Egypt revolt raises bioweapons fears

With the revolt in Egypt continuing and the country’s future far from certain, there is a growing concern over whether a new government could accelerate an arms race using biological weapons in one of the world’s most volatile region.

Intelligence indicates that Egypt has been carrying out research and development on weapons of mass destruction, including biological, chemical, nuclear and missile technology, according to MSNBC.

Over the past 30 years, the development has carried on virtually without pause, according to interviews with U.S. officials and a review of intelligence documents.

The intelligence indicates that Egypt has carried out uranium enrichment and reprocessing, helped to start similar chemical and missile programs in Iraq and worked with North Korea’s Kim Jong Il on missile programs.

“If we found another country doing what they’ve done, we would have been all over them,” a former U.S. intelligence official speaking on a condition of anonymity told MSNBC.

The United States did not become involved, however, because Egypt played the role of staunch U.S. ally and a stabilizing factor in the Middle East.

There now appear to be some indications that Cairo may withdraw from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which it signed and ratified in 1968.

“They hint that if something isn’t done about Israel’s nuclear weapons program or Iran’s nuclear ambitions, they may be prepared to leave the (treaty),” David Albright said, according to MSNBC. Albright is the president of the  Institute for Science and International Security and a former inspector with the International Atomic Energy Agency.