Should I be worried about nuclear war in the Middle East?

Answer

The risk that nuclear weapons could be used in conflict is the highest it has been since the Cold War due to the conflicts involving nuclear-armed states, not just in the Middle East, but also in Ukraine, not to mention the escalating nuclear tensions on the Korean Peninsula. 

Despite concerns over Iran’s nuclear programme, Israel remains the only state in the Middle East with nuclear weapons. Several Israeli politicians from the governing coalition, including a junior cabinet minister, have talked about using nuclear weapons in the current war in Gaza. Although these comments have been disowned by the Israeli Prime Minister, these threats are dangerous and irresponsible, as they further inflame tensions, and are banned under the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

There is a risk that the current war in Gaza could spread and that clashes that have already occurred between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon and between Israel and Iran could escalate into a wider war that draws in more nuclear-armed states, such as the US and Russia on opposing sides.

At present, Israel’s allies, including the nuclear-armed states, the US, Britain and France, are urging Israel not to escalate the conflict with Iran further.