1 May 2014

In the zone? Chemical weapons and the Middle East: The Egyptian response

Mostafa Elwi Saif

Saif is a professor of political science at Cairo University. From 2004 to 2011 he was a member of the Shura Council, the upper house of Egypt's parliament. He is president of the Arab Council of...


In 2012, an effort to establish a zone in the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction ran out of momentum. In 2013, a chemical attack in the outskirts of Damascus nearly brought about US intervention in the Syrian civil war and ultimately led to Syria’s accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention. Against this backdrop, some have suggested that the time is right to establish in the region a zone free of chemical weapons. Authors from three countries—Emily B. Landau of Israel (2014), Mostafa Elwi Saif of Egypt, and John Hart of the United States (2014)—explore whether a chemical-weapon-free zone in the Middle East might contribute to regional security and whether it could revitalize the initiative to rid the region of all weapons of mass destruction.