Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Middle East tension has 'direct potential' to lead to nuclear war

Rogue states are also increasing their efforts to secure chemical and biological weapons, and the means to deploy them, leaving billions in the world's most densely populated area at risk of a devastating strike, the documents show.

States such as North Korea, Syria and Iran are developing long-range missiles capable of hitting targets outside the region, records of top-level security briefings obtained by WikiLeaks show.

Long-running hostilities between India and Pakistan – which both have nuclear weapons capabilities – are at the root of fears of a nuclear conflict in the region. A classified Pentagon study estimated in 2002 that a nuclear war between the two countries could result in 12 million deaths.

Secret records of a US security briefing at an international non-proliferation summit in 2008 stated that “a nuclear and missile arms race [in South Asia] has the direct potential to lead to nuclear war in the world's most densely populated area and a region of increasing global economic significance”.