Cooperative Ideas: Overcoming the Stalemate on a WMD Free Zone in the Middle East


On 18 October 2018, the VCDNP hosted a joint seminar with the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) and the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East (APOME) that addressed the complex set of issues related to the conclusion of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the Middle East. At the seminar, Mr. Marc Finaud, GCSP Arms Proliferation Cluster Leader and Dr. Bernd W. Kubbig, APOME Coordinator, discussed their thoughts on what could be done to make progress on such a zone.

The conclusion of a WMD Free Zone (WMDFZ) in the Middle East was mandated in the final document of the 1995 Review Conference (RevCon) of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). More than 20 years later, the zone still has not been established. The 2020 NPT Review Conference, which also marks the 50th anniversary of the Treaty, could be in jeopardy if the States Parties do not find a constructive solution on a zonal arrangement in the Middle East. Based on their Policy Forum series of publications, Mr. Finaud and Dr. Kubbig offered compromise-minded proposals to break the stalemate in this debate.

Their “Cooperative Ideas” come at a time when, as was later stressed during the Q&A session, the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) recently took action on a draft resolution on “Convening a Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East”. If adopted, the UNGA would entrust the Secretary-General with convening no later than June 2019 a conference on establishing such a zone, to which will be invited all States of the Middle East, the three co-sponsors of the resolution on the Middle East adopted by the 1995 NPT RevCon (Russia, the US and the UK), the other two nuclear-weapon States (China and France) and the relevant international organizations, such as the IAEA and OPCW.

The draft resolution would have the conference take as its terms of reference the 1995 NPT resolution, and all decisions emanating from the conference would be taken by consensus by the States of the region. According to the speakers, the resolution aims at taking the controversial WMD issue out of the NPT framework in order to save the NPT Process and the NPT RevCon. In their view, the negative implication is that this approach is a farewell to all earlier attempts between the Helsinki mandate of the NPT community taken in 2010 and the failure of the NPT RevCon in 2015. These efforts included the Glion/Geneva process between October 2013 and June 2014 when all vital parties of the region sat together for the first time in 19 years to discuss the WMD-free zone issue in an informal way. In terms of substance the basic gap between “Disarmament First!” and “Regional Security First!” which was the crucial controversial issue in the Glion/Geneva talks that could not be solved would be left out or circumvented in the draft resolution.

Dr. Kubbig addressed what is at stake in the lead up to the 2020 NPT Review Conference. In his view, the failure to reach final consensus recommendations during the 2015 NPT Review Conference stemmed from a lack of understanding about the broader security context in the Middle East. “Security is more than the weapons,” said Dr. Kubbig. “The weapons are part of the broader regional context, so you cannot isolate them. You have to take individual concerns of States in the region into account.” He stressed further that a comprehensive notion of security would include dialogue structures which allow the actors to express their interests and concerns. “The challenge is,” Dr. Kubbig emphasized, “to provide incentives for the only nuclear weapon State in the region to engage in a productive dialogue.”

In view of this asymmetrical situation in the nuclear field, the idea of the Policy Forum series is to find compromises, quid-pro-quo approaches and other solutions that address the concerns of all States Parties without sacrificing the broader goal of a WMDFZ in the Middle East. Mr. Finaud pointed out that this issue had been on the table for decades and that not much had changed despite ongoing proposals. He stressed that it was not productive to “engage in the same behavior over and over again and expect a different result. We have to think of new ways to bypass these blockages.”

Mr. Finaud noted that States interested in the conclusion of a WMDFZ in the Middle East should not be afraid to seek the so-called “low-hanging fruit.” By taking some small steps towards the conclusion of such a zone, States in the region might be more amendable to reaching a broader solution on the zone itself. Some of those steps, said Mr. Finaud, could include the appointment of a United Nations special representative to manage negotiations, which would provide a forum and independent space for interested States to discuss their concerns. Another approach could include the establishment of an expert group on verifying compliance in the zone or the opening of a regional security center. Such steps would increase confidence and trust among States in the region.


Other ideas that the speakers presented during the seminar included:

- Building on the achievements of multilateral frameworks in the WMD sphere, including the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention and the Comprehensive-Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty;

- Transferring cooperative and efficient efforts on the ground between adversaries in the Middle East, for instance in the area of jointly fighting terrorism in the Sinai by Israel and Egypt to make progress in the controversial WMD area;

- Taking stock of lessons learned from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to agree on a give-and-take approach as a way of avoiding the trap of zero-sum thinking, which, the presenters argued, has been a major reason why there has been no progress in this domain; and

- Taking up productive initiatives presented at the governmental level by Russia in the two NPT Preparatory Committee meetings in Vienna and Geneva to make regional security concerns a legitimate and continuous element of further negotiations on a WMD Free Zone. “Such a two-pillar negotiation strategy holds the promise of bridging the still most fundamental gap between the conflicting demands put forward on the one side by Israel and on the other side by the Egypt-led Arab countries”, Dr. Kubbig stressed.


Emphasizing the specific role of non-governmental experts, the presenters expressed hope that the stalemate in regional non-proliferation and disarmament could be overcome by learning from the quite promising discourse among experts dealing with nuclear security and safety – with the threats from nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological weapons working as a unifier for the splintered actors in the region. The speakers emphasized that this was not an exhaustive list of all cooperative ideas that the Policy Forum series proposes.

Much of the remainder of the session was spent discussing additional approaches towards achieving progress on the zone. Topics included the signature and ratification of the CTBT as a vital confidence-building measure and the creation of forums for all Middle Eastern countries to express their security concerns as a way to start to increase interest in the region in seriously negotiating a WMDFZ. If, as the presenters posited, weapons are part of the broader regional picture, the reduction of tensions in the Middle East and the generation of political will be regarded as necessary steps toward a successful 2020 NPT Review Conference. The lively discussion underscored that a lot of analysis still needed to be done, including on a possible productive role for Europe in advancing the discussion on a WMD-free zone in the Middle East.

A Middle East Perspective: The Current Situation of the Hague Code of Conduct and Steps for Improvement


During the Annual Conference of the 138 member states to the Hague Code of Conduct Against the Proliferation of Ballistic Missiles (HCoC) which took place in Vienna on June 6 and 7, 2017 the  Foundation pour la Recherche Stratégique in Paris conducted an event on “Ballistic missile non-proliferation: moving forward on strategic and practical issues”. With some 80 diplomats present,  APOME's Coordinator Bernd W. Kubbig addressed the deficits and strengths of the HCoC.

Kubbig emphasized: The weakness of HCoC is its strength: its appealing low-key requirement for all old and new members. This said, the HCoC has its own grave problems. The following deficits are obvious:

1. Lacking credibility of its (crucial) members because the two low-key self-binding standards/obligations, designed as confidence-building measures, are not being implemented properly – these two self-binding standards are the annual reporting of ballistic missile (capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction) activities and of space-launch vehicle activities as well as pre-launch notifications).

2. The HCoC's negative baggage of the past could not be removed, i.e., the regime as the outcome of the restrictive bias of the export control regime MTCR:

3.The HCoC does not contain real and attractive incentives to join.

4. The HCoC membership has stagnated for many years – only one important new member – India – has joined the regime.

Kubbig provided concrete proposals at the Track I and Track II levels on how to tackle each of these deficits as a way to strengthen the HCoC. They will be part of study to be published soon.

1) The most important measure – truly a multilateral one – inside the HCoC would be to establish an informal 'Group of the Willing' centered around the German government and its remarkable list of pre-launch notifications based on open-sources. It could meet regularly between the annual HCoC meetings and discusses the pertinent issues of substance. If core members of this regime continue to fail to provide the basic information, which actually could unravel the entire regime, they can hardly convince other states to join.

2) As far as the negative baggage of the past is concerned, it would have to be determined in appropriate organizational settings which of the criticisms is genuine and which are only a pretext hiding other motives.

3) This criticism overlaps with the points made in 2), for instance concerning technical assistance. Nevertheless, the value of transparency about activities at a low level (lower than required by UNROCA) should be a positive starting point. The pre-launch notification requirement goes beyond the aspect of transparency since it is a mechanism of communication that includes adversaries. Both annual reporting activities can be made more comprehensive and detailed. (See below, ad 4)

4) India could become a real asset for further extension of the HCoC membership. Pakistan, the other traditional harsh critic of the Hague Code, may be persuaded by the example of its archrival – provided that it is possible to offer Islamabad a similarly attractive and comprehensive security package. If Pakistan joined, Egypt and Israel would have a harder time putting their security/diplomatic concerns forward. Since the agreements between India and Pakistan are reportedly much more intrusive than the HCoC’s self-binding stipulations, its former arch critics may lead the way in strengthening this international instrument. In addition, credible HCoC members should be encouraged and empowered to become active in the Middle East. Jordan, Iraq, and Kazakhstan are the countries in question, which would provide a regional basis for serious outreach activities, possibly in a semi-detached way from the EU and others ('semi-regionalization').


New Initiatives at Track II Level – Making BM-related CSBMs a Visible Issue

In addition to measures at the governmental level (Track I), I suggest putting the emphasis on the Track II level (initiatives by academics/experts). In organizational terms, this amounts to taking FRS’ endeavors within the EU Strategy against the Proliferation of WMD and the EU Council's Decision 2912/423/CFSP as the central starting point and center for a broader to-be-coordinated effort. In addition, in substantive terms FRS’ activities have to and can be optimized in a number of ways. I perceive the bottom-line as: The desirable increase in membership (especially from the conflict region) and an expansion and deepening of its provisions do not fall from heaven, and they cannot be achieved overnight. In view of the numerous objections expressed at the government level, the lower Track II level seems much more appropriate. If at all, increased membership and expansion and deepening of provisions can only be achieved by means of a more systematic and comprehensive strategy consisting of measures to be achieved and applied in the short-, medium- and long-term. The following reflections can only be a rough outline. To provide detailed contents would require an additional research effort and go beyond the scope of this paper. In short, the objective is to create a lively missile community by making the issue visible, using existing organizational opportunities and establishing their own Cycle of Workshops, perhaps combined with a focused, but regularly published Newsletter; getting Elder States(wo)men involved as authorities to increase the legitimacy of the endeavor and increase the political impact would be important, too.

Data-based Information on Missiles and Institutional/Academic Partners in the Middle East

In order to find a common basis with the targeted communication partners on the subject in the Middle East, it would be important to have a reliable data base as a point of reference (not in the sense of a collection of information everybody could agree on). A starting point could be the country-related data published as an Appendix in Kubbig/Fikenscher [eds] 2012.  This to-be-updated compilation does not only include ballistic missiles, but also other delivery systems as well such as cruise missiles, rockets (70 km and more), aircraft, air and missile defenses. This broad range of information will be important, once at a later stage BMs will have to be assessed in the (presumably asymmetrical) context of all DVs. In addition, information on ppotential partners in the region would be most valuable. Again, the ATLAS of the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East, which needs (continuous) updating, could be a good starting point.  Important information regards the character of the institution (connection to government, academic independence/leeway), but also its special expertise and connectedness with other institutions, its reputation, publishing activities, and funding situation. More specifically, other EU security initiatives in the Middle East/Gulf could be of special relevance: the CBRN Centers of Excellence initiative as the institutional focus for capacity building on CBRN topics; building CBRN risk mitigation capacities that provide a platform for voluntary regional cooperation on all CBRN-related hazard issues; setting up an export control system as a tool for fighting against trafficking in dual-use technologies and CBRN materials.

Using Existing Organizational Opportunities

Unlike all kinds of WMD, missiles/CSBMs do not have an academic constituency/community. In a regular and systematic form they have no home, and consequently are not on the corresponding agenda anywhere. But several regularly occurring international conferences with a specific approach to the Middle East/Gulf do exist. The question is how to identify such organizational settings and how to make missiles/CSBMs a secure, regular, and sound issue. It is also advisable to establish connections with expert communities which deal with the warheads that certain types of missiles are expected to deliver.


Two International Expert Panels at the First NPT PrepCom in Vienna and a Publication Series POLICY FORUM Vienna, VIC, May 8 &10, 2017


This Networking Project entirely sponsored by the German Foundation for Peace Research (DSF) is a follow-up to the previous DSF co-sponsored conference activities in Frankfurt and Berlin, organized by the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East (APOME) within the broader endeavor “Creating New Momentum for Nonproliferation and Disarmament in the Middle East/Gulf after the Failed 2015 Review Conference”. The major objective was to jointly develop Cooperative Ideas/concepts (inspired by Amb. Jaakko Laajava, the former Finnish Facilitator) in order to help re-launching a Communication & Conference Process in the Middle East/Gulf. In order to create synergy effects, optimize our activities, and achieve some burden sharing for this Project, APOME was joined by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GSCP).

After the Expert Workshops in Frankfurt and Berlin it was logical to put the Cooperative Ideas generated into practice by making use of two tools. First, by establishing two Expert Panels which allowed us to present both our developed and new/adjusted concepts before the international community of governments in Vienna on May 8 and 10, 2017. Second, by initiating a New Publication Series POLICY FORUM for Disarmament and Nonprolifertion in the Middle East Gulf – this initiative is the tool for creating sustainability in the interval between the First PrepCom and the second one scheduled for spring 2018 in Geneva. These two tools (with a third one – a new optional Cycle of small-scale Workshops – constitute our means of shaping and influencing the discourse at both the Track I-and Track II-levels.

Our approach of choosing the 'right' topics and hand-pick the 'right' experts for Vienna wa basically a pragmatic one. We deliberately opted for a 'Northern/Euro-centric' composition of experts: committed but non-partisan. Representatives from the region, our main addressees, had a preferential chance during the Q&A session to make their views known. In selecting the panelists, we strived for including young colleagues. The Cooperative Ideas to be presented at the two Expert Panels moderated by Bernd W. Kubbig and Marc Finaud, were as follows:

  • The members of the First Panel on May 8, which has to be seen in the traditional NPT context, suggested concrete steps for paving the way for the resumption of a meaningful Communication and Conference Process. The need for new, 'fresh' ideas is at center stage by all speakers to avoid repeating the unsuccessful previous years and to formulate first practical steps for an exit strategy from the current situation. The same applies to the relevance of bridge building in order to narrow or even overcome fundamental gaps in the security concepts. With these goals in mind, the added value of the Cooperative Ideas presented can be underscored (even if they are old and re-invented they have to get adjusted to new circumstances).
  • The panelists on May 10 focused with their Cooperative Ideas on assessing the transformative Potential of the EU/E3+3 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This regarded the model function of certain stipulations of the Accord such as the intrusive verification measures and the mechanisms of dealing with conflicts within the established Joint Committee. Iran could become the norm-driver for strengthening the NPT. Moreover, the Agreement give us the possibility of assessing new economic and financial opportunities for Iran, the Gulf and beyond, making it a potential provider of security/stability by reducing the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The monitoring role of the International Atomic Energy Agency could work as a confidence-building measure especially for Riyadh.

The Cooperative Ideas presented above in the two centers of gravity become the two mainstays of the New POLICY FORUM Publication Series – our second tool to getting the series started would be the first step, while achieving our objective of creating sustainability is based on the assumption that after the first event is prior to the second event, thus indicating the process character of our work. We aim at publishing about another six 2-4 pp. issues (i. e. a total of some 9 issues) subsequently in the interval – thus keeping the discourse alive and us as Track II actors visible, with the next NPT PrepCom in Geneva in mind.


Donald Trump tritt sein neues Amt an: Was wird aus dem historischen E3+3-Abkommen mit Iran?


Pressemitteilung, Fachgespräch mit PD Bernd W. Kubbig am 19.01.2017 in Berlin

„Angesichts eines dramatischen Zustandes in der Region vermittelt das Nuklearabkommen einen Eindruckdavon, was in den internationalen Beziehungen möglich ist, indem man die Konflikte, die die Regionberühren, auf kooperative Weise angeht“. Mit diesen Worten beschreibt die EU-Außenministerin FedericaMogherini die Bedeutung des E3+3-Abkommens, das in der Diplomatensprache sperrig JointComprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) genannt wird. England, Frankreich und Deutschland sowie die USA,Russland und China haben es mit dem Iran jahrelang ausgehandelt und am 14. Juli 2015 in Wienunterzeichnet. In diesen Tagen stellen auch andere führende Politiker den Meilenstein-Charakter desJCPOA heraus – etwa der neu gewählte UN-Generalsekretär Guterres und der scheidende US-PräsidentBarack Obama.

Der Anlass ist, dass dieses Abkommen am 16. Januar 2016 in Kraft trat. Es feiert seinen ersten Geburtstag!In den Statements schwingt Überraschung und Freude mit, aber auch Besorgnis. Denn die führendenVertreter der Unterzeichnerstaaten blicken angespannt und nervös nach Washington. Der angehendePräsident Donald Trump hat just dieses Abkommen, eines der größten Erfolge der Obama-Administration,als das „schlechteste Abkommen aller Zeiten“ bezeichnet.

Was also wird aus diesem Abkommen unter dem neuen US-Präsidenten? Dieser Frage ging PD Dr. BerndW. Kubbig, Koordinator des ACADEMIC PEACE ORCHESTRA MIDDLE EAST, bei der aktualisierten Vorstellung einerStudie zum JCPOA nach (siehe POLICY BRIEF NO . 48 The JCPOA: A Potential ‚Game Changer‘ for a RegionalWMD/DVs Free Zone as Part of Cooperative Security Arrangements; hier eine kurze Zusammenfassung der Studie auf Deutsch).

Diese Präsentation fand nicht zufällig in den Räumen der Vereinigung Deutscher Wissenschaftler (VDWe.V.) in Berlin statt. „Wir haben uns beim Fokus auf diese brisante Frage von unseren berühmten US-Kollegen anregen lassen, die am 2. Januar 2017 den designierten Präsidenten in einem stark beachtetenBrief aufforderten, dieses Abkommen zu erhalten. Sie haben es als „starkes Bollwerk“ gegen ein iranischesNuklearwaffenprogramm bezeichnet“, betont VDW-Vorstandsmitglied Dr. Hans-Jochen Luhmann.

Alles Weitere zum Fachgespräch entnehmen Sie unserer Pressemitteilung, die Sie hier als PDF herunterladen können.

Academic Dialogue as Bridge Building Tool: The Second APOME Conference in Berlin


The second international conference organized by the Project Group of the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East in Berlin successfully served as platform for the discussion of ideas among Track II experts – many of them from the conflict region – to improve the conditions for a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons.

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Foto: Berlin Conference May 3, 2016

During the two-day conference on May 3 and 4, 2016, the participants assessed especially the potential of economic cooperation, the creation of an enrichment free zone as well as of nuclear testing. The first conference day was topped by an inspiring speech by Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the CTBTO, who underlined the necessity of a ban of nuclear testing for the region.

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Foto: Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary CTBTO

Selected Insights and impressions of the conference are published by conference participant Shemuel Meir at +972 Blog.

Side Event with Dr. Lassina Zerbo (CTBTO)


The international conference will be topped by a high class side event!

The Keynote speech by Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the CTBTO, on the evening of May 3:

“The Promise of a Nuclear Test-free Zone in the Middle East/Gulf for Stability and Cooperation”

For this special event the APOME Project Group is happy to welcome political representatives as well as scientists, think tanks members, and journalists. Please see the invitation or contact us for further information and registration.

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Second International Conference with High Class Side Event


International Conference on Creating New Momentum for Nonproliferation and Disarmament in the Middle East/Gulf after the Failed 2015 NPT Review Conference (II): Deepening and Broadening Our Amb. Laajava-centered Track II Efforts of the 2015 Frankfurt Kick-off-Conference

(3-4 May 2016, Leibniz-Gemeinschaft, Berlin)

The forthcoming conference organized by the Project Group of the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East follows up the results and inputs of the Frankfurt Kick-off Conference in December 2015. The focus of this second conference is to deepen and intensifying the discussion among Track II experts, especially from the region, to overcome the current stalemate in regional disarmament and non-proliferation.

The international conference is generously sponsored by the Foreign Ministries in Berlin and Berne as well as the German Foundation for Peace Research (DSF) and the Zentrum Oekumene of the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau and of Kurhessen-Waldeck.


Former Facilitator Amb. Jaakko Laajava, PRIF’s First Honorary Diplomat Research Fellow, Spent His Second Stay in Frankfurt!


From 22 until 26 February former Facilitator and PRIF’s First Honorary Diplomat Research Fellow, Ambassador Jaakko Laajava, spent his second stay at the institute in Frankfurt to deepen the cooperation especially with the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East.

On the common agenda of both – the fmr. Facilitator and the APOME project group – were preparations for the forthcoming Berlin Conference on “Creating New Momentum for Nonproliferation and Disarmament in the Middle East/Gulf after the Failed 2015 NPT Review Conference (II)”. This will be the follow-up Workshop of the Kick-off-Conference in Frankfurt in honor of Amb. Laajava sponsored by the Deutsche Stiftung Friedensforschung/German Foundation of Peace Research (DSF) and the Zentrum Oekumene of the Evangelische Kirche in Hessen und Nassau/Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN).

During this second stay the Honorary Diplomat Research Fellow together with the APOME Coordinator visited important representatives and experts of the Arab world, especially with discussing Track II-contributions to reducing the defining Saudi-Iranian rivalry in the region. Such an effort is regarded as a necessary condition of success for any zonal disarmament. Furthermore, they concretely explored opportunities to include Elder Statesmen and Businessmen as potential actors of change when it comes to achieving the common goal of initiating a new and enlarged conference process on a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East.

This time too, PRIF provided the social climate for Amb. Jaakko Laajava’s productive stay. He exchanged views with colleagues of the institute, especially the younger members, and, of course, with PRIF’s Director Prof. Dr. Klaus Dieter Wolf.

The International Conference “Creating a New Momentum for Nonproliferation and Disarmament in the Middle East/Gulf after the Failed 2015 Review Conference" – A Promising Kick-Off


The international conference in honor of Amb. Jaakko Laajava, sponsored by the German Foundation of Peace Research and the Zentrum Oekumene of the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN), served as an important kick-off meeting for future discussions and conferences.

On 8-9 December 2015 more than thirty experts from eleven countries discussed promising ideas and organizational matters to overcome the current stalemate on the governmental level. To cope with the regional challenges, experts from Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey took part in the conference. In this context, the special role of Amb. Laajava, PRIF’s First Honorary Diplomat Research Fellow, allows the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East (APOME) to establish new contacts in the region and to identify new opportunities calling for a New Conference Process in the Middle East/Gulf.

The importance of this cooperation was especially emphasized by Dr. Thomas Held, Executive Director of the German Foundation for Peace Research, and Detlev Knoche, a leading member of the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau, who amongst others delivered the opening remarks. Special importance has to be given to the fact that the former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane, attended the conference and made important contributions.

Based on the positive experience and input, the APOME will initiate a follow-up conference in Berlin in spring 2016 where the ideas and opportunities will be discussed in further detail.

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International Conference in Honor of Ambassador Jaakko Laajava


This is a novel event in the history of PRIF: Jaakko Laajava, former Finnish Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Security Policy was awarding the first Honorary Diplomat Research Fellowship during the Expert Workshop of the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East, which began on December 8, 2015 at our institute in Frankfurt. Ambassador Laajava was the key figure and facilitator who in recent years worked tirelessly to bring about a conference in Helsinki for discussing a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (WMDFZ). Even if the Helsinki Conference did not take place, Ambassador Laajava was able to bring the most important regional actors together for informal talks for the first time in 19 years. The international workshop in honor of Ambassador Laajava is generously supported by the German Foundation for Peace Research (DSF) and the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau. Program Director Dr. Bernd W. Kubbig of PRIF is responsible for the cooperation with Mr. Laajava, which continues until June 30, 2016 and is generously supported by the Foreign Ministries of Germany and Switzerland. The cooperation has the goal of utilizing Ambassador Laajava’s unique insight on the dynamics at work in the region to develop new ideas to overcome the current standstill in regional disarmament and non-proliferation.

First Frankfurt Peace Academy a great success


From October 18 to 22, the First Frankfurt Peace Academy took place, hosting guests from eight countries of the Middle East/Gulf. Fifteen selected students and PhD candidates from the region discussed issues concerning Nuclear Disarmament, Peace Building, and the ongoing challenges and conflicts within the region itself. They were accompanied by several experienced scholars and players of the Academic Peace Orchestra, as well as some special guests from different institutions. The Academy´s main achievement can be seen in fostering exchange among people who do not usually meet, on a personal as well as academic level. Generously funded by the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung (FES) and the Protestant Church of Hesse and Nassau (EKHN), the Academy was seen as a great success by all participants and is hopefully just the start of a series of such invaluable encounters.



PRIF is proud to host fmr. Finnish Under-Secretary Jaakko Laajava as its First Honorary Diplomat Research Fellow in Frankfurt from December 1, 2015”, Prof. Dr. Klaus Dieter Wolf, PRIF’s Executive Director, has announced today. “Our endeavor is to develop together with this highly experienced world-class diplomat new ideas on how to overcome the current international stalemate after the failed 2015 Review Conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in New York.” The main reason was that the relevant actors in the Middle East/Gulf could not agree to hold a conference in Helsinki to discuss the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles in that region. Amb. Laajava was selected by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in October 2011 to facilitate the convening of the international gathering in the Finnish capital as envisaged by all 190 NPT members in 2010.

Amb. Laajava has nevertheless done an incredible job”, adds Prof. Dr. Harald Müller, PRIF’s fmr. Executive Director and himself a participant at seven NPT Review Conferences in New York. Although the gathering on the zone did not take place in Helsinki, Jaakko Laajava succeeded in bringing all vital players from the conflict region to a series of five informal talks in Switzerland. “This was the first time after 19 years; Mr. Laajava has thus created an important communication channel”, Müller emphasized.

The agreement to jointly tackle the regional nonproliferation and disarmament challenge by presenting creative concepts is seen by all participants as a logical step of a year-long cooperation. Amb. Laajava participated during recent years in the seminars conducted by the EU Non-proliferation Consortium in Brussels consisting of four leading European institutes, including PRIF. Moreover, the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East/Gulf, an international expert group of some 150 members mainly from the conflict region, has devoted its almost 50 Policy Briefs to provide Amb. Laajava and his team with ideas, analyses and background information (see

The Ambassador underscored: “The European Union and the EU Non-proliferation Consortium have provided solid support for my efforts, and I look very much forward to working with the experts at the PRIF.” Adj. Prof. Dr. Bernd W. Kubbig, who directs the Peace Orchestra’s Project Group at the Frankfurt-based institute, stressed “Mr. Laajava’s presence at PRIF is the crowning of our past joint efforts demonstrating that experts inside and outside governments need each other”.

Frankfurt/M, November 5, 2015.

For further contact: Adj. Prof. Dr. Bernd W. Kubbig

Phone: 0049-69-95910436/75; email:



Die HSFK ist stolz darauf, einen Diplomaten der Spitzenklasse, den früheren finnischen Unterstaatssekretär Jaakko Laajava, als Gastforscher in der HSFK begrüßen zu können. Er führt damit den Titel eines Honorary Diplomat Guest Researcher“, erklärte Prof. Dr. Klaus Dieter Wolf, Geschäftsführendes Vorstandmitglied. „Gemeinsam wollen wir Ideen entwickeln, wie wir die gegenwärtige desolate Lage in der Weltgemeinschaft überwinden können, nachdem die Überprüfungskonferenz des Nuklearen Nichtverbreitungsvertrags (NPT, ‚Atomwaffensperrvertrag‘) im Frühjahr 2015 in New York gescheitert ist.“ Das Scheitern ist hauptsächlich darauf zurückzuführen, dass sich die Staaten des Mittleren Ostens/Golfs nicht darauf haben einigen können, gemeinsam in Helsinki eine Konferenz durchzuführen, auf der die Einrichtung einer Zone frei von Massenvernichtungswaffen und ihren Trägersystemen in der Konfliktregion erörtert werden sollte. Botschafter Laajava war im Oktober 2011 von UN-Generalsekretär Ban Ki-moon als sog. Facilitator ernannt worden, um diese Konferenz in der finnischen Hauptstadt auf den Weg zu bringen.

Botschafter Laajava hat eine unglaublich große Herausforderung gemeistert“, betonte Prof. Dr. Harald Müller, bis vor kurzem Geschäftsführendes Vorstandmitglied der HSFK, der selbst an sieben Überprüfungskonferenzen des NPT in New York teilgenommen hat. Obwohl das Treffen der Staaten vor allem aus der Konfliktregion in der finnischen Hauptstadt nicht zustande kam, ist es Jaakko Laajava gelungen, die wichtigsten Akteure fünf Mal zu informellen Gesprächen in der Schweiz an einen Tisch zu bringen. „Dies war das erste Mal seit 19 Jahren, Herr Laajava hat damit einen wichtigen Kommunikationskanal geschaffen“, hob Müller hervor.

Die Übereinkunft zwischen ihm und der HSFK, die regionalen Herausforderungen gemeinsam durch kreative Konzepte anzugehen, ist für alle Beteiligten ein logischer Schritt, der aus der jahrelangen Zusammenarbeit erwachsen ist. So hat Botschafter Laajava an den Veranstaltungen des EU-Konsortiums Nichtverbreitung in Brüssel teilgenommen (hierbei handelt es sich um einen Zusammenschluss der vier wichtigsten europäischen Institute, zu denen auch die HSFK zählt). Ferner haben die rund 150 Experten des Akademischen Friedensorchesters Nahost, die meisten aus der Konfliktregion, in einer Serie von fast 50 Policy Briefs Botschafter Laajava und sein Team von Anfang an ihre sicherheits- und regionalpolitischen Ideen, Analysen und Hintergrundinformationen präsentiert (siehe

Die Europäische Union und das EU-Konsortium Nichtverbreitung waren wichtige Unterstützer meiner Bemühungen und ich freue mich, mit den Fachleuten in der HSFK zusammenzuarbeiten“, unterstrich Botschafter Laajava. „Dass Herr Laajava in der HSFK arbeitet, krönt unsere bisherige Zusammenarbeit und zeigt, wie sehr die Fachleute inner- und außerhalb der Regierungen aufeinander angewiesen sind“, hob Priv.-Doz. Dr. Bernd W. Kubbig, der die Projektgruppe des Friedensorchesters in der HSFK leitet, hervor.

Frankfurt/M., 05. November 2015

Kontaktadresse: Priv.-Doz. Dr. Bernd W. Kubbig

Tel.: 0049-69-95910436/75; e-Mail:

Frankfurt Peace Academy: Preparatory Reading


The Frankfurt Peace Academy, jointly organized by the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) from October 18-22, 2015, will foster mutual understanding in the Middle East through joint research, debate, and constructive dialogue. Participants will gain unique insights into issues related to questions of regional order, arms control, and disarmament.

A productive Academy depends on focused and reliable preparation. The preparatory reading is mandatory for all participants. It is structured by five clusters which will remain important throughout the Frankfurt Peace Academy: 1) Concepts of Global and Regional Order; 2) The Multilateral Force and Observers; 3) The Nuclear Deal with Iran; 4) Islamic State; and 5) The 2015 NPT Review Conference and the Way Forward.

The preparatory reading is available here.

Call for Applications: Frankfurt Peace Academy


The Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) are offering young scholars from the Middle East/Gulf the opportunity to participate in the

Frankfurt Peace Academy – “Regional Order, Arms Control, and Disarmament in the Middle East/Gulf”

October 18-22, 2015, Frankfurt, Germany

It is the distinct goal of the Academy to foster peace and mutual understanding in the Middle East through joint research, debate, and constructive dialogue in a neutral political environment. Participants of the Academy will gain unique insights into issues related to questions of regional order, arms control, and disarmament and are provided the chance to advance their knowledge and skills in these areas. The individual sessions of the Academy are chaired by experienced scholars and practitioners from the Middle East/Gulf and beyond.

The Academy is aimed at, but not limited to, young scholars from the field of political science, international security, international relations and international studies. All participants are expected to complete a short paper dealing with one aspect of the Academy. There is no participation fee; travel costs and accommodation will be covered for the selected participants.

Applicants must be advanced students, graduates or PhD candidates; under 35 years of age; based in the Middle East; and fluent English speakers. Applications from women are encouraged. This time, we are looking for applicants from Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon, Turkey, and Palestine. A certificate of participation will be issued.

Deadline for applications is July 1, 2015.

Please use the application form and send it to Mrs. Marisa Hartmann ( at the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and Adj. Prof. Dr. Bernd W. Kubbig ( at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt.

Compact Study and Side-Event at United Nations


New study of the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East "A WMD/DVs Free Zone for the Middle East: Taking Stock, Moving Forward Towards Regional Security"

The lately published study by Bernd W. Kubbig and Christian Weidlich analyzes the path towards the Helsinki Conference on the creation of a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East, taking into account diplomatic developments and stumbling blocks. Furthermore it provides constructive proposals for a process of confidence-building and develops a comprehensive arms reduction and disarmament approach.

In addition the study sums up the five-year work of the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East. The study was made possible through support provided by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation.

It was presented at a side event to the NPT Review Conference in New York on 4th May by Bernd W. Kubbig and commented by official representatives of the German and Swiss NPT delegations. 

The Report is available at PRIF and as a free PDF download.

Skyrocketing costs for military defense system MEADS? HSFK-Report Reviews the Military Mega-Project


Laid out originally as a trilateral project, the USA as the major partner have already withdrawn from the plan of purchasing the defense system MEADS (Medium Extended Air Defense System). Too high were the expected costs, the performance was considered unsatisfactory. After an unsuccessful search for new partners the Federal Government is now facing a decision: whether to continue with the project single-handedly or not. On the one hand proponents are urging to purchase the system as quickly as possible, on the other hand the military mega-project is highly controversial.

In HSFK-Report 8/2014 Die Abwehrwaffe MEADS auf dem parlamentarischen Prüfstand Bernd W. Kubbig conducts a thorough examination of the project. His analysis is based on four criteria: (1) Is there a serious threat and would MEADS be the right instrument to fulfill the three main purposes assigned to it? (2) Would MEADS be technically feasible? (3) Would MEADS be financially feasible? (4) Could MEADS contribute to new tensions and arms races? The author points out the weaknesses and blind spots of the assessments made so far and advises forcefully against making hasty decisions under time pressure.

The research study was presented on March 18 at a press conference in Berlin organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. The report is available at PRIF for 6€ and as a free PDF download (in German).

High-level Conference of the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin


The Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East organized an international conference at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin on March 11-12, 2015. Against the backdrop of the upcoming Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, 25 experts mainly from the Middle East and the Gulf region discussed the question of how the “Middle East Conference” on the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery can be realized in the future.

The highlight of the two-day event was a high-level panel discussion. Speakers included Ambassador Christoph Eichhorn, Acting Federal Commissioner for Disarmament and Arms Control in the Federal Foreign Office of Germany; Ambassador Jaakko Laajava, Special Envoy for the “Middle East Conference” and Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland; Ambassador Adam M. Scheinman, Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Non-Proliferation, U.S. Department of State; HRH Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, Chairman of King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Riyadh; and Ambassador Jeremy Issacharoff, Principle Deputy Director-General of the Foreign Ministry of Israel.

The event was sponsored by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland. It was organized by Bernd W. Kubbig, Christian Weidlich, Friederike Groll, and Lara Heckmann.

Participation at International Conferences in Prague


On December 4-5, Project Director Dr. Bernd W. Kubbig and Christian Weidlich actively participate in a conference titled "The Prague Agenda 2014" at the Foreign Ministry in Prague. The conference is organized by the Foreign Ministry of the Czech Republic and the Institute of International Relations, Prague. The aim of the international conference is to further engage with issues related to the Prague Agenda which was announced by US President Obama in April 2009. Dr. Kubbig will furthermore participate in a conferene on "The Impact of the Crisis in Ukraine on the Future of Arms Control" on December 3, organized by the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung in Prague and the Institute of International Relations. As part of the conference, Dr. Kubbig will give a presentation on the Implications of the Ukrainian Crisis for Conventional Arms Control. 

Report: Side-Event at the 2014 NPT PrepCom on May 6 at the United Nations in New York


The Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East of the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF), Germany, organized an official side-event at the 2014 Preparatory Committee of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) 2015 Review Conference on May 6, 2014. Under the title “The WMD Free Zone in the Middle East: Constructive Proposals for the Helsinki Process by a Six Continent Initiative” an panel of eight experts provided valuable proposals to accelerate the diplomatic process aimed at establishing a zone free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery vehicles (DVs) in the Middle East. More than 75 diplomats, UN staff as well as non-governmental organizations and media representatives participated in the side-event.

Mandated by the 2010 Final Document of the NPT Review Conference in accordance with the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference decision, the Middle East Conference on the establishment of a WD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East could not take place as planned in Helsinki in 2012 and, since then, informal consultations have been conducted in Glion, Switzerland, by the Facilitator of the Helsinki Conference, Amb. Jaakko Laajava of Finland, the United States, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom as well as regional states.

In her opening statement at the side-event H.E. Christiane Hohmann, Head of Division, Nuclear Disarmament and Arms Control, Federal Foreign Office of Germany, reiterated Germany’s strong support for what has become known as the new Helsinki Process. Mrs. Hohmann especially emphasized the need for compromise-oriented solutions as the major elements on the way to a successful conference: “All sides will have to be prepared to enter into this endeavor with an open mind and a willingness to look for feasible ways to achieve the goal of a zone.” Along the same lines, Mrs. Michèle Auga, Executive Director, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung’s New York Office, underscored that “the way forward will certainly need new mutual confidence-building measures. While there have been some attempts in the past, including the civil society initiative, these efforts need to be significantly increased and developed.” H.E. Amb. Lars Backström, Deputy Facilitator of the Helsinki Conference, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, announced the next round of preparatory consultations to be held on May 14-15, 2014, in Geneva, Switzerland, for the first time under the UN umbrella: “Small steps remain the only viable way forward. The task ahead will be difficult but by no means impossible.” He expressed his hope that regional states continue the consultations, which are the first direct talks between Israel, Iran, and Arab states in 20 years, in good faith as well as ready for compromise and concessions.

In his introductory remarks, Adj. Prof. Dr. Bernd W. Kubbig, PRIF, the moderator of the panel, underscored the need to provide experiences and ideas from successful contexts in terms of non-nuclear zones and nuclear arms control/reduction measures: “Given the difficult situation in general in the Middle East and in particular with respect to the pre-Helsinki talks in Glion and Geneva our approach is designed to offer (not to ‚export’) for our Middle East colleagues some incentives and broader perspectives for learning, i.e. for adopting and adapting experiences, successes, and opportunities of improvement.” The eight distinguished experts from six continents concretized this guideline by providing lessons learned from their experiences in other zonal and historical contexts such as the East-West conflict.

Middle East disarmament discussions usually focus on the nuclear dimension and the Israeli nuclear arsenal while ignoring the other dimensions, which are part of the Helsinki Mandate. In his presentation, Dave Steward, FW DeKlerk Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa, made the point that South Africa occupies a unique position in history in being the only state that has unilaterally and voluntarily discarded not only its nuclear arsenal, but also its biological and chemical weapons as well as its missile programs. “We would not be too unhappy if South Africa were to share its unique position in disarmament history in the future,” he continued and encouraged the Middle Eastern states to follow the South African disarmament example. Israel usually dismisses the South African case as a role model because it was ‘so different’ – nevertheless, Pretoria’s way of disarming itself is for many experts the most likely model Israel might follow.

“In the case of Argentina and Brazil, the ‘management of trust’ in the nuclear area by the Argentine-Brazilian Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC) with its emphasis on verification may provide a framework for ‘neighbor-to-neighbor’ safeguards and mutual control at a regional level,” said Prof. Dr. Emiliano Buis, NPSGlobal Foundation, Buenos Aires, Argentina. He further proposed that as a concrete lesson learned it is advisable that, perhaps managed by Amb. Laajava and his team, a representative group of Middle East states meets with ABACC officials do discuss verification mechanisms.

The importance of building dialogue structures was also emphasized by Prof. Tsutomu Ishiguri, Kyoto University of Foreign Studies former Director of the UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, Japan. By sharing his first-hand experience of facilitating the negotiations of the Central Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty, he further highlighted that “it is important to introduce a habit of dialogue among the regional states.” Dr. Tanya Ogilvie-White, Centre for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, said “the South Pacific Zone was above all else an environmental security initiative, whereas the Bangkok Treaty was and still is just one part of a much bigger and more ambitious regional security-community-building effort that goes far deeper than WMD issues.” Both dimensions, the environmental one and the security-related one should be of concern in the Middle East.

Adj. Prof. Dr. Kwa Chong Guan, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, added that in view the virtually no existing dialogue structures in the Middle East, it may be “helpful to adopt the ‘ASEAN Way’ to start an informal communication process which may provide for the necessary mental change in security matters from unilateral to cooperative attitudes.” Noting its successful use in other negotiations, this undertaking could be supported by the establishment of a technical experts group, helping to create the willingness to experiment and try to solve specific technical problems even before political agreement on these problems has been reached stated Adj. Prof. Dr. Edward M. Ifft, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, Washington D.C., United States.

In his presentation Prof. Dr. Robert A. Jacobs, Hiroshima Peace Institute, Hiroshima, Japan, countered the often met prejudice that nuclear weapons do not harm unless they are used on the battlefield by stating:  “it is vital to put the negative impact of the production and testing of nuclear weapons of the political agenda and add it as a new dimension to the humanitarian discussion.” Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba, Hiroshima Peace Institute and former Mayor of Hiroshima, Japan, spoke in favor of developing creative ideas for the conflict region to tackle lacking empathy and patience in cumbersome, yearlong incremental processes of disarmament. He proposed that cities should become more involved to increase efforts of face-to-face contacts.  Specifically, he proposed “peace parks” as “civil oases” where people can meet from countries whose governments do not talk to one another.

In his concluding remarks, Adj. Prof. Dr. Bernd W. Kubbig, PRIF, underscored that a zonal reduction/disarmament process should be regarded as the nucleus of a cooperative security concept, i.e. in the sense that the security dilemma in the Middle East is not carved in stone, but has been human made and, therefore, can be altered again: “real security cannot be achieved against, but only with your neighbor(s) and under certain circumstances, less weapons can mean more security.”

The side-event was generously sponsored by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the German Foundation for Peace Research, and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

Side-Event of the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle Eastat the 2014 NPT PrepCom at the United Nations in New York


Download FlyerThe Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East will organize an official side-event at the 2014 NPT PrepCom in New York on May 6, 2014, from 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. in Conference Room “C” of the United Nations headquarters. Under the title “The WMD Free Zone in the Middle East: Constructive Proposals for the Helsinki Process by a Six Continent Initiative” we have set up an excellent panel of distinct colleagues. Speakers include H.E. Christiane Hohmann, Head of Division, Nuclear Disarmament and Arms Control, Federal Foreign Office of Germany; H.E. Amb. Lars Backström, Deputy Facilitator of the Helsinki Conference, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland; Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba, former Mayor of Hiroshima, Japan; Prof. Dr. Tsutomu Ishiguri, former Director of the UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific; and Mrs. Michèle Auga, Executive Director, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung New York Office.

The goal is to provide experiences and ideas from successful contexts in terms of non-nuclear zones and nuclear arms control/reduction measures. Given the difficult situation in general in the Middle East and in particular with respect to the rocky pre-Helsinki talks in Glion/Switzerland, our approach is designed to offer (not to ‚export’ or even impose) for our Middle East colleagues some incentives and broader perspectives for learning, i.e. for adopting and adapting experiences, successes, and opportunities of improvement related to other policy fields. For the Middle East experts this implies giving up the traditionally fixed and non-compromise-oriented positions which lie at the heart of the difficult road to the Helsinki Conference where a zone free of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons (WMD) plus their delivery vehicles (DVs) such as missiles is to be discussed for the Middle East. This event could not take place as planned in Helsinki in 2012 and, since then, both official and informal consultations have been conducted without major breakthroughs on the official level.

The Orchestra's New York side-event is another effort of assisting Ambassador Jaakko Laajava and his team in their impressive endeavor in making the Conference in the Finnish capital happen, successful, and sustainable. We see the necessary conference process as a vital element of a regional peace strategy which aims at reducing if not overcoming the specifically pronounced security dilemma in the region, defined as zero-sum thinking, unilateral arms build-ups, and intense threat perceptions. As an alternative, we suggest as the alternative a (more) cooperative security concept which builds, among others, on the principles that real security cannot be achieved against, but only with your neighbor(s) and that under certain circumstances, less weapons can mean more security.

The side-event is generously sponsored by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the German Foundation for Peace Research, and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

Orchestra on Air: Radio Interview with Bernd W. Kubbig


Bernd W. Kubbig, Project Director of the Academic Peace Orchestra, was interviewed by the North German Broadcasting (Norddeutscher Rundfunk, NDR) on the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons and the chances for establishing a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East. The interview was conducted by Dirk Eckert for the biweekly radio broadcast "Streikräfte und Strategien",

The manuscript is available here (German only).

Orchestra at Amman WMD Forum: The Case for Missiles


The Academic Peace Orchestra participated in the WMD Forum in Amman, Jordan. Christian Weidlich, co-editor of the Policy Brief series, gave a presentation on the role of missiles and their potential positive contribution towards establishing modest and farreaching confidence- and security building measures on the incremental path towards a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the MIddle East. The annual conference in Amman is one of the largest meetings on weapons of mass destruction and their disarmament in the Arab world with more than 100 participants and is organized by the Arab Institute for Security Studies.

EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Conference 2013


More than 300 experts gathered in Brussels from September 30 to October 1 for the 2013 EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Conference. The agenda focussed on non-proliferation issues of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons as well as small arms and light weapons. The conference was hosted by the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium and addressed by Pierre Vimont, Executive Secretary General of the EU External Action Service (EEAS), and Maciej Popowski, Deputy Secretary General of the EEAS. Keynote addresses were given by Dr Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary, Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, and H.E. Linas Linkevicius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lithuania. Christian Weidlich, co-editor of the Policy Brief series, participated on behalf of the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East.

Participation at the Experts Workshop: "The Future of Arms Control"


Project Director, Bernd W. Kubbig, actively participated in the experts workshop: “The Future of Arms Control – Cooperative Arms Limitations and Reductions in Times of Global Change”. The workshop, jointly organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) and the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, University of Hamburg (IFSH), was held in Berlin on September 9 and 10, 2013.

The workshop targeted a wealth of arms control related issues, in the broadened context of traditional, primarily geopolitical, aspects thereof as well as newly-developing security concerns such as the threat of transnational terrorist networks and the proliferation of novel military technologies, including cyber warfare and drone technology to name but a few. Foci were further placed on various regional as well as global dynamics.

Dr. Kubbig presented his findings regarding a “Missile Free Zone in the Middle East”.

Particularly informing were discussions with Ambassador Rolf Nikel, head of the Directorate General for Disarmament and Arms Control in the Federal Foreign Office.

Orchestra Participation at the expert conference: "The Prague Agenda in 2013 - Challenges and Prospects"


Project Director, Bernd W. Kubbig, participated and presented his research during the academic conference entitled: The Global Zero and Beyond: Theory, Politics and Regional Perspectives”. The conference as well as the follow-on expert workshops which focused on “Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons in Europe: Prospects and Implications of Future Reductions” were jointly hosted by the Institute of International Relations, Metropolitan University, Prague and the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Charles University, Prague, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic on September 5 and 6, 2013.

The conference and expert workshops discussed possibilities of linking the issue of non-strategic nuclear weapons with the upcoming round of strategic talks between the U.S. and Russia and in view of the Preparatory Committee of the NPT Review Conference.

Dr. Kubbig presented his research entitled: “Obama’s Prague Speech and the Helsinki Middle East Conference: Assessing U.S./NATO Missile Defense in and for Europe as a Response to Iran’s Missile Program – Between Global and Regional Zero”.

Particularly fruitful were discussions with Rose Gottemoeller, U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security.  

Presenting Analyses of the Sanctions Regime against Iran at the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies


Project Director, Bernd W. Kubbig along with Hannah Broecker, participated in a workshop entitled “Sanctions and Non-Proliferation: Addressing the Nuclear Crisis in Iran and North Korea” on August 8. Organized by the Centre for Asian Security Studies at the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies (IFS), the workshop was, amongst others, attended by Prof. Etel Solingen, UC Irvine and H.E. Rolf Ekéus, former head of the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq and former ambassador of Sweden to the U.S.

Discussing the history, economic and political effectiveness of the sanctions regime against the Islamic Republic of Iran, they presented an analysis of the factors which may lead to increased policy effectiveness of the sanctions regime. These include, primarily, the treatment of the Iranian nuclear program not as an isolated issue but within the wider and historic security-related framework between the U.S. and the IRI.   

Orchestra Participation at the Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conferenc


Project Director Bernd W. Kubbig actively participated at the Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference. The event took place on April 8th and 9th in Washington, D.C. convening some 800 experts from 45 countries and international organizations.

With a traditional focus on the emerging trends in nuclear nonproliferation, strategic stability, deterrence, disarmament, and nuclear energy, this year’s conference paid particular attention to the humanitarian dimensions of nuclear deterrence policies, the New START agreement in combination with the largely stalled Prague agenda as well as the efficacy of sanctions and regime-change policies and their implications for non-proliferation. Regarding the last of these topics, a discussion between Meghan O’Sullivan and Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt has been particularly enlightening. 

Cooperation with Finnish Undersecretary of State Jaakko Laajava - Briefing the German Bundestag


Project Director Bernd W. Kubbig was invited to participate in an expert hearing in the German Bundestag which jointly addressed the three subcommittees of ‘Demobilization’, ‘Civilian Crisis Prevention’, and ‘the United Nations’ on March 20th. The briefing focused on a presentation by the Finnish Undersecretary of State, Jaakko Laajava, selected by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as the facilitator of the postponed, yet to-be-held Middle East Conference on the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles which has been mandated within the context of the 1995 NPT Review Conference. The briefing presented the status of discussions toward preparatory meetings as well as the Middle East Conference itself.

Following this event, Dr. Kubbig held a presentation on the same topic in the subcommittee on ‘Demobilization, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation’.

8th Performance of the Academic Peace Orchestra - Engagign Iran, Afghanistan and the U.S.


The 8th Conference of the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East has been convened in Dubai on March 9th to 11th on the topic of ‘Engaging Iran, the USA, and Afghanistan on Development, Security, and Regional Cooperation - Perspectives for Cooperation as Potential Stabilizers for Afghanistan – 2014 and beyond’.

With the withdrawal of international combat troops in 2014 and the concomitant transition of responsibility concerning security issues to Afghan hands, the international community will have to prove that they are committed partners to the Afghan people and its government. In this context, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States of America are salient investors and important partners to the Afghan government in addressing underdevelopment, security, and issues of regional cooperation. This conference has been convened with the aim to address perspectives for regional cooperation on topics of development and security politics in Afghanistan between these vital players. It has proven rather successful in fathoming common interests of the parties involved and to evaluating perspectives for cooperation and a joint engagement. Participants from Afghanistan, Iran, the US, Canada and Germany were present during this Working Group.

This Conference was sponsored by the Federal Department for Foreign Affairs of Switzerland

Orchestra participation at the Conference “Maintaining the Momentum and Supporting the Facilitator - Prospects for a Zone Free from Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East” in Amman, Jordan


Project Director Bernd W. Kubbig, along with Sven-Eric Fikenscher, Christian Weidlich, Michael Haas, and Orchestra member Sabahat Khan will be attending the conference Maintaining the Momentum and Supporting the Facilitator – Prospects for a Zone Free from Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East, from November 13 to 15, 2012, organized by the Arab Institute for Security Studies (ACSIS) and the Partnership for Global Security. The Conference brings together representatives of various Arab governments as well as academia from the region, the U.S. and Europe. The project group will present the Routledge study "Arms Control and Missile Proliferation in the Middle East" in a session devoted in its entirety to the topic of  Delivery Vehicles and the Zone.

The Academic Peace Ochestra at the EU Non-proliferation Consortium, Brussels


The Orchestra is happy to announce its representation at the EU Non-proliferation Consortium on November 5 and 6 in Brussels, organized in close cooperation with the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. With the focus of promoting confidence building and in support of a process, aimed at the establishment of a WMD and means of delivery free zone in the Middle East, the Consortium brings together foreign policy institutions and research centers from across Europe. Project Director Bernd W. Kubbig contributed a policy paper entitled “Conceptualizing CSBMs Properly in the Delivery Vehicles (DVs) Sector for the Middle East Conference (MEC)” for discussion during the seminar.

Book Presentation Tour to Mexico and the United States


Project Director, Bernd W. Kubbig, undertook a journey to Mexico (October 1- 5, 2012) and was further joined in the U.S. by Sven-Eric Fikenscher and Christian Weidlich (October 6- 18, 2012). Meetings focused on the one hand on the presentation of the recently published study “Arms Control and Missile Proliferation in the Middle East”. On the other hand, relevant topics of the current project regarding the facilitation and sustainability of a process leading to a Middle Eastern zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles were discussed.

The venues of the book presentation included, among others, the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations, as well as the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at Georgetown University, the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University, in cooperation with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) as well as the Arms Control Association (ACA).

The highlight of the presentation tour was a book launch event at the United Nations in the context of the sessions of the First Committee. This presentation was organized in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and supported by the governments of Austria, Finland, and Japan. H.E. Ambassador Kazuo Kodama, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, held the welcoming remarks. Besides Kubbig, Fikenscher, and Weidlich, the panel also included Prof. Dr. Dinshaw J. Mistry, Associate Professor of Political Science and Asian Studies at the University of Cincinatti and Mr. Valère Mantels, Deputy Chief, Weapons of Mass Destruction Branch at the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs. After Mr. Mantels thoughtful and substantive comments, H.E. Ambassador Janne Taalas of Finland chaired the productive discussion in a lively manner.

In addition to the book presentations, the project group was warmly received by, and had the possibility to discuss with, many different government representatives, academia, and civil society.

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Book presentation at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation


Project Director Bernd W. Kubbig along with Roberta Mulas (Project Group), Sven-Eric Fikenscher (Goethe University, Frankfurt), and Martin Senn (Innsbruck University, Austria) was in Vienna on June 27, 2012, to present the recently published study "Arms Control and Missile Proliferation in the Middle East". The event, hosted by the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP), was warmly received by a wide audience of 50 among diplomats and international organizations' representatives. The insights gained through the study on how to gradually reach a Missile Free Zone in the Middle East have guided the presentations of Bernd W. Kubbig, Sven-Eric Fikenscher, and Martin Senn. The Policy Brief series of the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East, along with the respective project, have been delineated by Roberta Mulas. Our gratitude goes to the whole team of the VCDNP for hosting us and organizing this successful event. 

Please click here to download the invitation and summary of the presentation.

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Paper presented at BISA-ISA conference


Roberta Mulas, member of the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East Project Group at PRIF and co-editor of the Policy Brief series, just returned from the BISA-ISA Conference. The British International Studies Association and the International Studies Association held their Joint Conference in Edinburgh on June 20-22, 2012. Roberta Mulas presented a paper titled “’Does right make might?’: A comparative analysis of regional denuclearization”, which she co-authored with Francis Baert from the United Nations University in Bruges (UNU-CRIS). The paper was presented in a panel by the topic “Nuclear deterrence and Non-proliferation: 21st Century Challenges” chaired by Jan Ruzicka and including also Susan Martin and Dighton Fiddner. The audience received the paper with strong interest underlining the importance of better understanding the topic of regional denuclearization.

Dr. Kubbig at HCoC Annual Meeting


Project Director Bernd W. Kubbig took part in the eleventh Annual Meeting of the Hague Code of Conduct (HCoC) as a member of the German delegation. The instrument, created in 2002 and now comprising 134 states, is meant to regulate the area of ballistic missiles which could potentially carry weapons of mass destruction. The signatories pledge to exercise “maximum possible restraint in the development, testing, and deployment of ballistic missiles capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction” (see Austrian Foreign Ministry, Hague Code of Conduct web page). The yearly meeting of the HCoC took place in Vienna from May 31st to June 1st, 2012.

During the two intense days Dr. Kubbig had a chance to participate in the discussions and to undertake insightful meetings with senior diplomatic officers. Chief among them was the exchange of views with Ms. Nineta Barbulescu of Romania, which held the chairmanship of HCoC for 2011-2012. Her effective role as chairwoman of the HCoC was warmly applauded in Vienna. A particularly successful activity promoted by the Romanian chairmanship was the two-days seminar “Ten Years of International Cooperation”, held in Bucharest on April 26-27, 2012. Ms. Barbulescu congratulated Dr. Kubbig for the activities of the Academic Peace orchestra Middle East as well as for the publication of the book “Arms Control and Missile Proliferation in the Middle East” (in the photo Ms. Barbulescu with the book in her hands accompanied by Dr. Kubbig).

Other highlights of Dr. Kubbig’s visit to Vienna were the productive exchanges with the other members of the German delegation, comprising among others Ambassador Rüdiger Lüdeking, Ms. Susanne Baumann, and Mr. Darius Rahimi-Laridjani. Also, a meeting with Ronald Sturm, Head of HCoC  Immediate Central Contact/Executive Secretariat, brought interesting insights and so did the contacts with the colleagues of the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.


"A Middle East Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction" conference by the United Nations Association Edinburgh


Christian Weidlich, member of the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East Project Group at PRIF and co-editor of the Policy Brief series, was invited by the United Nations Association Edinburgh to attend the major international conference on “A Middle East Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction” on May 28, 2012. The event, organized by Alec Gaines and Gori Donn, was held at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh and chaired by Sir Jeremy Greenstock, former UK Ambassador to the United Nations. The sessions and presentations offered the possibility to meet and discuss with more than 120 civil society representatives, politicians, and diplomats. The ideas and publications of the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East with regard to the envisaged 2012 Middle East Conference on a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East have been received with strong interest and great accordance. The conference report is now available.

Mr. Rasmussen Is Traveling Lightly to Chicago


Central expectations of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen have not been fulfilled

By Bernd W. Kubbig

When NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen boards his plane for the upcoming Chicago Summit of the Alliance, at which missile defense will play an important role, he will be traveling lightly. This is in stark contrast to the last high-level gathering in Lisbon of November 2010. There Rasmussen could present himself as a political heavy weight, since he was instrumental in making it a milestone event: the Alliance adopted the protection of its territory and population against inimical ballistic missiles as a new central element of its doctrine.

Mr. Rasmussen was the leading European figure who had emphasized early on that President Barack Obama’s approach to missile defense was so attractive that it could not be rejected. In the wake of the “grave and growing” missile threat, the Secretary General paved the way for accepting the Obama offer as the basis for NATO’s new orientation. He underscored that the concept aims at protecting in the first place European (and not American) territory against already existing hostile ballistic missiles. Mr. Rasmussen welcomed that the U.S. systems allow integration of Alliance programs at negligibly low cost. He also echoed officials in Washington that the American interceptors would not neutralize Russian nuclear forces thereby removing a major concern in Moscow. NATO’s highest representative has been especially optimistic that adversarial Cold War thinking could be overcome through intensified missile defense cooperation.

Meanwhile Mr. Rasmussen has rather become a light weight when it comes to missile defense. Some of his basic assumptions have turned out to be exaggerated or elusive, while some of his major expectations have not become reality. Even within the Alliance the “grave” threat is seen as less dramatic. Rasmussen has listed over 30 states working on advanced missile technology but he has included even members of NATO. This explains why recent official U.S. and German lists are much shorter. Meanwhile the Secretary General admits that there is no immediate menace, but that a “potential threat is real”. In the history of the Alliance he is the first leader who does not name the major source of the missile menace. The reason is that there is no real consensus among the allies on this issue. Most of them point to the “growing threat” posed by a single country – Iran. Yet, some East European members are more afraid of Russia.

It is ironic that the new American goal of protecting the entire European continent has led Mr. Rasmussen to contradict the Obama administration in a crucial point which allows him to pretend that he has indispensable high-tech baggage on board. Contrary to unequivocal statements by senior American officials, Mr. Rasmussen claims that the U.S. contribution “on its own is not enough”. To be effective in defending the whole continent, additional European sensors and interceptors are necessary which need to be integrated into a single NATO network.

Rasmussen’s statement raises the fundamental question of redundancy and nurtures doubts about the additional value of such a network to the American system in Europe. Furthermore, the Secretary General creates the false impression that the existing European interceptors such as the Patriot – originally designed for the defense of troops – can be used for the protection of the continent. This is neither feasible nor affordable. Already in 1999, a report by the U.S. Department of Defense concluded that the Patriot option was impractical for providing territorial defense.

Before the Lisbon summit Rasmussen dwarfed NATO’s collective costs. He spoke of “less than €200 million more from our common budget, over 20 years”; this amount adds costs of €800 million “spread over 14 years, and shared by all allies”. These figures, which weighed heavily in selling the new approach to the European partners, have become elusive. We now need serious ones. Mr. Rasmussen must explain how many additional European sensors and interceptors are needed at what cost in which concrete and credible scenario against how many assumed (Iranian) ballistic missiles. The price tag will be high and Rasmussen’s slogan of “smart defense” will not do for missile defense; it promises more security not by more resources, but by better cooperation among the allies.

The Secretary General’s plane to Chicago will be fairly empty, because the Russians are no longer on board. The fact that the NATO-Russia Council does not celebrate its tenth anniversary in Chicago is more than a diplomatic disaster. It is living proof that missile defense as the hoped for cooperative tool has turned into a confrontational device between East and West. To check Tehran by missile defense while losing Moscow is not a security gain.

Mr. Rasmussen can become a heavy weight again if he succeeds in overcoming this harmful situation by brokering an arms control deal which takes the Western and Russian concerns into account. In addition, it will be vital to look, in Chicago and thereafter, for credible areas of promising cooperation which signal to the Russians that they are still important partners. One area that needs more attention is the plan of the international community to hold a conference in 2012 on the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and of their delivery vehicles in the Middle East. In view of the delicate security situation there, working together with Russia to make such a gathering happen, successful, and sustainable is vital as a de-escalatory device at this very moment.




Mit leeren Koffern nach Chicago

Zentrale Erwartungen von NATO Generalsekretär Anders Fogh Rasmussen haben sich bei der Raketenabwehr nicht erfüllt

Von Bernd W. Kubbig

Zum bevorstehenden NATO-Gipfel in Chicago reist Generalsekretär Anders Fogh Rasmussen mit leeren Koffern, wenn es um die nach wie vor kontroverse Raketenabwehr geht. Das war beim letzten Spitzentreffen der Allianz im November 2010 in Lissabon völlig anders. Bereits im Vorfeld war der Däne ein politisches Schwergewicht. Für ihn waren Barack Obamas neue Abwehrpläne für das Bündnis so vorteilhaft, dass man sie nicht ablehnen konnte. In Lissabon beschloss die Allianz erstmals, den Schutz des NATO-Territoriums und der Bevölkerung zu einer zentralen Aufgabe zu machen. Dies ist mit auf Rasmussens Einsatz zurückzuführen.

Mit dem Verweis auf die „schwerwiegende und wachsende“ Raketenbedrohung warb der Generalsekretär damals bereits stark für Obamas neue Abwehrpläne, vorrangig den europäischen Kontinent gegen bereits einsetzbare feindliche Raketen zu schützen. Die Programme der Allianz, so der NATO-Chef, können zudem in das US-Abwehrsystem äußerst kostengünstig integriert werden, das seinerseits die Nuklearwaffen Russlands nicht gefährde. Vor allem aber versprach sich Rasmussen von einer vertieften Zusammenarbeit bei der Raketenabwehr mit Russland, das Kalte Kriegsdenken zu überwinden.

Auch wenn sich die Allianz in Chicago Fortschritte bei der Raketenabwehr attestieren will – wesentliche Annahmen und Erwartungen des Generalsekretärs haben sich nicht erfüllt oder sich gar ins Gegenteil verkehrt. Rasmussen ist in Sachen Raketenabwehr inzwischen zu einem Leichtgewicht geworden.

Selbst in der Allianz wird die „schwerwiegende“ Raketenbedrohung als weniger dramatisch angesehen. Rasmussens führt mehr als 30 Länder auf, die an Raketenprojekten arbeiten. Allerdings gehören hierzu selbst NATO-Mitglieder. Dies erklärt mit, warum offizielle amerikanische und deutsche Listen mit „über 20“ bzw. mit nur 11 Staaten wesentlich kürzer sind. Inzwischen räumt Rasmussen selbst ein, dass es keine akute Gefahr gebe, sondern das die „potenzielle Bedrohung real“ sei. In der Geschichte der Allianz ist er der erste führende Repräsentant, der nicht konkret sagt, woher die Hauptbedrohung rührt. Der Grund hierfür ist, dass es keinen Konsens im Bündnis gibt. Die meisten NATO-Staaten verweisen auf den Iran; einige osteuropäische Länder sehen sich hingegen in erster Linie von Russland bedroht.

Rasmussen steht unter dem Druck, einen eigenständigen Beitrag der Europäer ausmachen zu müssen. Im Gegensatz zu führenden US-Vertretern behauptet der NATO-Chef, dass das amerikanische Abwehrsystem in Europa „für sich genommen nicht ausreicht“, um den gesamten Kontinent zu schützen. Zusätzliche europäische Radars und Abfangraketen seien notwendig, die in ein einziges NATO-Netzwerk integriert werden müssten.

Für Chicago gilt: Fortschritte lassen sich nur beim sich im Aufbau befindlichen US-Abwehrsystem bescheinigen. Die derzeitigen Programme der Europäer leisten jedoch keinen zusätzlichen Beitrag, um ihren Kontinent gegen feindliche Raketen zu schützen. Das geht auch aus der Antwort der Bundesregierung auf die Große Anfrage der SPD-Bundestagsfraktion eindeutig hervor. Der Generalsekretär tut indes so, als habe er unentbehrliches High-Tech-Gepäck an Bord, über das Washington nicht verfügt. Entsprechend aufgestockt, so Rasmussen, könnten die bereits in Europa vorhandenen Sensoren und Abfangraketen wie die deutsche Patriot auch zukünftig Teile von Europa schützen. Dies aber ist weder technisch machbar noch finanziell möglich. Denn diese Systeme sind zur Verteidigung von Truppen ausgelegt. Bereits 1999 hielt ein Pentagon-Bericht die Patriot-Option zur Flächenverteidigung für nicht praktikabel.

Schon vor dem Lissabonner Gipfel hatte Rasmussen mit der Devise ‚Wenig Geld für viel Sicherheit’ für die Raketenabwehr geworben. Der Kostenaspekt war damals ein gewichtiger Aspekt, der es den NATO-Mitgliedern leichter machte, das neue Abwehrkonzept anzunehmen. Aber heute erweist es sich als leichtfertig, dass Rasmussen die einzelnen zusätzlichen Länderbeiträge außen vor gelassen hat. Er muss verlässlich erklären, wie viele zusätzliche Sensoren und Abfangraketen die Europäer für welche konkreten und glaubwürdigen Szenarien gegen wie viele (iranische) Raketen benötigen. Die Kosten für diese Dubletten könnten leicht in die Milliarden gehen. Für die Raketenabwehr bleibt deshalb Rasmussens neuer Slogan von der „Smarten Verteidigung“ ein leeres Versprechen; ihm zufolge führen ,„nicht mehr Ressourcen, sondern mehr Kooperation und Kohärenz“ zu mehr Sicherheit.

Rasmussens Flugzeug nach Chicago wird recht leer sein, denn entgegen seinen Erwartungen sind Vertreter Russlands nicht an Bord. Dass der NATO-Russland-Rat seinen zehnjährigen Geburtstag nicht in Chicago feiert, ist ein diplomatisches Desaster. Es zeigt, dass der Glaube von Lissabon an die Raketenabwehr als Mittel der Kooperation zwischen Ost und West keine Grundlage hat. Mehr noch: Dieses Rüstungsprogramm ist wieder zu einem Hauptgrund für eine konfrontative Konstellation geworden, denn Moskau sieht seine Nuklearwaffen perspektivisch durch die US-Abwehrsystemen bedroht. Den Iran mit der Raketenabwehr in Schach zu halten, aber Russland als Partner zu verlieren – das ist auch für die Allianz kein Sicherheitsgewinn.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen könnte wieder zu einem Schwergewicht in Sachen Raketenabwehr werden, wenn es ihm gelänge, mit einem Konzept zur Rüstungsreduzierung den Sicherheitsinteressen beider Seiten gerecht zu werden; im Kern müsste es Abwehrsysteme gegen russische taktische Atomwaffen aufwiegen. Ferner wird es in Chicago und danach wichtig sein, nach vielversprechenden Feldern der Zusammenarbeit zu suchen, die den Russen signalisieren, dass sie relevante Partner sind. Hier drängt sich die von der Staatengemeinschaft für 2012 anvisierte Konferenz auf, die im Nahen Osten eine Zone frei von Massenvernichtungsmitteln und Trägersystemen schaffen möchte. In der gegenwärtig explosiven Lage könnte bereits die gemeinsame Vorbereitung einer solchen Konferenz als vertrauensbildende Maßnahme dazu beitragen, die Spannungen in der Region merklich herunterzufahren.

We are online!


The Project Group is pleased to announce that the website of the Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East is online! Please visit and learn about our mission, activities, and publications. We will be uploading new material regularly, so you are invited to check our website regularly.

Arms Control Today reviews our book


The book Arms Control and Missile Proliferation in the Middle East, edited by Bernd W. Kubbig and Sven-Eric Fikenscher was reviewed by Greg Thielmann for the April 2012 issue of Arms Control Today. Identifying the volume published by Routledge at the beginning of the year as a Book of Note, Greg Thielmann states that "this collection plows new ground in explaining the daunting challenge of curbing missile proliferation in the Middle East". The whole Project Group is honored of this recognition. To read more click the link below.

Project Group goes to Moscow


Bernd W. Kubbig, Sven-Eric Fikenscher, and Christian Weidlich have been invited to hold a workshop in Moscow on May 3, 2012. Anton Khlopkov, Director of the Moscow-based Center for Energy and Security Studies, will be leading the discussion on the prospects for the Middle East Conference on the establishment of a WMD/DVs Free Zone. The Routledge volume authored, among others, by Kubbig, Fikenscher, and Weidlich will also be presented.

Dr. Kubbig gives insights to the SPD


On April 25, 2012, Project Director Bernd W. Kubbig was the main discussant in a meeting of the SPD working group on “Security and Armed Forces”. Dr. Kubbig gave insights on the developments regarding NATO and missile defense in view of the upcoming Chicago summit to an audience of 50 experts. The German Social Democratic Party (SDP) set up a working group to bring together politicians and experts on security issues in 2010.

States that talk don't shoot


Bernd W. Kubbig, Roberta Mulas, and Christian Weidlich, coordinators of the international experts group Academic Peace Orchestra Middle East and editors of the Policy Brief series, have just published an article in Ha'aretz, the "most influential Israeli newspaper".


With the increasingly shrill rhetoric characterizing discussion of Iran's nuclear program, a unique, nonviolent means for addressing the threat is being overlooked. A conference planned for later this year in Finland will be devoted to discussing how to free the Middle East from all categories of weapons of mass destruction - nuclear, biological, and chemical warheads, plus their means of delivery. Preparations for this event have been ongoing since Finnish Under-Secretary of State Jaakko Laajava was selected as the facilitator. This initiative stands ready for the countries of the Middle East and represents the best alternative between military strikes and living with a nuclear Iran.