The Politics And Strategy Of Nuclear Weapons In The Middle East: Opacity, Theory, And Reality, 1960-1991: An Israeli Perspective

In This Review

The Politics And Strategy Of Nuclear Weapons In The Middle East: Opacity, Theory, And Reality, 1960-1991: An Israeli Perspective

By Shlomo Aronson, with Oded Brosh
State University of New York Press, 1992
398 pp. $19.95
Purchase

Nuclear weapons, the author maintains, must be understood as a central issue in today's Middle East, despite the fact that they are rarely mentioned in public. Since the 1960s, Aronson maintains, nuclear issues have been part of the region's political reality. The "opaqueness" of the Israeli capability has meant that most everyone has preferred to look the other way, but in reality officials on all sides have geared their policies to deal with Israel's nuclear capability. The problem with this view is not that it is wrong. On the contrary the central thesis of the book is surely correct. But the evidence is often hard to come by, which does not prevent the author from engaging in speculation, some convincing, some not so. For example he assumes that Egypt's Abdel al-Nasser was drawn into the 1967 crisis out of a desire to strike at Israel's Dimona reactor before it was too late. Perhaps. The author and coauthor have read widely and turn up some gems of information, but they are prone to detect a nuclear sub theme even when it may not exist. The book is filled with questions, sometimes going on for pages at a time. The authors cannot begin to answer them all, and a tough editor would have done well to insist on a more coherent analytical structure to the book and a more readable text. But with all these shortcomings, the book is valuable in lifting the veil of secrecy, or opaqueness, concerning nuclear weapons in the Middle East.