The End of WMDs

This month I was privileged to join a distinguished group of 100 international political, military, business and civic leaders in … Continued

This month I was privileged to join a distinguished group of 100 international political, military, business and civic leaders in Paris to launch Global Zero, a campaign to mobilize decisive momentum for the global elimination of nuclear weapons. Global Zero is combining public outreach with high-level policy work to develop a step-by-step plan for phased, verified reduction of the world’s estimated 27,000 nuclear weapons down to zero.

This may sound like a baby boomers’ 60s revival dream, but in an increasingly perilous world the threat of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism has emerged as a 21st century priority. In recent months, a growing chorus of world leaders of nuclear nations including U.S. President-elect Barack Obama and Russian Prime Minster Vladimir Putin have called for the elimination of all nuclear weapons. The United States and Russia are among 189 countries that have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Not surprisingly, the idea has overwhelming public support. A recent Global Zero poll of 21 nuclear and non-nuclear countries found that an average 76 percent of respondents favor an international agreement that would achieve zero nuclear weapons according to a set timetable that would include compliance monitoring.

I am personally committed to Global Zero as an international public servant, a Muslim, a citizen of the Middle East, and as a mother and grandmother. Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) have been of dire concern to me since my California elementary school cold war ‘nuclear attack’ drills when we were instructed to dive for cover under our rickety wooden desks. The terror instilled into us by those absurd exercises lasted for years. However, most of my experience over the past 30 years has been with WMD in slow motion–landmines and cluster bombs littering the Middle East and other conflict regions where I have worked.

In the Middle East, the Balkans, Southeast and Central Asia, and Latin America I have witnessed firsthand the devastating consequences–human, economic, environmental and political–of the vicious cycle of arms proliferation and the inevitable insecurity that results.

As a Muslim, my faith strengthens my resolve to eradicate these evil indiscriminate killers. The Islamic Laws of Just War, first enunciated in the 7th Century CE, share with international humanitarian law the fundamental principles of non-initiation of war, and of the sacrosanct protection of non-combatants and civilians even in defensive conflicts (especially including women, children, the elderly and the sick), as well as the forbidding of wanton destruction of animals, the natural environment, medical institutes and places of worship. Thus nuclear weapons and other WMD are in every sense inherently un-Islamic weapons of war in Islamic thought, as they do not distinguish between military and civilians and non-combatants, and they destroy and kill en masse indiscriminately.

I am tremendously encouraged that there is unanimous support in the Middle East for the creation of a regional WMD-free zone, although differences exist on its timing. Both the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) have repeatedly called for a non-discriminatory international treaty on the elimination of WMD, and encouraged the establishment of nuclear weapon-free zones in the Middle East, Central Asia and elsewhere.

All Arab countries have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and over the past 30 years have pursued intensive diplomatic efforts to bring Israel into the treaty.

My husband King Hussein, a Hashemite direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), steadfastly called for removing nuclear weapons from the Middle East, calling them “One of the most dramatic examples of the gaps between the world’s technological progress and moral rectitude.” “Nuclear war is not a military problem. It is a moral dilemma,” he said.

In my husband’s last interview before his death he underscored the threat of terrorism, the potential availability of WMD and our responsibility to future generations to increase control over them. And, he emphasized over and over again that only through dialogue and truly listening and trying to understand each other’s perspectives, fears and needs would we find solutions to the issues that divide us.

Global Zero is helping to facilitate that dialogue, and with it a path to peace.

So I add my humble voice to so many others around the world, citizens of all nations, devout followers of all faiths, in declaring that now is the time to renew our collective commitment to a nuclear-weapon free world. We truly have no other choice.

Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, who was born an Arab-American, is an international humanitarian activist and an outspoken voice on issues of world peace and justice.

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  • infoshop

    wishful thinking! Good luck.

  • lallin1

    I supervised those “duck and cover drills” in several california schools and understood how useless they were. When in the Navy, I saw “nukes” being wheeled about prior to being attached to an aircraft.I had ro wonder:”How many will die from those things for a cause that would bear no reasonable scrutiny?” Her Majesty and her cohorts are correct: We can do without nuclear WMD.

  • CCNL

    Unfortunately, nukes play the role of “peace” keepers replacing religions/social systems which should play the “pax” role but do not because of the “my god/prophet/social system is better than your god/prophet/social system” syndrome. Iran’s commitment to Islamic domination of the globe to include suicide bombing and support of terror as weapons to that end is something to be very concerned about and is one of the major reasons the USA is still in Iraq. The irony is that Islam’s commitment to world domination is founded on mythical communications from a mythical “pretty, wingie, talking thingie”.

  • StephenBWise

    Thank you for the work you are doing in this important area. For the work of Global Zero to have any hope of succeeding, a spiritual renewal is needed, in the hearts and minds of many Jews and Christians.In order for there to be true freedom and peace in society, people need to understand that the just way to treat people is to respect and serve them. That comes with good education and healthy spirituality, not nukes!Stephen B. Wise

  • CCNL

    Islam’s commitment to world domination is founded on mythical communications from a mythical “pretty, wingie, talking thingie”.

  • onofrio

    Thankyou, Your Majesty! More power to your cause! Nuclear weapons are the true abomination of our age, and probably of all ages. The very notion of them is EVIL. But I can’t imagine the US, Tsar Putin, China, and Israel ever relinquishing their substantial arsenals. Has any nation state ever voluntarily surrendered such power, once attained? And if only a nuclear heavyweight can force the nuclear bantams to give up the bomb, who will then ensure that the heavyweight disarms? I fear that we may not see a concerted effort to dismantle nuclear capabilities until there’s a repeat of Hiroshima (or several repeats) in our own generation. Who knows who will fire first, and which city will be levelled – Tehran, Tel-Aviv, Islamabad, Delhi, my city, your city? Perhaps the rhetoric of nuclear necessity will become unsustainable only when we witness the horrific reality of its consequences. I wish that were not the case, but given the nature of nation states and the perversity of those who wield power in them…Of course, in all of this, the supposed threat of nuclear terrorism emerges as the ideal excuse for current nuclear kingpins to retain their arsenals. In my darkest paranoia, I wouldn’t put it past certain powers-that-be to connive at allowing a terrorist organisation to detonate a nuclear device in a major city – that would disarm the disarmament movement quite effectively. But that’s too far-fetched, surely…?Fight on, Queen of Light.

  • DebChatterjee

    No wonder, Queen Noor, (Noor means “light” in arabic) is apparently is used to living in ivory towers.Islam’s record of warfare is the indeed contemptible when viewed through the lens of human rights of the 21st century.Cannot see how an American and then now Queen Noor supports the warfare under the guise of “just war” in the 21st century.

  • CCNL

    Israel was established in 1948 by a mandate of the UN. The Arabs did not agree with the mandate and tried twice to crush Israel. Israel won both wars. Funding by Iran and Saudi Arabia of Palestinian terrorist groups since then has kept the region a hot bed of atrocities on both sides i.e. “an eye for an eye”. Large scale aggression by the Arabs ceased when Israel got some nukes. Iran’s terror campaign extends way beyond the Israeli issue as it wishes to make Islam the world’s religion and its suicide mentality makes this Axis of Evil a significant danger to global peace and even more so if they are allowed to have nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, nukes play the role of “peace” keepers replacing religions/social systems which should play the “pax” role but do not because of the “my god/prophet/social system is better than your god/prophet/social system” syndrome. The irony is that Islam’s commitment to world domination is founded on mythical communications from a mythical “pretty, wingie, talking thingie”.

  • DMZ1

    Onofrio:Actually, one country that had developed and deployed nucleur weapons (with major assistance from Israel) did remove and destroy them. Oddly, that country was apartheid South Africa.

  • DMZ1

    CCNL:It would be nice if you knew the history before you pontificate. Iran and Israel were quite chummy from 1953 (after we overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran) to 1979 (when the Iranians dumped the Shah). Iran didn’t fund any part of the Arab-Israeli conflict until Israel’s invasion of Lebeanon in 1982. It then funded Hizbollah which, at the time, was not remotely a terrorist group.Hamas barely existed in Palestine until Israel pumped them up in the 1980s as a counterfoil to the PLO. Funding from Iran didn’t come until the second Intifada in 1000. Hamas is a terrorist group today.

  • DMZ1

    That should read 2000, not 1000.

  • truthhurts

    I remember rehearsing the end of the world in elementary school through “Duck-n-Cover” Civil Defense Drills. Each Monday Fire sirens blared as they were adapted to coordinated Civil Defense warning system. On some Mondays we were herded as doomed sheep to the basement of our school as a yellow and black sign designated the building as a Civil defense shelter. Perhaps as highly impressionable children, we were given a false sense of security.The world has changed since the 1960s and yet I think the concept of mutually assured destruction is still alive and well these days. ViceIn today’s world, the “little fish” are just as scary as sharks considering all wmds. America had its anthrax scare causing our nation to panic just a few weeks after 09/11. ResearchThere is hope that through awakenings, mankind will realize that living in fear is not an option. I think however, that we must firstThere was no yellow cake in Iraq. That is a matter of history now. If disclosures are twisted into threats leading to invasion, then the concept of disclosure invented by President Eisenhower has been diminished. So far in this world, a nation having weapons of mass destruction has yet to be invaded. Mutually assured destruction (MAD) lives on. In the 1960s “mad” was used as a slang term meaning insanity. Our policy of Pre-intervention, referred to as Powell Doctrine sometimes, keeps a nervous world watching.Peace on Earth, goodwill towards mankind, some very noble ideals broadcast at Christmas time. What about the rest of the year ?

  • MaruAngarita

    I am delighted to share the same convictions of Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan concerning world peace, and need to call her attention to a report published in Europe last weekend concerning Venezuela, Iran and Syria and alleged collaboration with nuclear missiles as I have posted on my blog listed below.Maru Angarita

  • MaruAngarita

    I am delighted to share the same convictions of Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan concerning world peace, and need to call her attention to a report published in Europe last weekend concerning Venezuela, Iran and Syria and alleged collaboration with nuclear missiles as I have posted on my blog listed below.Maru Angarita

  • Bud0

    I believe the timing is as good now as it has been for years, if only because Obama claims to share this ultimate goal. People say it’s impossible, but we’d be fools to give up without trying. Ultimately, as Truman, Eisenhower, JFK and even Ronald Reagan all agreed, we must get rid of these things, or one day they will get rid of us.

  • mhoust

    Lisa: Nuclear, Biological, Chemical weapons are absolute horrors when you’re on the receiving end; and not much better if you’re a victor trying to clean up their aftermath, not to mention the side effects of their manufacturing. But it really doesn’t make any difference if you’re killed or maimed by a WMD or just shot with a bullet, or hurt from an improvised explosive device.You’ll get more for your efforts and money if you work to eliminate the causes of violence than if you just try to eliminate the instruments of it.

  • jamesgollins

    With Climate Change being one of today’s biggest threats, it is imperative that we can serve our energy for constructive use. Nuclear weapons serve no useful purpose, a world free of such weapons would make it a much safer place for future generations. We need people of passion to be able to persuade voters only to support political parties who run a non-nuclear policy. I am the leader of ‘The Albion Party’ which has been newly established in the U.K and also is strongly against WMDs.

  • CCNL

    Israel was established in 1948 by a mandate of the UN. The Arabs did not agree with the mandate and tried twice to crush Israel. Israel won both wars. Funding of Hamas by Iran since 2000 CE (to keep DMZ1 happy) and Saudi Arabia of Sunni-related Palestinian terrorist groups since then has kept the region a hot bed of atrocities on both sides i.e. “an eye for an eye”. Large scale aggression by the Arabs ceased when Israel got some nukes. Iran’s terror campaign extends way beyond the Israeli issue as it wishes to make Islam the world’s religion and its suicide mentality makes this Axis of Evil a significant danger to global peace and even more so if they are allowed to have nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, nukes play the role of “peace” keepers replacing religions/social systems which should play the “pax” role but do not because of the “my god/prophet/social system is better than your god/prophet/social system” syndrome. The irony is that Islam’s commitment to world domination is founded on mythical communications from a mythical “pretty, wingie, talking thingie”.