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A Nuclear Arms Race in the Middle East?

Israel and Pakistan both have nuclear weapons. Iran wants nuclear weapons in addition to regional hegemony, and its efforts are causing others to join the nuclear bandwagon as well. The United Arab Emirates began building a nuclear reactor due to be completed in 2017. They are now joined by Egypt, Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, the latter of which plans to build 16 nuclear plants over the next two decades.

What's behind this Middle Eastern push for nuclear power plants and the potential for nuclear weapons? All the nations listed above are controlled by Sunni Muslim governments that feel increasinqly threatened by Shiite Iran. Should Iran get a nuclear weapon, these nations will need a "plan B."

One of the quickest ways to acquire a nuclear weapon is to get one that is already made. For that, many nations and terrorist organizations need to look no further than Pakistan. Pakistan has gone through a great deal of instability. The Pakistani government has been battling the Pakistani Taliban, perceived as a threat, while turning a blind eye to other terror groups in the country that threaten people outside the country. It's a dangerous game. Terrorists are most certainly ready to take advantage of any potential opportunity to seize a nuclear weapon.

The possibility of Pakistani nuclear weapons being procured for a terrorist group or even a nation-state is alarmingly real. Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs' Senior Fellow Rolf Mowatt-Larssen has explored this topic. He wrote: "The greatest threat of a loose nuke scenario stems from insiders in the nuclear establishment working with outsiders, people seeking a bomb or material to make a bomb. Nowhere in the world is this threat greater than in Pakistan" ("Nuclear Security in Pakistan: Reducing the Risks of Nuclear Terrorism," Arms Control Today, July 1,2009).

He went on to catalogue how Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of the Pakistani bomb, gave nuclear technologies to Iran, Libya and North Korea while Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood, who had been in charge of Pakistan's Khushab reactor, had reviewed al-Qaeda's nuclear plans with Osama bin Laden.

Despite the Pakistani government appearing to take new measures to improve security for its weapons program, Mowatt-Larsson was still concerned, adding: "There are troubling indications that these insider threats are not anomalies ... It would be foolhardy to assume that such lapses could not happen again" (ibid.).

Given the tumultuous situation in the Middle East today, the money available to terrorists and rogue states and the religious sympathies extant, the potential is indeed quite real. The nuclear arms race in the Middle East is a danger to the entire world.

Bible prophecy indicates that weapons of mass destruction will play a key role in the end time. In fact, chapters 8 and 9 of the book of Revelation state that a third of humanity will perish-more than two billion people according to current world population statistics. The only thing that will save us from extinction is the return of Jesus Christ. His ultimate Victory will usher in a thousand years of peace.

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