ``rollback'' decision. In the cases of Germany and 
Japan, both countries can easily obtain nuclear weapons but 
have chosen not to because of their integration beneath a NATO 
(Germany) or an American (Japan) security umbrella.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\ Rebecca Hersman and Robert Peters, ``Nuclear U-Turns: Lessons 
From Rollback for Preventing Future Proliferation,'' Center for the 
Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction (National Defense University, 27 
June 2007).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Today, all of these countries have the technical capacity 
to obtain nuclear weapons in a matter of months or a few short 
years. Yet, they chose not to because of their respective cost-
benefit analyses. Pursuing nuclear weapons demands a large 
amount of finite money and other resources and could invite 
punishing international political pressure and economic 
sanctions. At the same time, little need exists to pursue such 
an undesirable policy because these countries do not view 
nuclear weapons as necessary for their national security. This 
belief derives primarily from the fact that these countries 
rest comfortably beneath a U.S. or U.S.-led security umbrella. 
If these countries ever begin to question the reliability of 
this security umbrella, they would almost certainly reassess 
past nuclear weapons decisions.
    One can envision three scenarios that could prompt such a 
``roll forward'' decision by U.S. allies and friends. In the 
first scenario, a state relying on a U.S. or U.S.-led security 
umbrella can begin to question the reliability of that 
guarantee due to an escalating perceived threat not matched by 
a proportional increase in the reliability or capability of the 
U.S. security guarantee. This relationship between threat 
perception and the perception of the U.S. security guarantee is 
more subjective and psychological than objective and 
quantifiable. Nonetheless, in a growing threat environment, a 
static U.S. security guarantee can lead to a reassessment of a 
state's nuclear decision. In the second scenario, states could 
also begin to question the reliability of the U.S. security 
guarantee in a static threat environment if the protected state 
perceives a decline in the capability or will of the U.S. to 
serve as a security guarantor. In the third and most 
problematic scenario, a mounting threat perception accompanied 
by a simultaneous perceived deterioration in the reliability of 
the U.S. security guarantee, creates the most intense incentive 
for a state to reassess its nuclear decision. In any of these 
three scenarios--an increase in the perceived threat, a 
decrease in the perceived reliability of U.S. security 
guarantee, or both--the result can be the same; the state looks 
elsewhere to defend itself. If another security guarantor can 
be found, the state may seek a new security relationship to 
replace the U.S. If a partner with both the capability and will 
to perform as a security guarantor does not exist, the state 
will seek to improve and expand its internal defense 
capabilities--likely via nuclear weapons.
    These broad historical observations and potential scenarios 
suggest U.S. policymakers should be concerned about recent 
developments in the Middle East. In the eyes of countries such 
as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey in particular, Iran's 
nuclear program has heightened threat perceptions, while the 
U.S. intervention in Iraq has damaged Arab and Turkish 
perceptions regarding the reliability of the U.S. security 
guarantee. As a result of this dangerous synergy, these three 
states in particular appear to be moving deliberately in the 
direction of a nuclear hedging strategy that would position 
them to obtain a nuclear weapons breakout capability in the 
next two decades. A Middle East populated by a Saudi, Egyptian, 
and/or Turkish nuclear weapons capability could dramatically 
reduce regional security and could significantly endanger U.S. 
interests. The U.S. must take in the next 2 to 3 years to 
reduce Arab and Turkish threat perceptions and to restore their 
confidence in the U.S. or U.S.-led security guarantee. Absent 
deliberate U.S. action in the next few years, the future Middle 
Eastern landscape may include a number of nuclear armed or 
nuclear weapons capable states vying for influence in a 
notoriously unstable region.

                        Chapter 3: Saudi Arabia

    The development of a Saudi nuclear weapon represents one of 
the most serious and most likely consequences of an Iranian 
acquisition of nuclear weapons. If Iran obtains a nuclear 
weapon, it will place tremendous pressure on Saudi Arabia to 
follow suit. The factor most likely to dissuade the Saudis from 
pursuing a nuclear weapon would be a restored United States-
Saudi bilateral relationship and a repaired Saudi perception 
regarding the reliability of the U.S. security guarantee. If 
the United States does not take deliberate action in the coming 
years to achieve both of these objectives, an Iranian bomb will 
almost certainly lead to a Saudi bomb.
    This chapter will support these arguments in five sections. 
The first section will describe the possible ramifications of a 
Saudi nuclear weapon. The second section will explore Saudi 
perceptions of Iran and the Iranian nuclear program. The third 
section will describe the nascent Saudi nuclear energy program. 
The fourth section will set out the arguments as to why an 
Iranian bomb will likely beget a Saudi nuclear weapon. This 
section will discuss the centrality of the United States 
security guarantee in Saudi thinking. The fifth section will 
suggest those policy actions that might help discourage the 
Saudis from pursuing a nuclear weapon.

                        THE WORST CASE SCENARIO

    Of any Middle Eastern state, Saudi Arabia is the state most 
likely to pursue nuclear weapons in response to the development 
of an Iranian nuclear weapon. While acknowledging the 
difficulty inherent in accurately predicting the ramifications 
of a Saudi nuclear weapon, one can envision a host of likely or 
possible outcomes that would dramatically undermine peace and 
stability in the Middle East and severely endanger U.S. 
interests and security. At some point in the Saudi process of 
developing or acquiring a nuclear weapon capability, Israel 
would likely detect the Saudi nuclear activity. Israel might 
strike a small number of Saudi targets in order to eliminate 
the program in its infancy. Even if the Saudis could obtain a 
nuclear weapon without Israeli knowledge, it is difficult to 
imagine a passive Israeli acceptance of a Saudi nuclear weapon, 
which the Israelis would likely view as an existential threat. 
If the Israeli response to a Saudi nuclear weapons program took 
the form of a military attack it would be seen in the Arab 
World in the context of an attack from the Jewish state against 
the Islamic holy land and home of the ``two holy mosques.'' 
Such an Israeli attack on Saudi Arabia would represent one of 
the greatest offenses to Muslims in history and would incite an 
unprecedented level of radicalization directed against Israel 
and the United States, possibly resulting in a regionwide 
conflict between Arab States and Israel.
    A Saudi nuclear weapon might also spur a regional nuclear 
arms race. Iran would likely respond by increasing the number 
of nuclear weapons in their arsenal, the accuracy of their 
delivery systems, and the variety of their launch platforms. If 
Israel took either of these steps--especially in an overt and 
explicit manner--it would place tremendous political pressure 
on Egypt to respond.\1\ The Egyptian response could consist of 
a renunciation of its peace treaty with Israel, a repudiation 
of its relations with the United States, or the initiation of 
an Egyptian nuclear weapons program. The Egyptian people would 
undoubtedly demand the government take some forceful and 
substantial action. This interaction between Israel and Egypt 
would also be exacerbated by the existence of a Saudi nuclear 
weapon.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ This report does not take a postition on the existence of 
Israeli nuclear weapons. Although Israel has not officially 
acknowledged it possesses nuclear weapons, a widespread consensus 
exists in the region and among experts in the United States that Israel 
possesses a number of nuclear weapons. For Israel's neighbors, this 
perception is more important than reality.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Even if Israel didn't react in this overt way to a Saudi 
move, a Saudi nuclear weapon would put great pressure on the 
Egyptians to follow suit. Egypt views itself as the leader of 
the Arab world and a Saudi nuclear weapon would directly 
challenge this self conception. Moreover, a Middle East that 
includes a nuclear-armed Iran and Saudi Arabia would also place 
significant pressure on the Turks to respond in kind. While 
this ``nuclear cascade'' or chain reaction may represent the 
worst case scenario, it is not outside the realm of possibility 
if Saudi Arabia responds to Iran by pursuing a nuclear weapon. 
While it is unlikely that such a nuclear cascade would unfold 
exactly in this manner, the odds that some of these 
developments may occur requires that the United States assess 
the likelihood that Saudi Arabia would pursue a nuclear weapon 
and take steps to decrease this likelihood.

       SAUDI PERCEPTIONS OF IRAN AND THE IRANIAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM

    If Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, the United States would 
be wise to immediately focus on the Saudi reaction. If Saudi 
Arabia demonstrates restraint and does not pursue nuclear 
weapons, it might be possible to forestall a regional nuclear 
arms cascade, thereby allowing the United States to focus on 
containing and potentially rolling back Iranian nuclear forces. 
Conversely, if Saudi Arabia does respond by pursuing nuclear 
weapons, this could well ignite a regional nuclear arms chain 
reaction as described above. This would also significantly 
reduce the likelihood that the international community could 
convince Iran to relinquish its nuclear weapons. Staff 
interviews confirm the findings of Rand researchers Dalia Dassa 
Kaye and Frederic Wehrey that ``Saudi Arabia's reaction is a 
leading concern among all regional states,'' and the ``Saudi 
reaction is likely to be the pivot around which inter-Arab 
debates resolve.'' \2\ Therefore, the United States must take 
note of what the Saudis say and what may influence their 
decision.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\ Dalia Dassa Kaye and Frederic M. Wehrey, ``A Nuclear Iran: The 
Reactions of Neighbors,'' Survival (Summer 2007).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
What the Saudis Are Saying
    When asked about the Iranian nuclear weapons program, 
senior and mid-level Saudi officials express an apparently 
unanimous belief among the upper-echelon of the Saudi 
Government that the Iranian nuclear program does not solely 
exist for peaceful purposes. One senior Saudi official told 
staff confidently, ``Iran is determined to get a nuclear 
weapon.'' While staff found a significant degree of doubt among 
other GCC states as to whether Iran was pursuing nuclear 
weapons, Saudi officials conveyed no sense of doubt regarding 
Iran's intentions. One senior, long-serving U.S. diplomat in 
Riyadh said he had ``never met anyone from the King on down who 
didn't think it was a nuclear weapons program.'' According to 
one senior Saudi official, the Saudis have even told the 
Iranians that the Saudi Arabian Government (SAG) believes Iran 
is pursuing a nuclear weapon.
    Saudi officials believe Iran wants a nuclear weapon in 
order to become a regional superpower, to alleviate a sense of 
marginalization, to serve as a deterrent, and to be a more 
dominant force in the Gulf. While senior Saudi officials 
describe a nuclear-armed Iran as ``an existential threat,'' 
most Saudi officials do not believe Iran would actually use 
nuclear weapons against Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia worries that 
Iranian nuclear weapons would encourage and enable the Iranians 
to pursue a more aggressive, hegemonic foreign policy in the 
region. However, it would be inaccurate to completely 
characterize SAG anxiety regarding Iranian nuclear weapons as 
purely a ``balance of power concern.'' Based largely on Iran's 
subversive activities directed against the Saudi regime in the 
1980s, some senior Saudi leaders find a nuclear-armed Iran 
especially disconcerting. Such past Iranian subversion efforts 
has imbued the senior Saudi leadership with an intense distrust 
of Tehran. Saudi Arabia currently fears Iranian influence, and 
finds the notion of a nuclear-armed Iran all the more 
disconcerting.
    When asked about the U.S. response to this apparent Iranian 
drive for nuclear weapons, Saudi officials encourage the United 
States to place greater emphasis on diplomatic initiatives, 
while opposing a quick resort to violence against Iran. Several 
senior Saudi officials appear to hope that stronger 
international sanctions, combined with face-saving means for 
the Iranians to change course, could resolve the nuclear 
crisis. When presented with a hypothetical choice between a 
nuclear-armed Iran and a U.S. attack, a significant number of 
Saudi officials interviewed explicitly or implicitly preferred 
a U.S. attack. A correlation seems to exist between the 
seniority of Saudi officials and views on Iranian nuclear 
weapons. More senior Saudi officials tended to be more 
``hawkish'' in their viewpoint toward Iran. Some key Saudi 
officials believe a U.S. attack could set the Iranian nuclear 
program back over a decade. More cautious members of the senior 
inner circle express concern that a military attack would 
affect ``everything and will not be easy to pull off,'' and 
doubt whether a U.S. attack could destroy all key components of 
the Iranian nuclear program. Based on U.S. actions in Iraq, 
some key Saudi officials feared a ``nightmare'' scenario in 
which the U.S. attacks Iran but fails to keep Iran from 
obtaining nuclear weapons.
    When asked if Saudi Arabia would pursue nuclear weapons in 
response to Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons, senior and 
mid-level Saudi leaders echo the official Saudi line, 
dismissing the notion as ``ridiculous'' and saying Saudi Arabia 
would be the ``last country to get nuclear weapons.'' Several 
senior Saudis suggest that Saudi Arabia would rather rely on a 
U.S. nuclear umbrella. However, when pressed, some senior Saudi 
officials candidly state that SAG would seek to obtain nuclear 
weapons or rely on a nuclear guarantee from Pakistan while 
simultaneously buying parts on the market. It is entirely 
possible that such statements simply represent an effort by the 
more hawkish members of the Saudi inner circle to promote a 
U.S. attack on Iran. However, too many other factors suggest 
Saudi Arabia would take these steps to dismiss these comments 
as disingenuous.
    While the senior members of the Saudi regime have an 
especially ``hawkish'' perspective on Iran, in a meeting with 
several members of the Majilis ash-Shura (the Saudi 
Parliament), staff found a perspective quite distinct from the 
opinions expressed by senior and mid-level officials of the 
Saudi regime. While these Majilis members have limited 
influence over the decisions of the Saudi government, their 
views provide some insight into viewpoints outside the royal 
family. This group of Majilis members unanimously questioned 
the reliability of U.S. claims that Iran was pursuing nuclear 
weapons (this meeting took place before the 2007 NIE), 
dismissed the threat posed by Iran, and opposed a U.S. attack 
on Iran. One Majilis member appeared to summarize the consensus 
view saying ``Haven't we had enough wars . . . war is not in 
the interest of anyone.'' Another member predicted that a U.S. 
attack on Iran would cause the Shia to ``stand with Iran'' and 
would cause the Sunni to hate America even more. Members 
unanimously decried a perceived U.S. double standard when it 
comes to Israel and Iran, asking why the United States turns a 
blind eye to alleged Israeli nuclear weapons while opposing the 
alleged Iranian nuclear weapons program. Members unanimously 
supported Iran's pursuit of nuclear energy and questioned why 
the United States would talk directly and unconditionally with 
the North Koreans, but would not do so with Iran.
Saudi Arabia and Iran: The Sunni-Shia Dimension
    While much of the Saudi perspective toward Iran and the 
Iranian nuclear program can be understood from a traditional 
security and balance of power perspective, a complete 
understanding of the Saudi viewpoint requires an appreciation 
of the sectarian dimension as well. Despite public diplomatic 
niceties exchanged between the two powers, Saudi officials view 
Iran as a ``global ideological threat'' and a dangerous 
potential adversary. The Saudis base their view on 3,000 years 
of history and the events of the last few decades. However, a 
large portion of the Saudi perception of Iran is rooted in 
sectarianism. The Saudis view the Iranian threat at least 
partly through a Sunni-Shia lens.
    If Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, the Saudis will, to a 
large extent, view it as a ``Shia bomb.'' The Sunni-Shia divide 
would represent a major incentive for the Saudis to respond to 
an Iranian nuclear weapon by pursuing one of their own. To 
understand how this Muslim religious divide could play a role 
in the Saudi nuclear decision, it is essential to have at least 
a cursory understanding of the sectarian differences between 
Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as the Saudi regime's relations 
with the Saudi Shia and Iran.
    The sectarian differences between Iran and Saudi Arabia 
represent one of the central causes of the tensions between the 
two countries. Religious ideology plays a large role in 
informing Saudi foreign policy and would likely represent a key 
aspect in the Saudi decision on nuclear weapons. The Iranian 
population is 89 percent Shia and only 9 percent Sunni.\3\ A 
Shia religious hierarchy headed by Supreme Leader Sayyid Ali 
Khamenei controls the reins of power in Iran and views itself 
as the spiritual vanguard and shepherd of Shia worldwide. In 
contrast, Saudi Arabia is overwhelmingly Sunni, with a Saudi 
Shia population of only 10-15 percent.\4\. The Saudi royal 
family is Sunni and has maintained a long alliance with the 
leadership of a particularly strident wing of Sunni Islam 
founded by Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\ ``Iran,'' CIA Factbook. https://www.cia.gov/library/
publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ir.html
#People.
    \4\ ``Freedom in the World 2007: The Annual Survey of Political 
Rights and Civil Liberties'' (Rowman and Littlefield: Lanham, 2007) 
687.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This form of Wahhabi Islam has dominated Saudi Arabia since 
the nation's founding. It views the Shia as rafida (those who 
reject the faith). This religious classification of the Saudi 
Shia later served as justification for Ibn Saud's decision to 
enforce the payment of jizya (an Islamic tax imposed on non-
Muslims) against the Shia residing in the eastern province of 
Saudi Arabia.\5\ As a result of this widespread view of the 
Shia as pseudo-Muslims or non-Muslims, the Shia in Saudi Arabia 
have suffered from a severe lack of religious freedom and civil 
rights. To complicate matters for the Saudi regime, the 
concentration of Shia in Saudi Arabia happens to be colocated 
with Saudi Arabia's major oil fields. As the Saudi oil industry 
matured, an increasing number of Saudi Shia transitioned from 
working on farms to working in menial jobs in the burgeoning 
oil industry in Saudi Arabia's eastern provinces. In 1950, it 
is estimated that 60 percent of ARAMCO employees were Shia. 
According to a senior U.S. diplomat in Saudi Arabia, that 
number now stands at roughly 70 percent. While King Abdullah 
has taken steps to improve the plight of Shia in Saudi Arabia, 
staff meetings with various members of the Saudi Shia community 
clearly demonstrate that a widespread perception of inequality 
persists among Saudi Shia. This Shia predominance in ARAMCO and 
in the vicinity of the oil wells that represent the well-spring 
of Saudi wealth and power represents a major source of concern 
and potential vulnerability for the Saudi regime.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\ Madawi al-Rasheed, ``A History of Saudi Arabia'' (Cambridge 
University Press: Cambridge, 2002) 41, 89.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The domestic tensions between the Saudi regime and the 
Saudi Shia impact Saudi-Iranian relations and would influence 
the Saudi decision on nuclear weapons due to a number of 
specific events in the last few decades. The 1979 Iranian 
Revolution had a profound impact on Saudi Arabia's sense of 
insecurity and its perception of the Saudi Shia. As already 
detailed, the House of Saud's insecurities did not just appear 
in 1979, and tensions between the Sunni ruling family and the 
Saudi Shia date to the birth of the Saudi state. However, the 
1979 Iranian Revolution dramatically exacerbated both of these 
problems. The new Iranian regime questioned the Islamic 
credentials of the Saudi regime, criticized the Saudi regime's 
relations with the United States, and emboldened the Shia 
residing in Saudi Arabia. In 1979, encouraged by the Iranian 
Revolution, the Saudi Shia took to the streets in Saudi 
Arabia's eastern provinces to commemorate Ashura--a Shia rite 
outlawed by the Saudi regime that mourns the death of Hasan and 
Husayn. The Saudi regime responded by dispatching 20,000 
National Guard soldiers. The following year, the Saudi Shia 
held large demonstrations and a series of strikes in Qatif to 
commemorate the first anniversary of Khomeini's return to 
Iran.\6\ The Saudi National Guard responded aggressively, 
killing some demonstrators and dispersing the rest. Following 
these uprisings, the Organization of the Islamic Revolution 
developed. This clandestine Shia organization representing the 
Saudi Shia in the eastern province was comprised primarily of 
students from the University of Minerals and Petroleum in 
Dammam and workers in the oil fields. This organization 
broadcasted from Iranian radio stations in an attempt to reach 
the Saudi Shia and opened an information office in Tehran to 
promote political activism among the Saudi Shia.\7\ The anti-
Saudi rhetoric of the Iranian Government promoted agitation 
among Saudi Shia and escalated tensions between Iran and Saudi 
Arabia.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\ Ibid, 143-147.
    \7\ Ibid, 147.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    When war broke out between Iran and Iraq in 1980, Saudi 
Arabia sided with Sunni-led Iraq against the Shia-dominated 
Iran. Saudi Arabia felt threatened by both states. Both Iran 
and Iraq had larger populations and more powerful militaries 
than Saudi Arabia. Saddam Hussein's efforts to promote pan-
Arabism and Iran's attempt to export its form of Islamic 
revolution threatened the Saudi regime. However, Saudi Arabia 
provided an estimated $25.7 billion in aid to Iraq because 
Saudi Arabia saw Iran's export of Shia Islamic revolution as 
the greater of the two threats.
    As the Iran-Iraq war continued throughout the 1980s, the 
annual pilgrimage to Mecca for the Hajj became another source 
of religiously grounded tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran. 
Each year, thousands of Iranians made the trip to Mecca to 
participate in this important Muslim tradition. While in Saudi 
Arabia, many Iranian pilgrims would organize demonstrations and 
denounce the Saudi regime for its relations with the United 
States. Clashes between the Iranian pilgrims and Saudi security 
forces became a regular fixture of the annual pilgrimage to 
Mecca during the decade. In 1987, major clashes occurred 
between the Saudi security forces and protesting pilgrims in 
which 400 people were killed, including 275 Iranians.\8\ After 
this incident, tensions mounted dramatically between the 
Iranian regime and the Saudi Government, with the Iranian 
leadership calling for the ouster of the Saudi royal family. 
The Saudi regime responded to the hostile Iranian rhetoric and 
suspected incidents of Iranian sabotage and subversion by 
introducing a quota system partly intended to reduce the number 
of Iranian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj. While 
Saudi Arabia and Iran enjoyed a period of detente in the 1990s, 
the Sunni-Shia animosities and insecurity still continue to 
resonate deeply in the thinking of the Saudi regime. This Saudi 
history with Iran and the Saudi Shia has imbued the Saudi 
ruling family with a deep skepticism regarding the intentions 
of the Iranians and the loyalty of some Saudi Shia. This 
troubled past with Iran and the Saudi Shia figures prominently 
in Saudi thinking and would significantly shape the Saudi 
response to an Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapon.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\ Michael Ross, ``Gulf Supply Ship Hits Mine; Sinks Another; 
Blast Rocks Saudi Plant on Coast; Iranian Sabotage Hinted,'' The Los 
Angeles Times (Aug. 16, 1987).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                    THE SAUDI NUCLEAR ENERGY PROGRAM

    In December 2006, Saudi Arabia joined the five other 
members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to announce their 
intention to explore the development of a shared nuclear power 
program. These six countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, 
Saudi Arabia, and the UAE) join Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, and 
Turkey as countries who have expressed interest in developing 
nuclear energy programs in the wake of Iran's nuclear 
activities. The GCC states have taken great pains to cooperate 
with the IAEA fully and to progress in a transparent manner. At 
the initial announcement, the Saudi Foreign Minister said, 
``This is not a secret and we are doing this out in the open. 
Our aim is to obtain the technology for peaceful purposes, no 
more no less.'' \9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\ Abdullah Shihri and Diana Elias, ``Arab States Study Shared 
Nuclear Program,'' Associated Press (Dec. 11, 2006).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Despite these assurances, numerous individuals interviewed 
by staff expressed a belief that the GCC announcement should be 
seen primarily as a response to Iran's nuclear program. 
Analysts and scholars in the United States and the Arab world 
interviewed by staff believe the Saudi-led announcement was 
intended to communicate to the Iranians, ``we can play this 
game too,'' while building a foundation of nuclear knowledge 
and expertise that would be useful should Saudi Arabia decide 
to pursue nuclear weapons in the future.
    This is not to suggest the Saudis do not have an energy-
based argument for their interest in nuclear energy. According 
to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Saudi Arabia's 
Water and Electricity Ministry (WEM) predicts that the 
country's electricity demand will double by the years 2023-25. 
Saudi Arabia already uses large amounts of its oil for domestic 
energy needs. In fact, 7 years ago, 16 of every 100 barrels of 
Saudi oil were consumed in Saudi Arabia. This year the amount 
of Saudi oil consumed in-country has grown to 22 of every 100 
barrels, even as the global oil market has become tighter. As 
the Saudis seek to build an industrial infrastructure and 
employ more Saudis, consumption demands will continue to 
grow.\10\ Given the high price of oil and gas, the Saudis would 
rather export their fossil fuels than burn them. A nuclear 
power capacity would allow the Saudis to export more oil and 
gas and consume less. However, the timing and the forum for the 
Saudi-led announcement suggests the primary purpose of the 
decision was to warn the Iranians and begin the process of a 
nuclear-hedging strategy that will keep Saudi Arabia's nuclear 
options open.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \10\ Neil King, ``Saudi Industrial Drive Strains Oil-Export Role,'' 
Wall Street Journal (Dec. 12, 2007).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This does not mean that Saudi Arabia and the other GCC 
states will have a nuclear power generation capability in the 
next 5 years. Since the December 2006 announcement, several 
rounds of GCC meetings have been held, but little tangible 
progress appears to have been made. In the case of the GCC 
states, tangible progress toward a nuclear energy program lags 
far behind the political rhetoric and ambition. In other words, 
a shared GCC nuclear power generation capacity remains at least 
a decade in the future if not longer. Most of the government 
individuals interviewed by staff in the GCC seem to be unaware 
of the magnitude of the task involved in developing a nuclear 
power program.
    Nonetheless, the GCC rhetoric, and especially the Saudi 
rhetoric, should be considered as more than mere political 
positioning. A genuine desire to develop a nuclear power 
program exists in the Middle East. This desire appears to be 
partially motivated by energy considerations and mostly 
motivated by a desire to match the Iranian nuclear program and 
to keep options open regarding nuclear weapons. If current 
trends continue, U.S. decisionmakers should expect to see a GCC 
nuclear power generation capacity within the next two decades.
    While this development may be unwelcome to many U.S. 
observers, the U.S. Government has supported the GCC 
expressions of interest in nuclear energy. As the GCC program 
progresses, the United States should monitor closely the degree 
to which the GCC states cooperate with the IAEA and whether 
these states express an interest in enrichment or reprocessing.

                 WILL THE SAUDIS SEEK A NUCLEAR WEAPON?

    One of the central questions staff attempted to answer 
throughout this study was whether Saudi Arabia would respond to 
an Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapon by pursuing a weapon 
as well. In addition to the responses detailed above from Saudi 
Government officials, staff interviewed a large number of U.S. 
officials and Saudi scholars in Saudi Arabia, as well as a 
significant number of U.S. scholars in Washington. While 
responses varied, virtually every person interviewed by staff 
believed that Saudi Arabia would be the country most likely to 
pursue a nuclear weapon in response to an Iranian bomb. 
Significant disagreement existed regarding the Saudi's final 
decision, as well as their capability to obtain a nuclear 
weapon, but almost all individuals agreed that the United 
States should monitor Saudi Arabia, specifically. One senior 
U.S. diplomat said a Saudi nuclear weapon would be the ``real 
downside'' of an Iranian nuclear weapon, predicting that a 
Saudi pursuit of a nuclear weapon would be ``virtually 
certain.'' Referring to the Saudis, another senior U.S. 
diplomat with excellent access to the highest levels of the 
Saudi Government said that the idea of an Iranian nuclear 
weapon ``frightens them to their core'' and would lead the 
Saudis to pursue a nuclear weapon of their own. Some 
acknowledged these Saudi fears, but argued that the importance 
of the bilateral relationship with the United States would 
dissuade the Saudis from pursuing a nuclear weapon.
    Most individuals interviewed argue that any future Saudi 
decision regarding nuclear weapons would be primarily based 
upon the Saudi assessment of the reliability of the U.S. 
security guarantee. If the Saudis believe the United States 
lacks the will or capability to defend Saudi Arabia against a 
nuclear-armed Iran, Saudi Arabia is more likely to pursue a 
nuclear weapons capability of its own. To appreciate the 
importance of U.S. security guarantees in Saudi strategic 
thinking, it is necessary to briefly review the history of 
United States-Saudi relations.
    Since the creation of Saudi Arabia in 1932, the Saudi 
regime has harbored a deep sense of vulnerability to foreign 
invasion or attack due to a number of factors. The vast, 
sparsely populated country of Saudi Arabia has vulnerable 
borders and coastlines along with the world's largest reserve 
of oil. These factors, combined with the traditional weakness 
of the Saudi military and the frequently tense relations with 
its neighbors, compelled the Saudis to seek and maintain a 
security relationship with a trustworthy foreign power. In 
February 1945, the Kingdom's founder, Ibn Abdul Aziz al-Saud, 
reached out to Franklin Roosevelt and the United States to 
forge a strategic relationship. The strategic relationship that 
evolved over the next 55 years essentially revolved around a 
simple agreement: Saudi Arabia would provide the United States 
and the international community with a reliable source of oil, 
and in return, the United States would support the Saudi regime 
and guarantee Saudi Arabia's security. To be sure, between 1945 
and 2001, the threats to the Saudi ruling family changed, and 
the strength of the United States-Saudi bilateral relationship 
waxed and waned, but this grand strategic pact remained 
essentially in tact.
    The events of September 11, 2001, directly challenged the 
United States-Saudi strategic relationship. The fact that 15 of 
the 19 hijackers had Saudi backgrounds significantly increased 
anti-Saudi popular animosity in the United States. The Saudi 
regime was simultaneously embarrassed that its citizens had 
committed such an act and dismayed by what it perceived to be 
the unjustified and vitriolic response of many Americans toward 
Saudi Arabia. The Saudi regime believed Americans should have 
differentiated between ``a few bad apples'' and the majority of 
the Saudi people and the Saudi regime. While one can question 
the degree of Saudi commitment against al-Qaeda prior to the 
2003 al-Qaeda bombings in Riyadh, those bombings marked a 
significant turning point for the Saudi regime. These 2003 
bombings eliminated any lingering doubt in the Saudi regime as 
to whether al-Qaeda represented a threat to the Saudi ruling 
family. As a result, since 2003, the Saudis have taken 
comprehensive steps to defeat al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia and to 
cooperate with U.S.-led international efforts to curtail al-
Qaeda's international financing and identify members of al-
Qaeda. As one senior U.S. diplomat in Saudi Arabia explained, 
in the wake of the 2003 al-Qaeda bombings in Saudi Arabia, the 
Saudi security forces engaged in running street battles with 
al-Qaeda and have subsequently made great strides in 
confronting al-Qaeda in the Kingdom.
Iraq and Saudi Perceptions of the U.S. Security Guarantee
    While the U.S. security guarantee will play a central role 
in Saudi Arabia's nuclear decisionmaking, according to numerous 
individuals interviewed, the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the 
manner in which United States has conducted the Iraq war since 
2003 eroded Saudi perceptions of U.S. political wisdom and 
military capability. The Saudis believe the U.S. performance in 
Iraq, and the manner in which U.S. decisions were made, have 
dramatically increased Iranian influence in Iraq, unnerving the 
Saudis and reducing the reservoir of trust the United States 
built up in Saudi Arabia during Operations Desert Shield and 
Desert Storm in 1990-91. While the Saudis strongly supported 
the 2007 U.S. ``surge'' in Iraq and welcomed the U.S. strategy 
to work with Sunni tribal leaders to establish order and oppose 
al-Qaeda, these steps have not fully remedied the significant 
loss of U.S. credibility. Saudi frustration with U.S. actions 
in Iraq and a perceived failure of the Bush administration to 
listen to Saudi counsel have reached such a threshold that King 
Abdullah often refuses to discuss Iraq with visiting senior 
U.S. officials. The Saudis want the United States to commit 
whatever number of soldiers and resources necessary to achieve 
success in Iraq. The Saudis define success in Iraq as a durable 
end-state that consists of a peaceful, stable, and unified Iraq 
ruled by an Iraqi regime that fully incorporates Iraq's Sunnis, 
adamantly opposes Iranian meddling in Iraq, and assiduously 
seeks peaceful relations with its neighbors. As U.S. 
decisionmakers debate U.S. policy in Iraq, they should fully 
appreciate the second-order effects that the outcome in Iraq 
will have on United States-Saudi relations and U.S. efforts to 
prevent a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
Anticipating the Counter Arguments
    Those who believe Saudi Arabia would not respond to an 
Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons by pursuing a weapon of 
its own usually emphasize one of three arguments. The first 
argument suggests the value the Saudis place on their 
relationship with the United States would dissuade them from 
taking a nuclear decision that would severely damage their most 
important bilateral relationship. Undoubtedly, Saudi Arabia 
values its relationship with the United States. The United 
States has served as Saudi Arabia's most important security 
guarantor since 1945. However, Saudi Arabia values its 
relationship with the United States because the United States 
has served Saudi Arabia's interests. If Saudi Arabia comes to 
believe the United States can not or will not protect the 
Kingdom and its core interests, the Saudi regime will not 
hesitate to develop the independent means to deter its enemies. 
The fact that no state can fully replace the United States as 
Saudi Arabia's security guarantor for the next two decades will 
shape Saudi decisionmaking. If the United States does not take 
assertive steps now to restore Saudi faith in the U.S. security 
guarantee, this fact will increase the likelihood that the 
Saudis will respond to a perceived decline in the reliability 
of U.S. security guarantees and the emergence of an Iranian 
nuclear threat by pursuing an independent nuclear deterrent.
    The second argument frequently cited as to why the Saudis 
would not pursue nuclear weapons relates to the character of 
the regime. Some argue the Saudi regime is too conservative, 
too timid to take such a bold and controversial step. However, 
the Saudi regime's undoubtedly conservative and occasionally 
timid approach to foreign relations has not kept Saudi Arabia 
from taking covert and controversial measures in the past in 
order to protect its interests. The Saudi acquisition of 50-60 
CSS-2 missiles, 10-15 mobile launchers, and technical support 
from China at a cost of about $3 to $3.5 billion in the late 
1980s provides a preeminent example.\11\ These missiles, which 
represent some of the longest-range missiles in the world, were 
acquired by the Saudis after the U.S. decision not to sell the 
Saudis surface to surface missiles.\12\ This Saudi move 
apparently reflected anything but a conservative or timid 
approach. Apparently conducted without the knowledge of Israel 
or the United States, General Khaled bin Sultan, who served as 
commander of Arab forces during Desert Shield and Desert Storm 
and who oversaw the Saudi acquisition of the Chinese missiles, 
visited China four times to close the deal. Detailing his 
responsibilities, he said:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\ Richard L. Russell, Weapons Proliferation and War in the 
Greater Middle East (Routledge: New York, 2005) 114.
    \12\ James A. Russell, ``Saudi Arabia in the Twenty-First Century: 
A New Security Calculus?'' Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction 
in the Middle East, Edited by James A. Russell (Palgrave Macmillan: New 
York, 2006) 121.

          My task was to negotiate the deal, devise an 
        appropriate deception plan, choose a team of Saudi 
        officers and men and arrange for their training in both 
        Saudi Arabia and China, build and defend operation 
        bases and storage facilities in different parts of the 
        Kingdom, arrange for the shipment of the missiles from 
        China and, at every stage, be ready to defend the 
        project against sabotage or any other form of 
        attack.\13\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\ Richard L. Russell, Weapons Proliferation and War in the 
Greater Middle East (Routledge: New York, 2005) 113.

    The Saudis have denied U.S. requests for an onsite 
inspection of the missiles. Responding to such a request, Saudi 
Defense Minister Prince and now Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdel 
Aziz al-Saud said, ``Many people think that we're dependent on 
the United States for arms, and even say we're subservient to 
American policy. The acquisition of Chinese missiles proves the 
opposite.'' \14\ In short, the Saudi acquisition of the Chinese 
CSS-2 missiles in the late 1980s strongly suggests that the 
Saudis are willing to bypass or risk alienating the United 
States in order to protect Saudi interests.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \14\ Ibid, 114.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The third argument often cited to suggest that Saudi Arabia 
would not pursue nuclear weapons relates to Saudi Arabia's 
nuclear technology capabilities. There exists a relatively 
strong consensus regarding the immature state of Saudi Arabia's 
nuclear technology infrastructure. Saudi Arabia lacks the human 
expertise and the technical knowledge necessary to develop a 
nuclear weapons program on its own. Experts consistently 
describe Saudi Arabia's nuclear infrastructure and know how as 
far inferior to Egypt and Turkey.
    Notwithstanding these apparent facts, observers should not 
underestimate Saudi Arabia's ability to obtain the technology 
required. Many scholars and U.S. diplomats believe Saudi Arabia 
may have some sort of formal or informal understanding with 
Pakistan regarding nuclear weapons. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia 
have common interests and complementary assets. Pakistan has a 
nuclear capability and limited money, while Saudi Arabia has no 
nuclear capability and virtually unlimited money. While no 
solid evidence exists to confirm the formalization of such an 
agreement, some circumstantial evidence suggests an agreement 
or ``understanding'' may exist. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, both 
primarily Sunni countries, both have a history of tense 
relations with Iran. Also, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan enjoy a 
long history of military cooperation. In fact, Pakistani 
deployed troops to Saudi soil from 1979 to 1987, and the two 
countries cooperated extensively in the 1980s to fight the 
Soviet troops occupying Afghanistan. Furthermore, then-Crown 
Prince Abdullah visited Pakistan a few months after Pakistan's 
1998 nuclear tests, raising some eyebrows.\15\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \15\ Thomas W. Lippman, ``Saudi Arabia: The Calculations of 
Uncertainty,'' The Nuclear Tipping Point: Why States Reconsider Their 
Nuclear Choices. Edited by Kurt M. Campbell, et al. (Brookings 
Institution Press: Washington, DC, 2004).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    None of this proves the existence of a nuclear 
understanding between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, but if such an 
agreement exists, the transfer could manifest itself in four 
different forms. First, in the eventuality of an Iranian 
acquisition of nuclear weapons, the Pakistanis could transfer 
nuclear technology or materials to the Saudis. This transfer 
could jump-start the Saudi nuclear program and would 
dramatically reduce the time between a Saudi political decision 
to move forward on nuclear weapons and the Saudi development of 
a nuclear weapons capability. This transfer could take place at 
the official government to government level or at the 
subnational level, reminiscent of the A.Q. Kahn network. 
Pakistan could also deploy Pakistani nuclear forces to Saudi 
Arabia. This scenario may not incur the same international 
condemnation of the other two options and arguably would not 
violate the NPT.
    A third option might take the form of a Pakistani nuclear 
umbrella over Saudi Arabia utilizing missiles in Pakistan. The 
Pakistani transfer of a finished nuclear weapon to Saudi Arabia 
represents the fourth, and probably the least viable, option. 
As a general rule, the contemporary popular discussion of these 
options underestimates the difficulty of transferring nuclear 
weapons and the construction of a nuclear weapon. While 
adoption of this last option may be unlikely, a transfer of 
nuclear technology, a stationing of Pakistani nuclear forces in 
Saudi Arabia, or a Pakistani nuclear umbrella over Saudi Arabia 
would be quite plausible.
    Therefore, based on this analysis, an Iranian acquisition 
of a nuclear weapon would place extraordinary pressure on the 
Saudis to follow suit. If the United States does not take 
deliberate steps in the next few years to improve United 
States-Saudi relations and restore Saudi trust in the U.S. 
security guarantee, Saudi Arabia could respond to an Iranian 
bomb by obtaining one of its own or seeking some sort of 
security understanding with Pakistan. The following steps would 
help reduce the likelihood of such a response.

                         POLICY CONSIDERATIONS

   Reiterate U.S. Policy Regarding Nuclear Weapons. The 
        United States needs to clarify and communicate its 
        policies and attitudes toward nuclear weapons 
        proliferation. Traditional U.S. policy toward nuclear 
        proliferation essentially stated that no nuclear 
        proliferation was acceptable or desirable. However, in 
        recent years, some U.S. Government statements and 
        policies have promoted an international perception that 
        America tolerates nuclear proliferation among its 
        friends, but not among its enemies. In Saudi Arabia, a 
        few scholars and government officials half-jokingly 
        predicted to staff that the United States would end up 
        encouraging Saudi Arabia to obtain nuclear weapons in 
        response to an Iranian bomb. Therefore, the United 
        States should deliberately and explicitly clarify its 
        attitudes regarding a potential Saudi nuclear weapons 
        program. The U.S. should not wait for Iran to cross the 
        nuclear threshold before taking this step. The United 
        States should privately reiterate in an unambiguous 
        manner that its interests would not be served by a 
        Saudi nuclear weapons program.

   Understanding the Relationship Between a Peaceful 
        and Stable Iraq and the Credibility of any U.S. 
        Security Guarantee to the Saudis. The step most likely 
        to dissuade the Saudis from pursuing a nuclear weapon 
        in response to an Iranian bomb would be a strong and 
        tangible reiteration of the U.S. security guarantee. 
        The degree to which the Saudis would be willing to 
        trust these U.S. security assurances will be affected 
        by the outcome in Iraq. As detailed above, U.S. 
        missteps in Iraq have seriously shaken Saudi confidence 
        in the wisdom of U.S. decisionmakers and the 
        capabilities of the U.S. military. As U.S. 
        decisionmakers debate U.S. policy in Iraq, they should 
        fully appreciate the second-order effects that the 
        outcome in Iraq will have on United States-Saudi 
        relations and U.S. efforts to prevent a nuclear arms 
        race in the Middle East.

   Fix the Non-Immigrant Visas (NIV) Problem. Between 
        fiscal year 2000 and 2004, the number of U.S. 
        nonimmigrant visas issued in Saudi Arabia declined 80 
        percent, from 78,599 to 16,070. For fiscal year 2007, 
        the number was 32,909, only 41 percent of the pre-9/11 
        amount. (See Appendix 2) \16\ From a security and 
        homeland defense perspective, one can appreciate the 
        need for a significant reduction in the number of NIVs 
        issued to Saudis immediately after 9/11. The events of 
        that day demanded a thorough review of U.S. policy and 
        procedures to ensure the United States could filter out 
        the small number of Saudis with bad intentions from the 
        large pool of Saudis who wish to come to the United 
        States to study, vacation, and do business. However, 
        more than 5 years later, the number of U.S.-issued NIVs 
        remains at less than 50 percent of pre-9/11 levels.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \16\ Bureau of Consular Affairs, Department of State. These numbers 
include all visas issued in Saudi Arabia, some of which are non-Saudi 
citizens. However, Saudis represented the large majority of these 
visas. The 2007 number is only through December 15th.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
      A surprising number of current Saudi leaders have 
        attended university in the United States. This past 
        accessibility for Saudis to the United States has led 
        to a government, business, and military elite in Saudi 
        Arabia which generally speak English and view America 
        positively. This common language and common experience 
        with U.S. officials represents an intangible--yet 
        vitally important--factor that promotes strong ties 
        between the United States and Saudi Arabia and helps 
        secure U.S. interests. In meeting after meeting in 
        Riyadh, staff encountered senior Saudi officials, 
        businesspeople, and military officers who, based on 
        their undergraduate, graduate, or military studies in 
        the United States, spoke fluent English and thought 
        well of America and Americans. In one meeting, staff 
        met with a senior member of the Saudi military who had 
        spent years attending U.S. military schools, including 
        the U.S. Army War College. As a result of this 
        experience, the officer spoke fluent English, held 
        progressive viewpoints, and joked that he considered 
        himself as much American as Saudi. It is difficult to 
        overestimate the value of having such an individual at 
        the senior decisionmaking level within the Saudi 
        military.
      Since 9/11, the inability of many Saudis to obtain NIVs 
        has resulted in a major shift in this valuable dynamic. 
        Making matters worse, seemingly every Saudi either has 
        or claims to know someone who has a ``horror story'' 
        about his own post 9/11 treatment at U.S. airports. 
        This has resulted in an increasing number of Saudi 
        students, businesspeople, and military officers who 
        either cannot come or do not want to come to the United 
        States to study or conduct business. (See Appendix 3) 
        Instead, this next generation of Saudi leaders will 
        either stay in Saudi Arabia or go elsewhere. At one 
        meeting, staff met a highly successful Saudi 
        businessman who said that he and many of his fellow 
        Saudi businessmen were no longer willing to travel to 
        the United States. As a result, these Saudi 
        businesspeople will only sign contracts with non-U.S. 
        companies, or when a U.S.-based company is involved, 
        the Saudis insist that the contract contain a clause 
        that states that all meetings must be held outside of 
        the United States.
      Other countries are taking advantage of the U.S. failure 
        to fix its visa-related problems. According to U.S. 
        Embassy personnel in Riyadh, the British issue 98 
        percent of their NIVs in 48 hours and even go to the 
        homes of Saudis to facilitate the process. In contrast, 
        U.S. Embassy officials in Riyadh report that the CEO of 
        Saudi ARAMCO waited months for a visa to visit the 
        United States. The British officials, unlike some of 
        their American counterparts, understand the long-term 
        ramification of NIVs on their bilateral relations with 
        Saudi Arabia. In short, unless the United States fixes 
        its NIV--issuance process, the next generation of 
        Saudis will increasingly look elsewhere to attend 
        school and do business. This somewhat intangible short-
        term impediment will have increasingly tangible long-
        term consequences for U.S. strategic relations with a 
        country that sits on top of the world's largest reserve 
        of oil. While never losing sight of the central 
        responsibility to protect Americans, the United States 
        needs to increase the number of NIVs issued to Saudis 
        and reduce the waiting period.

   Cooperate With the Saudis on Nuclear Energy. From a 
        security and counterterrorism perspective, a Middle 
        East devoid of nuclear power plants is preferable to a 
        Middle East dotted with them. However, if the 
        governments of the region are determined to pursue 
        nuclear power--and staff believes they are--the United 
        States can do little to stop them. If the U.S. and U.S. 
        companies do not work with the states of the Middle 
        East in developing their nuclear energy programs, other 
        countries will step in to take America's place. If 
        countries such as Saudi Arabia are determined to pursue 
        nuclear energy, the U.S. and U.S. companies should 
        immediately offer to help them. By having American 
        nuclear energy companies--instead of Russian, French, 
        or Chinese companies--working with Saudi Arabia, the 
        United States secures several advantages. First, the 
        U.S. Government can work with U.S. companies to ensure 
        the Saudi nuclear power plants incorporate the best 
        quality safeguards possible. Second, the involvement of 
        U.S. companies provides the U.S. Government a degree of 
        indirect oversight that helps ensure a peaceful nuclear 
        program remains that way. Finally, the involvement of 
        U.S. companies represents another way to solidify the 
        bilateral relationship with the country that controls 
        the world's largest reserve of oil.

   Mind the Succession. King Abdullah, the current 
        ruler of Saudi Arabia, was born in 1920. The next 
        family member in line to take the throne, Crown Prince 
        Sultan, was born in 1928. While Saudi Arabia appears to 
        have taken some steps to ease the impending succession, 
        the country will likely endure significant turmoil in 
        the next decade or so when both of these individuals 
        pass away. These individuals, and a small group loyal 
        to them, retain a veto over any nuclear decision. In a 
        decade, it is not difficult to imagine a different 
        ruler in Saudi Arabia with different thinking regarding 
        nuclear weapons. With that said, most of the dynamics 
        detailed in this chapter would influence future Saudi 
        rulers as well as current ones.

   Address Saudi ``Releasability'' Concerns. During the 
        staffs research in Saudi Arabia, one of the most 
        consistent concerns related to the ``releasability'' of 
        U.S. weapons. This term refers to the process in which 
        a U.S. company and a U.S. administration attempt to 
        sell U.S. weapons to the Saudis. Congress has an 
        oversight role in these sales and has the right to 
        delay or block any sales it perceives as counter to 
        U.S. interests. Often these concerns have revolved 
        around a desire to maintain Israel's qualitative 
        military advantage. In other words, American policy has 
        consistently attempted to ensure that Israel--America's 
        close friend in the region--maintained a qualitative 
        military advantage over its Arab neighbors given the 
        history of Arab-Israeli war and conflict.
      Regardless of the specific Iranian threat to Saudi Arabia 
        or the current inventory of Saudi weapons, U.S. arms 
        sales to Saudi Arabia serve three primary purposes: 
        First, the arms sales to Saudi Arabia represent a 
        tangible symbol to the Saudis of the U.S. security 
        guarantee. When the United States responds positively 
        to Saudi weapons requests, it provides visible 
        confirmation of the U.S. security guarantee. On the 
        other hand, if the United States is not willing to sell 
        Saudi Arabia many weapons systems, this negatively 
        impacts the Saudi perception of United States 
        reliability.
      Second, selling U.S. weapons systems to Saudi Arabia 
        represents much more than a single business 
        transaction. When the United States sells a fighter, 
        tank, or other high-dollar weapons system to a foreign 
        country the benefit is much greater than a financial 
        windfall for a U.S. company. A logistical, maintenance, 
        and training package that usually extends for the life 
        of the system almost always accompanies the weapon 
        system. In other words, when the United States sells a 
        weapons system to a foreign country, it secures a 20-
        year relationship that helps cement the bilateral 
        relationship.
      Third, selling U.S. weapons to America's allies and 
        friends enables the future interoperability of U.S. 
        military forces and the forces of the nation that 
        purchases American hardware. Either now or in the 
        future, if the United States seeks to create a seamless 
        defense network with friendly and allied nations, 
        common weapons systems greatly facilitate this 
        objective.
      Legitimate concerns exist regarding the qualitative 
        military advantage of Israel and some of the weapons 
        included in proposed arms packages. However, Congress 
        should understand that stalling or rejecting the sale 
        of selected U.S. military systems to Saudi Arabia will 
        strengthen perceptions in the Arab world that the 
        United States is an unreliable security partner. This 
        is especially true in the case of missile defense 
        systems. This is not to suggest the United States 
        should unquestioningly give the Saudis anything they 
        request. The United States should approach such arms 
        sales in a cautious and judicious manner. However, 
        delay or rejection of Saudi arms purchases will 
        complicate the long-term bilateral relationship and 
        will lead Saudi Arabia to turn to Russia, China, 
        France, or Britain for weapons.

                            Chapter 4: Egypt

    Egypt represents another one of the three countries most 
likely to respond to the development of an Iranian nuclear 
weapon by developing one of its own. Undoubtedly, an Iranian 
acquisition of nuclear weapons would ignite a debate in Cairo 
as to whether Egypt should pursue nuclear weapons as well. 
However, based on research, as well as interviews and meetings 
in Egypt, staff believes that although such a development in 
Iran would hasten Egypt's nuclear energy efforts, Egypt would 
most likely choose not to cross the nuclear threshold and 
obtain a nuclear weapon. With that said, two variables relating 
to Israel and Saudi Arabia could shift Cairo's thinking, 
potentially tilting the scales in the direction of the 
acquisition of nuclear weapons.
    This chapter will consist of five sections. First, this 
chapter will discuss Egypt's past and present nuclear power 
program. The second section will explore Egyptian-Iranian 
relations. The third section will directly analyze whether 
Egypt would pursue a nuclear weapon in response to an Iranian 
bomb. Fourth, the chapter will explore the Israeli and Saudi 
variables that could influence the decision in Cairo. Finally, 
this chapter will end with some policy considerations for 
protecting U.S. interests and dissuading Egypt from pursuing 
nuclear weapons.

            EGYPT'S NUCLEAR POWER PROGRAM: PAST AND PRESENT

    Egypt started its nuclear energy program in 1955, with 
President Gamal Nasser's creation of Egypt's Atomic Energy 
Authority (EAEA). The Egyptians began to operate a 2 megawatt, 
Soviet supplied research reactor in 1961. Over the next 5 
years, Egypt negotiated its first nuclear power plant with GE 
and Westinghouse before the 1967 war brought these efforts to 
an end. President Anwar Sadat revived Egypt's nuclear power 
program in the 1970s, working with Westinghouse once again. In 
1981, after the Camp David Agreement, Egypt signed the NPT. 
This second major effort came to an end in 1986 due to safety 
concerns in the wake of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the 
Soviet Union.\1\ In 1997, an Argentine company completed 
construction of a 22-megawatt research reactor north of Cairo. 
Both the Soviet and Argentine reactors, as well as a nuclear 
fuel manufacturing pilot plant, are under IAEA safeguards. 
Between 1997 and 2002, Egypt participated in a series of 
Technical Cooperation projects with the IAEA, conducting work 
directly relevant to nuclear power generation. Some of the work 
included: uranium exploration, a feasibility study for small 
and medium nuclear power plants, and training of Egyptian 
personnel. Since 2002, Egypt has conducted similar projects 
with the IAEA related to uranium exploration and the training 
of Egyptian personnel. Today, Cairo refuses to sign the 
Additional Protocol, until Israel signs and complies with the 
NPT.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ Dan Murphy, ``Middle East Racing to Nuclear Power,'' Christian 
Science Monitor (Nov. 1, 2007).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Unlike some of the other states in the Middle East that 
have announced plans to build nuclear power plants, Egypt has a 
pressing need to develop alternative domestic sources of 
energy. Egypt has a limited supply of domestic energy sources, 
and the country's energy demand continues to grow as quickly. 
According to the Department of Energy's Energy Information 
Agency, Egypt's production of oil has declined from its 1996 
peak of 922,000 (bbl/d) to 579,000 in 2005. According to the 
Egyptian government, the current total installed capacity of 
electricity generation in Egypt is roughly 21.3 GW, and last 
year's peak load was approximately 18.2 GW. If this situation 
remained constant, Egypt would be in relatively good shape. 
However, Egypt's electricity demand increased at an average 
annual growth rate of 7 percent over the last decade, while 
increasing 10.3 percent last year. With economic growth of 4.8 
percent and a population growth of 1.75 percent, Egypt's energy 
demand is likely to increase rapidly in the coming years.\2\ 
Recent discoveries of natural gas will satisfy some of this 
growing demand, but Egypt will need other sources of energy as 
well.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\ Mostafa El-Asiry, ``The Introduction of Nuclear Power in Egypt: 
An Overview.'' PowerPoint presentation by Egyptian Government official 
at IAEA Technical Meeting in Vienna, Austria, 5-9 November 2007.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Recognizing its limited amount of fossil fuels and its 
growing demand for energy, Egypt continues to aggressively 
pursue hydro, wind, and solar energy. According to the Egyptian 
Government, Egypt has almost fully utilized its hydroelectric 
sources of energy. In addition, Egypt has a wind energy 
installed capacity at the Red Sea coast of 230 MW (about 1 
percent of total installed capacity), and this wind energy 
contribution to the nation's energy production capacity is 
expected to grow to 3 percent by 2010. Egypt is also evaluating 
an integrated solar-thermal power plant that would contribute 
150 MW. While these efforts are impressive, the Egyptian 
Government believes they will not be able to meet Egypt's 
future energy needs.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\ Ibid.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This growing need for energy is not the only motivation 
behind Egypt's interest in a nuclear power program. The 
presence of an Iranian nuclear program also motivates Egypt to 
establish its own program. As Antoine Basbous, Director of the 
Arab World Observatory, says, Mubarak's actions tell Iran that 
Egypt ``will not allow Tehran to be the sole regional power to 
control the atom.'' Most individuals interviewed by staff over 
the last few months shared this response. Egypt sees itself as 
the leader of the Arab world; therefore, a decision to pursue 
nuclear energy serves political purposes internationally as 
well as domestically.
    Based on this desire to increase its domestic energy 
production capacity, Egypt appears to be moving decisively to 
construct nuclear power plants. In 2006, Mubarak initiated a 
national dialogue to discuss electrical energy resources, 
including nuclear power. In October 2007, President Mubarak 
announced his decision to initiate a program to build nuclear 
power stations in Egypt. Throughout this process, Egypt has 
worked closely and transparently with the IAEA, emphasizing 
that it only seeks a ``peaceful nuclear program.'' While Egypt 
appears to be serious about developing nuclear power plants, 
much work remains to be done. Some of the more onerous tasks 
that lie ahead for Cairo include developing the legal and 
legislative framework, selecting sites, improving the 
infrastructure, and developing the necessary human resources. 
While Egypt has periodically toyed with the idea of nuclear 
energy in the past without success, the future energy needs of 
Egypt and the current Iranian nuclear program suggest that this 
time might be different.

                             EGYPT AND IRAN

    To gain a better understanding of how Egypt views the 
Iranian nuclear program and how Egypt might respond to an 
Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons, it is necessary to 
briefly review the state of Egyptian-Iranian relations. In many 
respects, the respective self conceptions, demographics, and 
political relations pit the two countries against one another. 
Egypt sees itself as the leader of the Arab world and is 
overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim. Iran, on the other hand, views 
itself as a ``Persian power'' and has a population that is 
overwhelmingly Shia Muslim. Iran acts as a leading anti-
American and anti-Israeli voice in the Muslim world. In 
contrast, Egypt enjoys a close security and political 
relationship with the United States and represents the first 
Arab State to make formal peace with Israel. These underlying 
dynamics have resulted in specific events in the last three 
decades that have exacerbated relations between Iran and Egypt.
    Egypt's relationship with Iran has been especially strained 
since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. One of the first crises in 
the relationship occurred when Egypt granted the Shah of Iran 
exile after the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. This decision, 
combined with Egypt's decision to sign the Camp David Peace 
Accords with Israel, led Iran to break relations with Egypt in 
1979. When the Shah died in 1980, he was buried in Al-Rifa'i 
Mosque in Cairo. In October 1981, President Anwar Sadat of 
Egypt was assassinated during a military parade in Cairo, 
apparently in response to Sadat's role in making peace with 
Israel. The Iranian leadership responded by naming a street in 
Tehran after Khaled Eslamboli, Sadat's assassin. During the 
1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, Egypt supported Iraq.
    Today, the Egyptian leadership views Iran as a threat with 
or without nuclear weapons, but Egypt would perceive a nuclear 
armed Iran as especially threatening. However, Egypt sees Iran 
as a political and strategic threat and not an existential or 
military one. Staff found no Egyptian official or scholar who 
feared a nuclear or conventional attack from Iran. Rather, 
Egyptian decisionmakers and scholars see Iran as a threat to 
Egypt's prestige, national identity, and political stability. 
Iran's efforts to expand its power and assert its regional 
leadership role directly threatens Egypt's national identity as 
the leading Arab power. Iran's support for Hezbollah and Hamas 
endangers Egypt's political stability. Furthermore, from the 
Mubarak government's perspective, Iran's hard-line against 
Israel and the United States provides an unwelcome contrast 
with Egypt's relations with these two unpopular powers. 
Interestingly, it was widely reported that the two most popular 
individuals on the Sunni streets of Cairo during the 2006 war 
between Israel and Hezbollah were Hassan Nasrallah (The head of 
Hezbollah) and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (President of Iran), both 
outspoken Shia leaders. The Egyptian regime fears Sunni Islamic 
radicalism in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, and 
also fears Iranian political power and ideological appeal.
    Based on staff interviews and research, many Egyptians view 
the Iranian nuclear program largely through the lens of Israel 
and Israel's purported nuclear weapons.\4\ Egypt has long 
called for a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction. 
While Cairo has lived with an assumed Israeli nuclear arsenal 
for decades, the continuing Israeli possession of nuclear 
weapons represents a major irritant to Egyptian leaders as well 
as a source of anger among the Egyptian public. While Mubarak 
views Tehran with great suspicion and contempt, it is difficult 
for Cairo to speak out strongly against Tehran's nuclear 
program due to the ongoing Arab-Israeli crisis and Israel's 
possession of nuclear weapons. It is not politically 
sustainable for Cairo to oppose Iran's nuclear program more 
loudly than it opposes Israel's possession of nuclear weapons, 
even though the Egyptian regime may view the Israeli nuclear 
weapons as a defensive deterrent of last resort. In fact, some 
reporting has suggested that some Egyptian leaders view the 
Iranian nuclear program as an opportunity to place pressure on 
Israel to relinquish its nuclear weapons and sign the NPT. 
However, more thoughtful Egyptians recognize that the apparent 
Iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons makes any Israeli concession 
on its purported nuclear weapons next to impossible.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\ This report does not take a position on the existence of 
Israeli nuclear weapons.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                       EGYPT AND NUCLEAR WEAPONS

    As with Saudi Arabia and Turkey, if Iran were to obtain 
nuclear weapons in the coming years, it would place significant 
pressure on Egypt to follow suit. To assess the likely Egyptian 
response to Iranian nuclear weapons, it is helpful to catalog 
the incentives and disincentives that would influence the 
Egyptian decision. In terms of incentives, if Iran were to 
acquire nuclear weapons, the leading motivation for an Egyptian 
pursuit of nuclear weapons would not necessarily be a fear of 
Iran, but rather a fear of marginalization. An Iranian 
acquisition of nuclear weapons would tempt Egypt to follow suit 
in order to reclaim and maintain Egypt's traditional role as 
regional power and reassert its position as leader of the Arab 
world. Egyptians would view a nuclear armed Iran as a threat to 
Egypt's power and influence in the region. In other words, an 
Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapon would shift the balance 
of power away from Egypt and toward Iran. Many Egyptians would 
undoubtedly conclude that Egyptian possession of its own 
nuclear weapons would most effectively redress the balance of 
power. As discussed below, these Egyptian motivations would be 
greatly magnified if Saudi Arabia responded to an Iranian bomb 
by pursuing one as well.
    As powerful as these incentives would be, the disincentives 
appear greater. Two pillars undergird Egyptian national 
security strategy: peace with Israel and a security partnership 
with the United States. While both Israel and America remain 
very unpopular with the Egyptian people, the Egyptian regime 
relies on peace with Israel and aid from the United States to 
maintain its security and its power. An Egyptian pursuit of 
nuclear weapons would destabilize--if not topple--the Israeli 
and American pillars of Egypt's national security strategy. 
Egyptian leaders considering a pursuit of nuclear weapons would 
need to consider the Israeli response. In the past, Egypt has 
had difficulty concealing and protecting its nuclear activities 
from Israeli surveillance and intervention. There is no reason 
to believe a new Egyptian nuclear weapons program would evade 
Israeli attention. Such an Egyptian program and the Israeli 
response could reignite open hostility between the two states. 
Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, an Egyptian nuclear 
weapons program could severely damage the bilateral 
relationship between Egypt and the United States. Egypt leans 
heavily on U.S. aid, as well as U.S. military assistance, and 
an Egyptian nuclear weapons program would endanger both. 
Therefore, as long as peace with Israel and a security 
relationship with the United States remain in Egypt's interest, 
the disincentives for an Egyptian nuclear weapons program 
appear to outweigh the incentives.
    As important as the relationship with the United States 
remains to the Egyptian regime, the United States would be wise 
to not take this bilateral relationship for granted. The 
current relationship between Egypt and the United States has 
seen better days. Mubarak and other Egyptian leaders have 
uncharacteristically lashed out at the United States in recent 
years.\5\ Mubarak and the inner-circle of Egyptian 
decisionmakers have expressed deep frustration with U.S. 
policy. The Egyptians believe the United States has behaved 
rashly and incompetently in Iraq and has served as a 
destabilizing influence in the region. They also resent the 
conditioning of Foreign Military Sales (FMS) on democratic 
reform and public statements from high-level officials 
condemning the humanitarian track record of the Mubarak 
government. The Egyptians see the Middle East as unstable, 
placing much of the blame on the United States. Referring to 
the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the 2003 U.S.-led 
invasion of Iraq, and the 2006 war between Israel and 
Hezbollah, one Egyptian official said, ``wars are coming closer 
and becoming more numerous.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\Michael Slackman, ``Egypt, Under Stress, Sees United States as 
Pain and Remedy,'' New York Times (Oct. 22, 2006).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Egyptians also bemoan America's unwillingness to press 
the Israelis to achieve a two-state solution with the 
Palestinians. In fact, the persistence of the Arab-Israeli 
conflict and the Palestinian crisis at its foundation--
represent the Egyptian regime's central strategic liability. 
The Egyptian regime's unpopularity at home and its inability to 
lead Arabs abroad derives to a large extent from Egypt's peace 
with Israel and its alignment with the United States--the two 
countries blamed by Arabs for the ongoing suffering of the 
Palestinian people. Thus, Egypt's association with Israel and 
the United States--combined with the ongoing Palestinian crisis 
for which they take blame--weakens the Egyptian regime's 
domestic credibility and undercuts Egypt's attempt to regain 
its traditional role as leader of the Arab world.
    As identified above, an Iranian nuclear weapon--and 
certainly a Saudi nuclear weapon--would further reduce Egypt's 
regional power and influence. The desire to regain this power 
and influence would represent the most important incentive for 
a prospective Egyptian nuclear weapons program. If the United 
States seeks to increase the domestic credibility and the 
regional influence of the Egyptian Government so as to reduce 
the likelihood of an eventual Egyptian decision to pursue 
nuclear weapons, a durable two-state solution between Israel 
and the Palestinians would represent one of the most effective 
means to accomplish this objective.

                           THE TWO WILD CARDS

    If the preceding analysis is correct, in the event of an 
Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons, Egypt would be tempted 
to pursue nuclear weapons, but most likely, Egypt would 
ultimately decide against it because the costs would outweigh 
the benefits. However, there are two variables that could 
substantially shift this cost-benefit analysis and possibly 
result in an Egyptian decision to pursue nuclear weapons. The 
Israeli response to an Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons 
represents the first variable. If Iran were to acquire a 
nuclear weapon in the next few years, this would represent a 
major strategic and political shock to Israel. As a result, the 
Israeli Government would face tremendous domestic political 
pressure to respond in an explicit and bold way. Staff 
envisions two possible Israeli responses related to Israel's 
purported possession of nuclear weapons. The first would 
consist of an explicit acknowledgement of Israel's nuclear 
weapons and an unambiguous warning that Israel would respond to 
any Iranian nuclear attack--or a nuclear attack from an Iranian 
proxy--with a devastating nuclear counterattack. This Israeli 
response would directly state that an Iranian nuclear attack 
would result in the destruction of Iran. The second possible 
response would make it clear that an Iranian nuclear attack 
would result in the destruction of Iran, without explicitly 
acknowledging Israel's possession of nuclear weapons. A 
response along these lines might say: ``Iran should not 
entertain any doubt as to how Israel would respond to a nuclear 
attack by Iran or any of its proxies. If Iran or any of its 
proxies use nuclear weapons against Israel, Israel will respond 
with all weapons in its arsenal to ensure that Iran could never 
conduct such an attack again.'' In short, the first response 
would acknowledge Israel's nuclear weapons, whereas the second 
would not.
    In the event of an Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapon, 
the character of the Israeli response will have an important 
influence on Egypt's nuclear weapons decision. The first 
response, which consists of an explicit acknowledgment of 
Israel's nuclear weapons capability, would be more emotionally 
satisfying to many Israelis and would satisfy the short-term 
domestic political pressure within Israel. However, such an 
explicit public statement by the Israeli Government would place 
tremendous political pressure on the Egyptian regime to respond 
in some tangible way. Admittedly, an Israeli announcement 
regarding nuclear weapons would not represent a major 
revelation for regional governments, but it would create a 
groundswell of Egyptian public protest, demanding a tangible 
response from the Egyptian Government. The most consequential 
options for an Egyptian response include a renunciation of its 
peace treaty with Israel, a repudiation of its relations with 
the United States, or the initiation of an Egyptian nuclear 
weapons program. As a leading nonproliferation scholar told 
staff, ``If the Israelis declared [their nuclear weapons], 
Egypt would have to react. I am not sure how, but Egypt would 
be forced to react.'' However, if Israel responds more 
prudently to an Iranian nuclear weapon, Israel can convey the 
necessary message to Tehran without inciting a strong Egyptian 
response. Therefore, if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon, the 
United States would be wise to strongly encourage Israel to 
respond in a prudent and measured manner that does not make a 
bad situation worse.
    A Saudi acquisition of nuclear weapons, as discussed in 
Chapter 4, would represent the second variable that could 
substantially shift Egypt's cost-benefit analysis regarding the 
acquisition of nuclear weapons. Such a development would have a 
major impact on Cairo and could likely result in an Egyptian 
decision to pursue nuclear weapons. To appreciate why such a 
development would jar Egyptian decisionmaking, one must 
understand Egypt's self conception in the Arab world, and the 
associated rivalry between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
    While other Arabs frequently scoff at the notion, Egyptians 
see themselves as the natural leaders of the Arab world, based 
largely on Egypt's proud history, its dominance of Arab culture 
and media, its large population, and its relative military 
prowess. However, staff frequently encountered a feeling among 
Egyptian officials and scholars that Egypt's leadership role 
has deteriorated in recent years. One high level Egyptian 
official echoed this common theme saying, ``Egypt needs to 
restore its standing.'' He suggested that Egypt's prestige and 
leadership role in the region was ``great 50 years ago, but not 
so much now.''
    Egyptians view Saudi Arabia as the country attempting to 
replace Egypt as the leader of the Arab world. While Saudi 
Arabia has only one-third of Egypt's population, Saudi Arabia's 
oil wealth and its role as ``guardian of the two holy mosques'' 
gives it a unique position from which to challenge Egypt's 
leadership. From the point of view of many Egyptians, the 
February 2007 Saudi-brokered Mecca Conference between Hamas and 
Fatah provided the most recent symbol of Saudi Arabia's 
ascendance and Egypt's decline as the leader of the Arab world. 
While this ``Mecca deal'' ultimately fell apart, many Egyptians 
view the Saudi role as one that Cairo should have been playing 
instead. More generally, from the perspective of Egyptian mid-
level and senior leaders, the desire to reclaim Egypt's 
leadership role in the Arab world remains acute, and Saudi 
Arabia represents the leading challenger to this ``rightful'' 
Egyptian role.
    In addition to this Egyptian view of Saudi Arabia as rival 
for leadership of the Arab world, many Egyptian leaders also 
view Saudi Arabia's influence as largely negative. The secular 
Egyptian regime resents the role Saudi Arabia has played in 
promoting Islamist radicalism. When staff asked a high-level 
Egyptian official about Iranian influence, he responded by 
claiming that Saudi Arabian influence was ``vastly more 
negative'' than that of Iran, referring to the Saudi roots of 
al-Qaeda. (A claim that is not entirely fair given the role of 
Egyptians in al-Qaeda as well). In short, many Egyptian leaders 
view Saudi Arabia as a competitor for leadership of the Arab 
world and some also see Saudi Arabia largely as a negative 
influence in the region and within Egypt.
    Within this context of competition between Egypt and Saudi 
Arabia, a Saudi acquisition of a nuclear weapon would represent 
a uniquely threatening challenge to Egypt's self-conception and 
regional influence. As already discussed, Egypt would view an 
Iranian bomb as a negative and disconcerting development. 
However, in the end, Iran does not represent an Arab or Sunni 
power. Thus, despite Tehran's efforts to blur ethnic and 
religious differences, it is unlikely that Iran will ever be 
able to unify Sunni Arab powers beneath its leadership. The 
same can not be said of the Saudis. The Saudis are Arab and 
they are predominantly Sunni, and in sharing these two 
important characteristics with Egypt, a Saudi nuclear bomb 
would represent a more proximate and more serious threat to 
Egypt's prestige and national identity. In short, the manner 
with which Israel and Saudi Arabia respond to the potential 
Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons will have a potentially 
decisive influence on Egypt's decision regarding nuclear 
weapons. Therefore, in addition to working to prevent Iran from 
acquiring nuclear weapons, U.S. decisionmakers must look ``a 
few moves ahead in the chess game'' to ensure that decisions in 
Tel Aviv and Riyadh do not lead to a nuclear weapons decision 
in Cairo.

                         POLICY CONSIDERATIONS

   Impact of a Two-State Solution. The Arab popular and 
        governmental response to Iran's nuclear program has 
        been, for the most part, remarkably subdued. Given the 
        existence of long-term rivalry and suspicion between 
        Arabs and Persians, as well as the existence of Sunni 
        and Shia tensions, one might have expected a more 
        unified and robust Arab response to Iranian nuclear 
        ambitions. Several reasons motivate this muted Arab 
        response, but the primary reason is the ongoing Arab-
        Israeli crisis. The purported existence of Israeli 
        nuclear weapons, as well as the fact that Tehran has 
        shrewdly positioned itself as one of the most outspoken 
        critics of Israel and defenders of the Palestinians, 
        creates sympathy among Arab publics for the Iranian 
        nuclear program. Much of the ``Arab street'' sees an 
        Iranian nuclear weapon as a welcome counterbalance to 
        Israel and a way to ``poke a stick in the eye'' of the 
        United States and Israel. Staff found this Arab 
        sentiment in all six Arab countries visited. Contrary 
        to this popular Arab sentiment, short of an existential 
        crisis, Arab governments do not expect the Israeli 
        government to use its nuclear weapons. This difference 
        between popular and governmental perspectives in the 
        Arab world largely explains the muted Arab response to 
        the Iranian nuclear program. An ongoing Arab-Israeli 
        crisis will decisively undercut any U.S. effort to 
        create a unified regional front against Iran's nuclear 
        weapons ambitions. The United States should work 
        aggressively to develop a durable two-state solution 
        between Israel and the Palestinians. Such an outcome 
        would enable the United States to construct a unified 
        regional front against Iran's nuclear weapons 
        ambitions. A durable resolution to the Israeli-
        Palestinian crisis would also increase the Egyptian 
        regime's domestic credibility and its regional 
        prestige, thereby reducing the need for Egypt to 
        respond to an Iranian bomb by pursuing one of their 
        own.

   Reiterate U.S. Policy Regarding Nuclear Weapons. The 
        United States should remove any Egyptian confusion 
        regarding U.S. policy and attitudes toward nuclear 
        weapons proliferation. Traditional U.S. policy toward 
        nuclear weapons proliferation essentially stated that 
        no nuclear proliferation was acceptable or desirable. 
        However, in recent years, some U.S. Government 
        statements and policies have encouraged an 
        international perception that the United States views 
        some nuclear weapons proliferation as acceptable or 
        even desirable and other nuclear proliferation as 
        unacceptable. In other words, nuclear proliferation 
        among America's friends is tolerable, while 
        proliferation among America's prospective enemies is 
        intolerable. The degree to which friends of the United 
        States subscribe to this notion, the likelihood of 
        nuclear proliferation among America's friends will 
        increase. The United States should privately reiterate 
        in an unambiguous manner that an Egyptian nuclear 
        weapons program would severely damage relations with 
        the United States.

   Cooperate With the Egyptians on Nuclear Energy. As 
        previously stated, from a security and counterterrorism 
        perspective, a Middle East devoid of nuclear power 
        plants is preferable to a Middle East populated by a 
        number of nuclear power plants. However, if the 
        governments of the region pursue nuclear power, the 
        United States can do little to stop them. If the United 
        States and U.S. companies do not work with the states 
        of the Middle East in developing their nuclear program, 
        other countries will step in to take America's place. 
        If countries such as Egypt decide to pursue nuclear 
        energy, the United States and U.S. companies should be 
        first in line to help them. By having American nuclear 
        energy companies--instead of Russian, French, or 
        Chinese companies--working with the Egyptians, the 
        United States accrues several advantages. First, the 
        U.S. Government can work with U.S. companies to ensure 
        the Egyptian nuclear power plants incorporate the best 
        safeguards possible. Second, the involvement of U.S. 
        companies provides the U.S. Government a degree of 
        indirect oversight that helps ensure a peaceful nuclear 
        program remains that way. Finally, the involvement of 
        U.S. companies represents another way to solidify the 
        bilateral relationship with a country that controls the 
        strategically vital Suez Canal.

   Mind the Succession. Mubarak, who is almost 80 years 
        old, appears to strongly oppose nuclear weapons, yet it 
        is not clear how much longer he will be in power. While 
        Mubarak served as Sadat's Vice President, rising to the 
        Presidency after Sadat's assassination, Mubarak has not 
        selected a Vice President. This vacancy suggests that 
        Mubarak may be positioning his son, Gamal, to assume 
        power after his death. Little is known regarding 
        Gamal's attitudes toward nuclear weapons or whether the 
        Egyptian elite would accept Gamal as the next President 
        of Egypt. The Egyptian Government's opposition to 
        weapons of mass destruction may simply reflect 
        Mubarak's personal beliefs. In the next decade, it is 
        likely that Egypt will have a new ruler, and it is 
        unclear whether this ruler will share Mubarak's 
        apparent aversion to weapons of mass destruction. The 
        United States should monitor this succession carefully, 
        fully aware that Egypt's policies regarding nuclear 
        weapons could change overnight based on a change of 
        leadership in Cairo.

                           Chapter 5: Turkey

    A brief survey of relations between Turkey and Iran will 
help U.S. decisionmakers understand how Turkey might respond to 
a nuclear-armed Iran. Turkey and Iran enjoy a relatively stable 
yet complex relationship. Turkey views Iran as both strategic 
competitor and economic partner. The countries do not view each 
other as enemies, yet there exists a significant degree of 
Turkish suspicion regarding Iran's regional intentions. Turkish 
military officers describe the border with Iran as Turkey's 
``quietest border,'' yet most Turkish leaders and political 
officers harbor a notable degree of distrust regarding Iran's 
nuclear program. Turkey disapproves of Iran's support for 
Hezbollah, Hamas, and Shia militias in Iraq, yet Turkey and 
Iran share a common concern regarding Kurdish extremists (PKK 
and PJAK) in the north of Iraq and Iran, respectively. The 
Turks (and the predecessor Ottoman Empire) have enjoyed a 
stable and undefended border with Iran since the 1600s, yet 
many Turks voice concern regarding Iran's expanding influence. 
Turkey and Iran have not fought a war with each other in 
centuries, yet Turks complain about Iranian attempts to 
establish Sharia law in the secular Turkish state after the 
Islamic Revolution.
    To complicate this multifaceted relationship with Iran, 
Turkey occupies a precarious geographic, political, and 
economic position between Iran and the West. Turkey--a NATO 
member--attempts to maintain the trust of its security partners 
in Europe and the United States, while promoting stable 
relations and economic trade with Iran. Turkey seeks to honor 
U.N. Security Council Resolutions and the associated sanctions 
against Iran, while not alienating its neighbor and one of its 
most important economic partners.
    Honoring international sanctions against Iran presents 
difficulties for Turkey due to the significant economic 
relationship between the two countries as well as Turkey's need 
for Iranian oil and natural gas. After Russia, Iran serves as 
the second leading natural gas supplier to Turkey. This Turkish 
dependence on Iranian gas will most likely continue to grow. 
Turkey views Russia as an unreliable energy supplier and 
believes it will need to increase its energy imports from Iran 
in order to decrease its energy dependence on Russia. As part 
of this effort, Turkey concluded a $23 billion natural gas deal 
with Iran in 1996 and recently agreed to two additional energy 
deals with Iran. These deals will allow the Turkish Petroleum 
Corporation to develop oil and natural gas in Iran and permit 
Turkmenistan to pipe gas through Iran and Turkey to Europe.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ F. Stephen Larrabee, ``Turkey Rediscovers the Middle East,'' 
Foreign Affairs (Jul./Aug. 2007)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Regarding Iran's nuclear program, Ankara believes a 
nuclear-armed Iran would represent a negative development for 
Turkey and the wider region. Turkish officials and scholars 
consistently label a nuclear-armed Iran a ``threat,'' but 
regional actors or leaders do not view a nuclear-armed Iran as 
an existential or military threat. All Turks interviewed 
believe that Turkey would not be the target of a nuclear Iran. 
By this, the Turks mean they do not envision an Iranian nuclear 
or conventional military attack based on an Iranian possession 
of nuclear weapons. However, the Turks interviewed unanimously 
expressed a concern that an Iranian acquisition of nuclear 
weapons would dramatically shift the balance of power between 
the two countries, resulting in a more assertive Iranian role 
in the region.
    However, these Turkish commentators do not view Iran with 
the same sense of urgency as the Bush administration--a 
difference the 2007 Iran NIE will likely exacerbate. The 
report's declaration that Iran had ended its nuclear weapons 
program in 2003, as well as its prediction that Iran probably 
would not have the HEU necessary for nuclear weapons before 
2010-15, further depleted any sense of Turkish urgency 
regarding Iranian nuclear weapons. The NIE has allowed Turkish 
leaders to collectively exhale. Furthermore, especially after 
the NIE, Turkey does not even see the Iranian nuclear program 
as its leading foreign policy concern, but instead views it as 
a distant and somewhat abstract threat. In contrast, Turkey 
views the PKK violence and Kurdish separatism as immediate and 
tangible threats.
    One impact of Iran's nuclear program has been to catalyze 
Turkey's nuclear energy development efforts. Turkey is moving 
aggressively toward the development of domestic nuclear power 
generation, but nuclear power plants will probably not come on 
line before 2015. Much of Turkey's move toward nuclear energy 
appears to be driven by legitimate energy needs, but Turkey 
also seeks to match Iran's nuclear progress and to ensure 
future flexibility that will allow adaptation to Iran's 
actions. In the past, when the government has made initial 
moves toward nuclear energy it has sparked strong domestic 
opposition. As one Turk put it, ``Politically speaking, it 
hasn't been possible to go ahead so far, but now because of 
Iran, the nuclear energy option is on the table.'' In effect, 
the Iranian nuclear program has strengthened the position of 
nuclear energy advocates in Turkey. While significant popular 
opposition to nuclear energy still exists in Turkey due 
primarily to environmental concerns, the government seems 
determined to move forward in its development of a nuclear 
energy program. As a result of these developments, if Iran 
crosses the nuclear threshold in 5 to 10 years, Turkey will 
already have a significantly stronger technological foundation 
should it choose to pursue a nuclear weapons capability.

        MAJOR IRRITANTS IN THE UNITED STATES-TURKEY RELATIONSHIP

    Prior to President Bush's November 2007 meetings with 
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan and January 2008 meetings 
with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Turkish-United States 
relations were at one of the lowest points in memory. Two major 
irritants have exacerbated the strain in the bilateral 
relationship originally caused by the 2003 U.S. invasion of 
Iraq: PKK and Kurdish separatism and the Armenian Genocide 
Resolution (AGR). U.S. failure to address these irritants could 
ultimately undercut Turkish perceptions of the utility of the 
bilateral relationship with the United States.
    Turkey's perception of the reliability of the NATO and U.S. 
security guarantees will play a decisive role in Turkey's 
response to an Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons. An 
Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapon would dramatically and 
historically shift the balance of power between Turkey and 
Iran. Turkey's two major options would include a reliance on 
U.S. and NATO security guarantees or the development of a 
Turkish nuclear weapon to balance Iran. To the degree that the 
two irritants degrade Turkish perceptions of its relations with 
the United States and the reliability of the U.S. security 
guarantee, they will have an indirect but significant impact on 
Turkey's nuclear weapons decision. Therefore, these two 
irritants to the bilateral relationship require additional 
analysis.
    Overwhelmingly, in meeting after meeting, Turkish officials 
and scholars expressed sincere distress regarding PKK violence 
and Kurdish separatism. The PKK has conducted periodic 
terrorist attacks against Turkey, killing more than 1,500 Turks 
since 2004.\2\ While the PKK represents an immediate and 
tangible concern to Turkey, the deeper Turkish anxiety relates 
to Kurdish separatism. Most Turks fear that an autonomous 
Kurdish region in northern Iraq might evolve into a 
``Kurdistan'' that would subsume much of southeast Turkey where 
a large number of Kurds reside. Several individuals interviewed 
expressed an apparently widespread concern that Kurdish leaders 
Barzani and Talabani--despite their statements to the 
contrary--view the current Kurdish semiautonomous region in 
northern Iraq as a temporary stepping stone to establishment of 
a ``Kurdistan.'' The recent foreign oil contracts signed by the 
Kurdish regional authority, as opposed to the central 
government in Baghdad, confirmed the fears of many Turks. When 
Baghdad chastised the Kurdish regional authority for bypassing 
the central government, the Kurdish oil minister responded by 
calling for the resignation of the Oil Minister in Baghdad.\3\ 
From the perspective of many Turks, this incident confirmed 
their fears regarding Kurdish separatism. Some Turks also 
expressed the view that Kurdish efforts to control Kirkuk and 
its associated oil resources provide evidence of a Kurdish 
desire to move toward the establishment of a ``Kurdistan.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\ Soner Caqaptay and Mark Dubowitz, ``A Deadly Stumbling Block 
Named PKK,'' Financial Times Deutschland (Feb. 26, 2007) http://
www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC06.php?CID
=1034.
    \3\ ``Iraqi Kurds Demand Oil Minister's Resignation,'' AFP (Sep. 
13, 2007) http://afp.google.com/article/ALegM5haNFkil4-1s66QF0qB1tHMg-
RoWQ.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A ``Kurdistan'' that encompasses the bulk of the Kurdish 
population in the region would extract large chunks of 
territory from Iran, Turkey, and Syria. For this reason, Turkey 
has been working with both Iran and Syria to address problems 
related to violent Kurdish separatists. In fact, from the 
Turkish perspective, Iranian cooperation against the PKK served 
as a contrast to the perceived U.S. unwillingness to act 
against the PKK prior to Bush's meeting with the Turkish Prime 
Minister.
    Not only are PKK violence and Kurdish separatism the 
leading perceived threats to Turkey, but they represent the 
greatest source of friction in the bilateral relationship 
between Turkey and the United States. One official in Turkey's 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs told staff, ``The PKK is like a 
snake in our bilateral relationship.'' Turkey opposed the U.S. 
invasion of Iraq and refused U.S. requests to send U.S. forces 
through Turkey largely out of fear that a U.S. attack could 
lead to instability and Kurdish separatism in northern Iraq, a 
prediction most Turks believe has been fulfilled. While the 
Kurdish north has enjoyed relative stability, the U.S. invasion 
has given a historic impetus to Kurdish separatism. Prior to 
November 2007, the lack of U.S. action against PKK forces in 
northern Iraq infuriated many Turks and caused ``deep 
disappointment.'' The United States asked Turkey not to 
intervene in any major way in northern Iraq. From Turkey's 
perspective, Turkey agreed to abstain from large-scale 
intervention in northern Iraq, and in return, the United States 
would address the PKK threat. Turks widely believe the United 
States did not hold up its end. This lack of U.S. action 
against PKK has led to rampant conspiracy theories regarding 
alleged U.S.-PKK cooperation and has contributed to high levels 
of anti-Americanism in Turkey. A Pew Global Attitudes Project 
survey released in September 2007 said only 9 percent of Turks 
have a positive view of the United States. These anti-U.S. 
conspiracies have contributed to the popularity of a television 
series and associated movie in Turkey entitled ``Valley of the 
Wolves,'' that features U.S. atrocities and intrigue in 
northern Iraq. In fact, Many average Turks believe the United 
States has armed the PKK in an effort to undermine the regime 
in Tehran.
    Since the November 5 meeting between Prime Minister Recep 
Erdogan and President Bush, the U.S. commitment to share PKK 
intelligence with Turkey and to take tangible steps against the 
PKK have significantly ameliorated the crisis in United States-
Turkish relations. In meetings with Turkish Parliamentarians 
and with think tank scholars, Turks expressed great 
satisfaction with the U.S. declaration of the PKK as ``a common 
enemy'' and also approved of the steps the United States has 
taken to help Turkey confront the PKK. However, most Turks have 
taken a ``wait and see'' approach and it will take significant 
reduction in the PKK threat and a significant amount of time 
for United States-Turkish relations to heal.
    While PKK violence and Kurdish separatism represent the 
greatest irritants in the United States-Turkey relationship by 
far, the Armenian Genocide Resolution (AGR) has also damaged 
United States-Turkey relations. The introduction of an AGR in 
the U.S. House of Representaives inflamed Turkish political and 
public opinion. In October 2007, a House committee passed the 
nonbinding resolution declaring the 1915 killings, which 
occurred in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, to be 
genocide. If the full House passed the resolution, the Turkish 
military chief, General Yasar Buyukanit, warned ``our military 
relations with the United States can never be the same.'' He 
continued, ``The U.S. shot its own foot.'' Two days earlier, 
the Prime Minister Erdogan cautioned that bilateral relations 
with the United States were endangered and recalled the Turkish 
Ambassador from Washington. Last year, in response to French 
passage of a similar resolution, Turkey halted all military 
cooperation with France.\4\ While this AGR crisis has receded, 
any future effort to pass an Armenian genocide resolution would 
incite a similar Turkish response and would damage the 
important bilateral relationship between the United States and 
Turkey. During meetings, staff was warned that a future AGR 
would result in tangible Turkish steps against the United 
States, possibly including the exclusion of U.S. energy 
companies from the participation in future Turkish nuclear 
energy industry.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\ Brian Knowlton, ``U.S. House Speaker Vows Debate on Armenian 
Genocide Resolution,'' International Herald Tribune (October 14, 2007). 
http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/10/14/news/turkey.php?page=1.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                            TURKEY AND NATO

    Turkey became a member of NATO in 1952 and has since served 
as a strong member of the alliance since. In fact, Turkey 
represents NATO's second largest military force, and Turkey has 
contributed significantly to NATO operations in Kosovo and 
Afghanistan. Turkey has commanded the International Security 
Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan twice and has 
established a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT). The Turkish 
Government believes that it has more than upheld its 
commitments as a NATO member. However, numerous individuals 
interviewed by staff expressed a dissatisfaction with NATO and 
a feeling that Turkey has given more to NATO than NATO has 
provided to Turkey.
    Two events have served to undermine Turkey's perception of 
the reliability of NATO in protecting Turkey's national 
security. The first incident occurred in 1991. An inaccurate, 
yet widespread, view exists that NATO failed to honor its 
Article V commitments to Turkey in 1991 during the Persian Gulf 
war. Many Turks--even educated Turks and some government 
officials--believe that Turkey requested help from NATO and 
that assistance never came or was slow in arriving. In reality, 
NATO ended up deploying military forces to protect Turkey.
    In February 2003, just prior to the U.S.-led invasion of 
Iraq, Turkey initiated consultations with NATO under the 
authority of the treaty. These consultations initially took 
place in the North Atlantic Council (NAC). This forum, which 
includes France, did not respond to Turkey's concerns. 
Consequently, the deliberations were moved to the Defense 
Planning Council (DPC), which does not include France, and 
Turkey ultimately received support from NATO. While the NATO 
flag and NATO forces ultimately deployed to Turkey, most Turks 
only remember the initial rejection of their requests. 
According to one Turkish government official, these events in 
1991 and 2003 sent the message that Turkey was ``not a member 
of this [NATO] family.''
    In reality, the poor view of NATO common in Turkey is 
really directed at specific members of the NATO alliance that 
have consistently opposed Turkish requests within the context 
of NATO, with much of Turkish ire directed at France. If France 
fully reintegrates itself into NATO as some anticipate, this 
will further negatively impact Turkey's perceptions regarding 
NATO's reliability.
    Turkey also fears that NATO's reliability and Turkey's 
security are being undermined by the European Security and 
Defence Policy (ESDP). Since Turkey is not a member of the 
European Union (EU), Turkey feels threatened by any shift in 
the locus of European defense planning and capabilities from 
NATO to the EU. To the degree that this shift continues to 
occur--or is perceived by the Turks to occur--it will promote a 
sense of insecurity and dislocation from its Western security 
partners that will increase the chances that Turkey would 
respond to an Iranian nuclear weapon acquisition by pursuing 
one of its own.
    While staff heard numerous concerns regarding NATO, it is 
important to place this finding in context. Undoubtedly, 
Turkish perceptions regarding the trustworthiness and 
reliability of NATO have declined. Interestingly, junior and 
middle rank military officers and politicians who came of age 
after the cold war, and who are not old enough to remember 
NATO's apex during that period tend to have less faith in 
NATO's loyalty. But this cohort does recall the 1991 and 2003 
incidents in which Turks perceived NATO as failing to honor its 
commitments. However, Turkey's membership in NATO and the 
security assurances that accompany that membership remain the 
core of Turkish national security strategy; senior political 
and military leaders in Turkey fully appreciate this fact. As 
today's junior and mid-level politicians and military leaders 
move into positions of senior leadership in Turkey, they will 
increasingly appreciate the central role of NATO in Turkish 
security. However, it seems clear that the next generation of 
leaders in Turkey will be more nationalist and less trusting of 
NATO than the previous generation, a change that may have a 
significant impact on a Turkish decision regarding nuclear 
weapons.

                       TURKEY AND NUCLEAR WEAPONS

    If Iran acquires nuclear weapons in the next decade, this 
will place significant pressure on Turkey to follow suit. 
Turkey and Iran do not see themselves as adversaries, but 
Turkey believes the centuries of relative peace between the two 
states derives primarily from the rough balance of power 
between them. A nuclear-armed Iran would dramatically tip the 
balance of power in Iran's direction. Turkey believes this 
increased Iranian power would lead to a more aggressive Iranian 
foreign policy and a marginalization of Turkey. Such a 
development would significantly undercut Turkey's desired role 
as a respected and powerful mediator between east and west. In 
such a scenario, there would be strong voices in the Turkish 
General Staff, as well as among ultra-nationalist politicians, 
arguing for Turkey to respond by pursuing nuclear weapons. 
Thus, the possibility still exists that Turkey would respond to 
Iranian nuclear weapons by developing nuclear weapons as well.
    At the same time, there are significant disincentives to a 
Turkish pursuit of nuclear weapons. First, a Turkish pursuit or 
acquisition of nuclear weapons would severely damage United 
States-Turkish relations, which represent an essential 
component of Turkish national security. Second, such a 
development would endanger Turkey's good standing in NATO, 
another key component of Turkey's national security. Third, a 
Turkish pursuit or acquisition of nuclear weapons probably 
would eliminate any remaining chance of Turkish accession into 
the European Union. Fourth, powerful popular voices within 
Turkey would likely oppose a Turkish attempt to acquire nuclear 
weapons. Unlike Egypt, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, the democratic 
system in Turkey would enable these popular forces to influence 
Turkey's decisions on these issues.
    In a closed door meeting, staff asked a group of 
influential Turkish politicians how Turkey would respond to an 
Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons. These politicians 
emphatically responded that Turkey would pursue nuclear weapons 
as well. These individuals stated, ``Turkey would lose its 
importance in the region if Iran has nuclear weapons and Turkey 
does not.'' Another politician said it would be ``compulsory'' 
for Turkey to obtain nuclear weapons in such a scenario. 
However, when staff subsequently asked whether a U.S. nuclear 
umbrella and robust security commitment would be sufficient to 
dissuade Turkey from pursuing nuclear weapons, all three 
individuals agreed that it would.
    Based on meetings with Turkish officials and U.S. Embassy 
personnel in Ankara, staff believes the state of United States-
Turkey relations and Turkish perceptions regarding the 
reliability of NATO will serve as the decisive factors in 
Turkey's decision regarding nuclear weapons. If the bilateral 
relationship with the United States is strained and Turkey's 
trust in NATO low, Turkey would be more likely to respond to 
Iranian nuclear weapons by pursuing nuclear weapons as well. 
However, a restored bilateral relationship with the United 
States and a restored Turkish trust in NATO could decisively 
discourage Turkey from purusing nuclear weapons. The United 
States and NATO would need to take tangible steps to reassure 
and secure Turkey, but a healthy Turkish relationship with the 
United States and NATO provides the best means to discourage a 
Turkish pursuit of nuclear weapons.

                         POLICY CONSIDERATIONS

    The United States should not wait until Iran crosses the 
nuclear threshold before seeking to influence Turkey's nuclear 
decisionmaking, and would be wise to take steps now to restore 
the bilateral relationship with Turkey. The following policy 
considerations would help accomplish both of these objectives:

   Take a Firm Stance on the PKK. As the Bush 
        administration stated in November 2007, the PKK 
        represents a ``common enemy'' of the United States and 
        Turkey. The PKK has killed many Turks over the years 
        and is currently listed as a terrorist organization by 
        the U.S. Government. Perceived U.S. inaction regarding 
        the PKK over the last 4 years has fueled anti-
        Americanism in Turkey. As General Joseph Ralston, the 
        Special Envoy for Countering the Kurdistan Worker's 
        Party, testified before a House committee, ``I have no 
        doubt that if we can significantly reduce the PKK 
        threat to Turkey that it will do much to improve the 
        state of relations between the United States and 
        Turkey.'' \5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\ General Joseph Ralston (USAF, Ret.), Special Envoy Countering 
the Kurdistan Worker's Party, ``U.S.-Turkish Relations and the 
Challenges Ahead,'' Testimony Before the House Foreign Affairs 
Committee Subcommittee on Europe (Washington, DC, Mar. 15, 3007)

   Understand the Policy Implications of the 
        Establishment of a Sovereign Kurdish State. While the 
        federal structure in Iraq and the Kurdish Regional 
        Authority probably represents the best possible 
        political structure for Iraq, some Kurds may seek to 
        establish a sovereign and independent state in northern 
        Iraq. A state of this kind--especially one seeking to 
        subsume Kurdish-dominated territory in Turkey--would 
        represent an existential threat for the Turkish state. 
        Any effort to break away from Iraq and certainly any 
        effort to subsume parts of adjacent states into a 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        larger ``Kurdistan'' would be a casus belli for Turkey.

   Understand the Implications of U.S. Iraq Policy for 
        Relations With Turkey. The outcome of the U.S. 
        intervention in Iraq will dramatically impact Turkish 
        security, as well as Turkey's perception of the U.S. 
        security guarantee. Instability in Iraq would likely 
        threaten the Turkmen population in Iraq, could lead to 
        heightened strife or even civil war between Shia and 
        Sunni, could increase violence in northern Iraq, and 
        could lead to heightened autonomy or even statehood for 
        Iraq's Kurds. In addition, for centuries, modern day 
        Iraq has served as the ``chess board'' for Ottoman and 
        Persian competition. Instability in Iraq could reignite 
        this competition in Iraq, with the Turks backing the 
        Sunnis and the Iranians backing the Shia. All of these 
        developments would represent serious concerns or even 
        existential threats for Turkey. These developments 
        would possibly compel Turkish intervention in Iraq, 
        dramatically undermining Turkish security, severely 
        damaging United States-Turkey bilateral relations, and 
        dangerously diminishing the Turkish trust in the U.S. 
        security guarantee.

   Consider the Ramifications of Future Armenian 
        Genocide Resolutions. Future attempts to pass an AGR 
        could significantly damage United States-Turkey 
        bilateral relations, promoting a political estrangement 
        that could impact Turkish perceptions of the U.S. 
        security guarantee. Such a development could ultimately 
        affect Turkey's eventual decision regarding nuclear 
        weapons. This is not to suggest the United States 
        should wash its hands of all principled concerns 
        regarding the Armenian Genocide. However, 
        decisionmakers must recognize that a resolution passed 
        by Congress may not be the best way to honor American 
        values and interests.

   Address Turkey's Missile Defense Concerns. In light 
        of Iran's continued development of ballistic missiles 
        that can strike all of Turkey, as well as the prospect 
        of an eventual Iranian nuclear weapon, Turkey has some 
        legitimate missile defense concerns. Turkey has 
        expressed its dissatisfaction with the fact that the 
        current U.S. plan for missile defense in Europe would 
        exclude Turkey. While recent events might persuade 
        Turkey to interpret this as a deliberate U.S. slight, 
        the U.S. decision to exclude Turkey is based on 
        physics. Turkey is too close to Iran for the proposed 
        missile defense system to work. However, the United 
        States should not simply state this fact and move on, 
        but instead should work with Ankara to develop 
        alternative means to provide Turkey the missile defense 
        systems necessary to protect itself. Turkey continues 
        to work with U.S. companies to design such a solution. 
        The U.S. Government should remove unnecessary obstacles 
        to the speedy development of a missile defense system 
        that addresses Turkey's needs.

   Support Turkey's Effort to Join the European Union 
        (EU). The United States does not have a direct or 
        leading role in this EU decision. However, whatever 
        influence the United States does wield should be 
        utilized to support Turkey's accession effort. The more 
        Turkey feels integrated into the West and protected by 
        Western political and security institutions, the less 
        likely Turkey would be to pursue nuclear weapons in the 
        future.
      If Turks become convinced that the EU accession process 
        will never result in EU membership, they will feel more 
        estranged and excluded from the West. Such dislocation 
        from the West will promote ultra-nationalism in Turkey, 
        as well as a desire to become less reliant on the West 
        by becoming more militarily self-sufficient. Such a 
        development would serve as a powerful impetus for the 
        development of a Turkish nuclear weapon in the coming 
        decade or two. In terms of timing, given that the EU 
        accession process will likely take years, some say it 
        will be irrelevant to Turkey's response to Iranian 
        acquisition of nuclear weapons. However, the December 
        2007 NIE predicted that Iran would probably not have a 
        nuclear weapons capability until 2010-15. If this 
        judgment is ``in the ballpark,'' the EU decision and 
        Turkey's response to an Iranian acquisition of nuclear 
        weapons may be more proximate to one another than some 
        expect.
      Further perceived drift in the locus of the European 
        defense regime from NATO to the EU would be of concern 
        to Turkey. To the degree that this occurs without 
        Turkey's membership in the EU, Turkey will be excluded 
        from European defense planning and cooperation. If NATO 
        recedes in perceived importance or value, and the 
        center of gravity of European defense shifts toward the 
        EU, a Turkey that is not an EU member will view itself 
        as increasingly marginalized and abandoned by its 
        Western allies.
      In addition to the role EU membership might play in 
        discouraging Turkey from pursuing nuclear weapons, EU 
        membership would also facilitate Turkey's desired role 
        as a mediator between East and West. Turkey, on the one 
        hand, takes pride in its growing economy and its 
        secular Western orientation; on the other hand, Turkey 
        takes pride in its Muslim faith and its amicable 
        relations with most countries of the Middle East. 
        Turkey correctly believes these characteristics--along 
        with Turkey's geography--provide the country with a 
        unique and positive opportunity to have a foot in both 
        ``worlds.'' From a Turkish perspective, rejection by 
        the EU would diminish Turkey's ability to serve as a 
        mediator between East and West and would further 
        increase Turkey's sense of marginalization. Real 
        challenges such as the Cyprus negotiations lie ahead 
        and Turkey still needs to undertake significant 
        reforms. However, the status of Turkey's EU accession 
        efforts will serve as one of a few potentially decisive 
        factors in shaping how Turkey would respond to an 
        Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons.
                               APPENDIX 1

                              ----------                              



----------------
    \1\ Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
    \2\ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safeguards Agreement. 
All non-nuclear-weapon states-parties to the NPT are required to 
conclude a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA. Israel is 
not a party to the NPT but does have a facility-specific safeguards 
agreement for a nuclear research reactor.
    \3\ Additional Protocol to IAEA Safeguards Agreement. Such 
protocols give the IAEA additional authority to investigate a state's 
nuclear activities.
    \4\ Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Not yet in force.
    \5\ Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.
    \6\ Small Quantities Protocol. Some NPT state-parties with small 
quantities of fissionable materials have concluded a small quantities 
protocol to their IAEA safeguards agreements. Certain IAEA verification 
requirements are suspended for such states, but the agency's Board of 
Governors in 2005 approved changes that were designed to bolster 
verification obligations under the protocol. None of the states listed 
here with Small Quantities Protocols have accepted the modified text.
    \7\ Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident.
    \8\ Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or 
Radiological Emergency.
    \9\ Convention on Nuclear Safety.
    \10\ Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on 
the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.

                               APPENDIX 2

                               __________
                               
                               
                               APPENDIX 3

                               __________
                               
                               
                               APPENDIX 4

                               __________
                               
                               
                         Map of the Middle East

                               APPENDIX 5

                               __________
                               
                               
                 Map of Arabian Peninsula and Vicinity