In 2010, the Obama Administration endorsed, then immediately condemned the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) calls for a nuclear-free Middle East, realizing after the agreement that Israel is the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East.
Fast-forward five years, and there still hasn’t been a meeting on the matter. The big obstacle is that Israel, which is not a signatory to the NPT, is willing to attend the talks but not willing to even broach the subject of disarmament, citing the fact that they’re never publicly admitted to their significant arsenal in the first place.
Israel, of course, is blaming the Arabs for all this, saying the lack of talks underscores the fact that the Arab states, none of whom is a nuclear power to begin with, is even willing to sit down and talk with the nuclear-armed Israelis.
Israel’s status at the meeting did indeed loom large, and was a big part of why the talks never took place, though it was the fact that there was no hope of getting the only nuclear-armed nation to disarm that really soured most nations on the talks, figuring there was no point in the absence of that as at least a speculative goal.
Indeed, all these same nations routinely work with Israel on efforts to detect illegal underground nuclear testing as part of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. In that case, unlike this one, there was hope of actually accomplishing thing, however.
And that’s been the fatal flaw in the push for a nuclear-free Middle East from the moment the US ill-conceivedly endorsed it way back in 2010. They believe it’s “unfair” to single out Israel for disarmament, but Israel is the only state in the region with such arms to begin with, meaning efforts to orchestrate such talks always boil down to Israel insisting it is being mistreated and the US agreeing.