In terms of financial resources and political stability, I think Saudi Arabia is the only Arab country that could do it with any degree of ease. Whether they have any plans, or even desire to do so is another matter.
Egypt could certainly build nuclear weapons if it so desired; it’s got the resources and the technology. Egypt is much larger than any other Arab nation in terms of population, is stable, and has an economy as large as Saudi Arabia’s, though of course it’s more split up. They don’t build them, I would assume, because they simply don’t have a lot of reason to and many reasons not to. The U.S. provides Egypt with a lot of money, in effect to buy their peaceful co-existenced with Israel, and Egypt likes things that way. If things went south with regards to Israel, Egypt could build the bomb.
The KSA is not as stable as you might think. They have a demographic issue that is really hurting them. Too many Princes essentially, bleeding the economy dry. It’s a really old story, they need a culling of the nobility. The US supports the KSA, without US support the Saudis would drop like a rock, and the US would probably withdraw support if they acquired nukes. I don’t think it’ll happen anytime soon there. I really can’t see any Arab country acquiring nukes anytime soon.
Yes France has a larger Arab population, but it seems to me that the French government would not idly stand by while nutjobs like Omar Bakri publicly called for the establishment of an Islamic state, the way that the British government has. The French are less worried about hurting the fundamentalists’ delicate little feelings.
It is simply not true. France has a long way to go to actually being “Islamic” and Pakistan already has the bomb.
For Steyn to come close, the question would have to be changed to the rather convoluted “What country that eventually became Islamic was the first to acquire a nuclear weapon?” (And that implies that France will beat the UK in the race to Islam. Besides which the claim that France is really “becoming” Islamic is so much hooey.)
Hmm, never knew that…is that just a UK thing or worldwide? I doubt anyone outside of the UK would consider “Paki” an insult any more than calling someone from England a Brit…or Germans calling Americans, “Amis”. Then again, it is not like there are multitudes of people from Pakistan in Las Vegas, so what do I know?
Regarding the first Arab country with a nuclear weapon? I think the scarier question is, “who will be the first Arab cell with a suitcase bomb?”