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'Next Generation' Seeks WMD-Free Zone in Middle East

A network of young strategists from across the region sees new opportunities for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction.--
Animal carcasses lie on the ground, killed by what residents said was a chemical weapon attack on Tuesday, in Khan al-Assal area near the northern city of Aleppo, March 23, 2013. The United Nations said on Thursday it would investigate Syria's allegations that rebel forces used chemical weapons in an attack near Aleppo, but Western countries sought a probe of all claims concerning the use of such banned arms. The deaths of 26 people in that rocket attack became the focus of competing claims on Wednesday fro

Concerns over the proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the Middle East have dominated the discussions on the region for decades. However, new developments on the governance of these weapons in the region have been unfolding.

The Iranian government under President Hassan Rouhani has signaled willingness to resolve regional and international concerns regarding its highly controversial nuclear program through enhanced diplomatic relations with the United States, and negotiations are underway. The Syrian government’s signing of the Chemical Weapons Convention on Oct. 14, to dismantle its chemical weapons arsenal, and the ongoing process of implementing this historic decision through the United Nations have brought new hope that the elimination of WMD from the region is possible. The positive steps taken by Syria have inspired some in Israel to voice their support for the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention. These events have turned the spotlight on the already four-decades-old call to free the Middle East from all WMD.

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