Digital Research Project Reflection

In my first and second blogs, I learned that the motive for Iranian regional policy based on perceived threats real or otherwise and the affect of the Arab Spring has been a most productive chain of events from which the Iranian Government has benefited. Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran has sought to export its ideology abroad. Furthermore, the Iranian Government has provided logistical assistance to Hezbollah and other such groups. Economic Sanctions, U.S. Intervention in Iraq, and the Arab Spring have strengthened Iranian influence in the area and its grip on the Iranian people. The Iranian Nuclear program has become a necessity for the Iranian Government. The regional power struggle has been a direct byproduct of the Arab Spring and the U.S. intervention in Iraq. Saudi Arabia and other Middle-Eastern countries could become involved in an arms race where nuclear weapons could become the main price. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has emplaced restrictions on Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon in the next 10 to 15 years. U.S. policy in the region must also include independent action on all levels of political, economic and military options in order to enforce the JCPOA sanctions. Finally, Iran has been emboldened in its meddling in Middle Eastern geopolitical affairs by its perceived or real nuclear capabilities.
For my 3rd and 4th blogs I have found out that the desire of Iraq under Saddam Hussein to develop and possess nuclear technology and capabilities was part of a dream of regional supremacy. The many flaws of the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein prompted a rapid decline of its nuclear development program. This decline was also accelerated by the Israeli operation that destroyed the Iraqi reactor at Osirak. This site had been bombed by Iranian F-4 Phantom’s just after the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war of 1979. However, it was the Israeli’s who prevailed and neutralized a potential threat to their national security as they saw it. This emphasis on neutralizing any nuclear capability by other nations proves that Iraq was seen as a clear and present danger to the region. the trend of Dictators of that region has always been to pursue such nuclear capabilities along with other weapons of mass destruction in a process of power acquisition and manipulation of a regional strategy. As for the 4th Blog, I found that Muammar Qaddafi was a walking contradiction. His wish for WMD’s catapulted him into a program that did not see total fruition. The Lack of qualified personnel and proper infrastructure within Libya as a result of the brutal practices of Qaddafi, lead to a touch and go outcome with all his projects, especially those involving WMD. I learned that his quest for the “bomb” as with all other WMD’s was not entirely because of regional supremacy but for inner control of his own country. Of course, his status as a regional power would have increased if he would have ever developed such a “tool” for political gain. Qaddafi’s chemical arsenal became a better tool for suppression of any internal or external threat. However, there is no proof that he ever used such weapons against his own people (from what I know). Nevertheless, Qaddafi fits in the same category as Saddam and his quest for the “bomb,” nuclear capabilities have become part of any regime that searches for legitimacy and to maintain control over its population within the middle-east. Qaddafi was a leader that left his country with a shell of a government, the Libyan institutions were unable to deal with Qaddafi death in a more peaceful manner. A lack of resources, knowledge, and leadership directly contributed to the Libyan civil war that we see now.
That brings me to my 5th and 6th Blogs. What I have learned from Saddam Hussein the former Iraqi Dictator registers on a cautionary side. It seems that since the end of World War I and the decolonization period, the middle- east has struggled to maintain and to develop political institutions that can handle the demands of the population. It also seems that the rise of men like Saddam in the middle-east is a byproduct of the lack of this political process to establish strong governments based on the respect and protection of the local population. Saddam like other dictators used a wide range of terror and actual weapons to control his people and to maintain his hold on power. Weapons of mass destruction constituted a terrible tool from which Saddam Hussein could exploit and kill his opposition and even wage war against his neighbors. I have also learned the awesome destructive power that can be unleashed by chemical and biological weapons, we seldom do not see such weapons as being compatible with atom or hydrogen bombs. However, the destructive potential of these weapons was demonstrated by the Saddam regime against a civilian population without regard for human life.
I have learned that once again when the rule of a tyrant is threatened, he or she will stop it nothing to ensure his or her survival. the death of so many people at the hands of another middle-eastern dictator is but one more example of the region’s struggle for a stable political form of government.
For my 7th, I found out that the major impact that Israel currently enjoys in regards to regional policy in regards to their nuclear program is one of regional military supremacy. this impedes a direct military action on the part of Iran or its Arab neighbors. So, I believe that the strong democratic government on behalf of the Israelis along with a political realist attitude has maintained the peace. Israel’s string of victories against their Arab neighbors has traumatized the Arab world and lead more and more to seek a victory against Israel using militant tactics. This country, in particular, uses a more political realist approach to its dealings with the other regional powers in the area. Israel prefers to as they say speak softly and carry a big stick. Israel’s nuclear program is used in this manner, and it is this policy that keeps Israel safe but it also keeps Israel in a constant state of alert.
For my 8th Blogs I believe that at the present moment the terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and ISIS still have a vested interest in acquiring these weapons of mass destruction or even some material for a “dirty bomb.” the greatest impact or more damage that these groups could inflict on the west would be through the middle-east. They could achieve their political goal (according to their own mentality) of evicting Western influence from the Middle-East and creating a Caliphate that stretches from Spain to Afghanistan. ISIS at the current moment has achieved territorial gained in Iraq and Syria without the use of such weapons so, we can only imagine the damage that these type of groups could do with such capabilities at hand. Furthermore, the extortion possibilities of such capability are immense.
Weapons of Mass Destruction have always been a contested subject matter within the international community. These weapons brought about an era of superpower diplomacy and proxy warfare. This type of international dynamic lasted since the end of the 2nd World War to the end of the Soviet Union in 1991. However, the proliferation of these weapons has not stopped. All the nuclear countries since the United States developed the “Bomb” are France, Great Britain, India, Pakistan, China, Israel, and Russia. The status that these countries enjoy due to the possession of such weapons is clear, North Korea along with Iran have expressed such desire thru the mass direction of resources in order to develop these weapons and become members of the nuclear club. What have I learned from my journey of discovery in relation to the blog postings is that the middle-east is a very complicated place to study. My interest lay in the study of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and how they are used to affect political change within the middle-east and abroad. I looked at how the Dictators, States, and terrorist organizations have sought and acquired nuclear, biological, and Chemical material for the use as political tools but also as status symbols of their power. The use of these weapons within the middle east has been a double edge sword for the dictators that have chosen to use these weapons.
In Controversies in Globalization, the restriction of these weapons of mass destruction is one of the topics that are fully discussed on both sides of the spectrum. Those in favor of stricter regulations on the part of the countries that make up the nuclear club especially the United States argue that the proliferation of all of these weapons only contributes to a more unsafe world. The opposition to this argument points out that since the United States used nuclear weapons on Japan, no other country has used them again. They say that once a country acquires nuclear weapons, a Mutual Assured Destruction or (MAD) policy affects their foreign policy. However, I have learned that the use of Chemical or Biological weapons does not carry such a stigma. The nations that make up the middle-east have a long history of conflict, this conflict has deployed chemical weapons against civilians on numerous occasions. I have learned that the global impact of such usage does not register in a big way. Unlike the usage of nuclear weapons where we could see an economic collapse of an enormous magnitude, hence the proliferation of nuclear weapons has and it is of a more concerning nature to the international community especially the economic superpowers like the United States. So, Chemical and biological weapons are like the poor man’s weapon of mass destruction and hence garners less criticism or even condemnation from the world. I believe that the most appropriate Perspectives on Globalization that are very evident in all of these blogs are two. Those two are Political Realism and Political Liberalism, the reason for that assertion on my part is due to the major forces involved such as military, economic and cultural. Furthermore, the key actors of states, military-industrial complex, NGOs, INGOs, MNCs, states, and technocrats. Of course, it does not all fit perfectly, but it is the most accurate theories that fit in these cases. To conclude, I learned that there are many sources that see how the middle-east has developed and will develop in the further based on a lot of credible data. The story of the middle-east is the story of a lot of pain, tragedy, hope, and a journey in the search for freedom that is just starting to pay dividends to its people.

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