SOAS University of London

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy

Middle East WMD Free Zone Project

The presence of various forms of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in the Middle East is one of the most difficult security issues bedevilling the region. For many years, the international community has set the objective of establishing a Zone free of such weapons in the Middle East. However, political circumstances have allowed the development of neither a negotiating process nor a sustained informal process that can engage both governments and international civil society.

This project in applied international relations research will develop public education and international dialogue on the issue of the proposed Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (MEWMDFZ). Long term projects and objectives include:

A project on the security problems stemming from the proliferation of civilian nuclear energy in the region


A project on the economic and development incentives for creating an over-arching security architecture for the Middle East
Workshops and conferences both in London and the Middle East region promoting the issue


Read the full project proposal:  

See also an International Relations article about the project and Academic Applied International Relations.

SOAS London Conferences

View the events tab to read about our conference series on a Middle East WMDFZ.

Selected proceedings of the first two conferences were published in the journal International Relations in September 2008.

CISD-SOAS collaboration with the Palestine-Israel Journal

The Centre is proudly associated with the recent publication of a special edition of the Palestine-Israel Journal, "A Nuclear Free Zone in the Middle East: Realistic or Idealistic?".

The London launch of the Journal took place at SOAS on the 24 March 2010 featuring presentations from Avner Cohen, Ziad AbuZayyad, and Rebecca Johnson. It followed an engaging day of discussions among a variety of participants, focussing on the Iranian nuclear programme and the Israeli nuclear weapons policy. View a report of the discussions. (pdf; 152kb)  

Following this, the PIJ, SOAS and the Friederich Ebert Stiftung organised a follow up meeting in Jerusalem on 10 May 2010. The meeting was held parallel to the NPT Review Conference in New York, bringing the discussions on a Nuclear Free Zone for the Middle East to the region itself. With Israel not participating at the crucial New York conference, deliberations and recommendations from our meeting will provide input for all the major policy forums that are dealing with this extremely timely and sensitive issue.

Project Resources

  • UN Security Council Resolution 1803 (2008)
  • International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors Resolution (February 2006)
  • UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004)
  • Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference 1995, 'Resolution on the Middle East'
  • UN Security Council Meeting of Heads of States, The responsibility of the Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security, 31 January 1992
  • UN Security Council Resolution 687 (1991)
  • UN General Assembly, "Study on effective and verifiable measures which would facilitate the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East", Report of the Secretary General
  • UN General Assembly, "Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East", resolution 3263 (XXIX)