A meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog's 145 member nations this week could turn into a showdown between the West and the developing world, as Iran and Syria bid for more influence within the agency, and Islamic nations express anger over Israel's nuclear programme. The International Atomic Energy Agency's general conference, starting on Monday, has traditionally been an annual chance for member countries to plan general nuclear policies that range from strengthening nonproliferation to programmes of medical and scientific benefit. Decisions are usually made by consensus, which in the past has led all sides to bridge sometimes substantial differences to reach compromise. Votes on any topic have been rare in the meeting's 52-year history, and are considered dents in the meeting's credibility. But Islamic nations have grown frustrated with Israel's refusal to put its nuclear programme under international purview, and could force a vote for a third year running. They have lost the vote on Israel in the last two years, and now are threatening to up the ante if they don't get conference backing on the issue by calling for a vote on every item of this year's agenda, no matter how minor. "In all my years of dealing with the general conference, I have never seen it as divided as this," said one conference veteran Sunday, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to comment to the media.  As in the past two years, Islamic IAEA members are expected to put forward a resolution urging all Middle East nations to refrain from testing or developing nuclear arms and urging nuclear weapons states "to refrain from any action" hindering a Mideast nuclear-free zone.