This is a study of a legal treatise by the Saudi clericc A'id Al-Qarni, published in a military journal, one of the first attempts in the region to come to grips with the ethics of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Saudi Arabia offers an especially relevant real-world case study, given the continuing importance of Islam in its socio-political system and the indications that Riyadh has been considering acquiring nuclear weapons. Al-Qarni deals with the moral and legal –and essentially religiously-based, mingled with Realpolitik--considerations relevant to the acquisition and potential use of WMD, and especially of nuclear weapons, addressing issues such as deterrence, first-strike, targeting, and proportionality. This study engages an actual player, identifying and analyzing his ideas, rather than limiting the approach to only a theoretical perspective and positing how Muslim clerics could or should think, and concludes that the findings in Al-Qarni's treatise legitimize and contribute to the proliferation and use of WMD.


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pp. 17-60
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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