For the purposes of this report, those countries who have consented to be bound by the Mine Ban Treaty, but have not yet completed the six-month waiting period, are included in the States Parties Section.
MBT Signature and Ratification
Five of the eighteen nations in the region have signed the Mine Ban Treaty: Yemen, Qatar, Algeria, and Tunisia at the December 1997 signing conference, and Jordan on 11 August 1999. Yemen (September 1998), Qatar (October 1998) and Jordan (November 1998) have also ratified. Tunisia passed ratification legislation in October 1998, but has not yet officially deposited it with the United Nations. Yemen has a domestic ban law, but it is unclear if this constitutes treaty implementation legislation.
Those who have not signed the treaty include: Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria and United Arab Emirates. Based on policy statements, actions, and U.N. votes, governments most opposed to the Mine Ban Treaty are Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Morocco and Syria.
While antipersonnel landmines have been used extensively throughout the region, there is confirmation of new use in the 1998 and early 1999 period only in Israeli-occupied south Lebanon, where APMs have been planted by both Israeli forces and non-state actors, notably Hezbollah.
APM Production and Export
Four countries in the region--Egypt, Iran, Iraq and Israel--have been identified as producers and exporters of antipersonnel mines. Israel has at least since December 1997 stated that it is no longer producing antipersonnel mines. Israel has a formal export moratorium in place, and Egypt and Iran have declared that they no longer export antipersonnel mines. Iraq is now the only nation in the world known to have exported APMs in the past which has not announced a halt.
Three nations in the region apparently have no APMs stockpiled: Kuwait, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates. It is unknown if Bahrain has a stockpile. Yemen appears to be the only country that has begun destruction of APMs, destroying 42,000 in 1998.
Not a single country in the region has divulged details about the total number of APMs in its stockpile. It is likely that Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, and Syria have the biggest stocks of APMs.
Landmine Problem and Mine Action
All countries of the region report some landmine problem, except Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. An extensive mine clearance operation is carried out in Iraqi Kurdistan. Other affected nations where mine clearance occurs, sometimes systematically and sometimes sporadically, are Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and Yemen. In most of these nations, clearance is carried out by the armed forces.