Main article: Iraq and weapons of mass destruction Iraq had established a nuclear program sometime in the s, and in the mids looked to expand it through the acquisition of a nuclear reactor. That was obvious to me on my visit. But the Iraqi nuclear program before was peaceful, and the Osirak reactor was not only unsuited to making bombs but was under intensive safeguards. I challenge any scientist in the world to show me how they could have done so. Mueller, in the spring of , Begin had reached the conclusion that an anticipatory attack was necessary. It was also the first instance of a preventive attack on a nuclear reactor which aimed to forestall the development of a nuclear weapon.
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Main article: Iraq and weapons of mass destruction Iraq had established a nuclear program sometime in the s, and in the mids looked to expand it through the acquisition of a nuclear reactor. That was obvious to me on my visit. But the Iraqi nuclear program before was peaceful, and the Osirak reactor was not only unsuited to making bombs but was under intensive safeguards.
I challenge any scientist in the world to show me how they could have done so. Mueller, in the spring of , Begin had reached the conclusion that an anticipatory attack was necessary. It was also the first instance of a preventive attack on a nuclear reactor which aimed to forestall the development of a nuclear weapon. The targets were struck and the buildings were damaged, along with the plant cooling mechanisms.
The Iraqis denied any major damage. The French and Italian technicians promptly left Iraq, and nearly withdrew from the project, but some later returned in February and began to repair the damage. At the alleged meeting, the Iranians explained details of their attack on the site, and agreed to let Israeli planes land at an Iranian airfield in Tabriz in the case of an emergency.
The basic procedure for the airstrike had been formulated as early as That task allegedly fell to the Iranians. The photographs were allegedly placed in a top-secret metal container, and certain elements of the Iranian military delivered them to the Israelis.
With these photographs, the Israelis began to plan out Operation Opera. The Israelis shortly afterwards received their first agreed delivery of F Fighting Falcon aircraft the first batch was originally earmarked for Iran, but because of the Iranian Revolution of , the Israeli Air Force received theirs ahead of schedule.
While the Iraqis were aware of the blind area, they did not remedy the problem because they did not expect a war with Saudi Arabia.
Eight Iranian F-4 Phantoms carried out the long range bombing mission and struck the airbase. Nose of FA showing the triangular mission marking for the attack, a nuclear reactor silhouette against the Iraqi Air Force emblem.
Yehuda Blum , in a speech to the United Nations Security Council following the attack, claimed that the operation was launched on a Sunday afternoon under the assumption that workers present on the site, including foreign experts employed at the reactor, would have left.
Raz led the attack, was later decorated by the Chief of Staff for his leadership. Ramon, who was the youngest pilot to participate in the operation, later became the first Israeli astronaut and died in the Columbia space shuttle disaster. The tanks were jettisoned over the Saudi desert. Unknowingly, the squadron flew directly over the yacht of King Hussein of Jordan, who was vacationing in the Gulf at the time.
Taking into account the location, heading, and armament of the jets, Hussein quickly deduced the Iraqi reactor to be the most probable target. Hussein immediately contacted his government and ordered a warning to be sent to the Iraqis.
However, due to a communication failure the message was never received and the Israeli planes entered Iraqi airspace undetected. The attack lasted less than two minutes. International response at the United Nations took two paths. The United Nations Security Council issued a unanimous and almost immediate response on 19 June , following eight meetings and statements from Iraq and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Security Council Resolution  strongly condemned the attack as a "clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international conduct" and called on Israel to refrain from such attacks in the future; the Council recognised the right of Iraq to "establish programmes of technological and nuclear development" and called for Israel to join Iraq within the "IAEA safeguards regime" of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Jeane Kirkpatrick , the U. American newspapers were as fulsome. Aftermath Ten Iraqi soldiers and one French civilian were killed in the attack. In addition, 23 other Iraqi pilots and officers were imprisoned. Opposition leader Shimon Peres criticized the operation as a political ploy, which did not go over well with the electorate.
Would I send Jewish boys to risk death—or captivity worse than death, because those barbarians would have tortured our boys horribly—for elections? You know, it kept Saddam from developing nuclear power. We knew that the Iraqis could do exactly what we did in Dimona. Arab states that may attempt to do so will now be all the more secretive and circumspect. Tripp , in an interview for the 25th anniversary of the attack, described the bombing of Osirak as a variation of Israeli military doctrine beginning with the premiership of David Ben-Gurion , "advocating devastating pre-emptive strikes on Arab enemies.
But the bombing set back Israel more than Iraq. But it created a much larger danger in the longer range. What happened is that Saddam ordered us—we were And the French reactor and the associated plans were from Italy. We dropped the reactor out totally, which was the plutonium for making nuclear weapons, and went directly into enriching uranium.
And they get scared and bombed it out. Actually it was much less than this, and it would have taken a much longer time. But the program we built later in secret would make six bombs a year. The attack may actually have accelerated it.
This case suggests that preventive attacks can increase the long-term proliferation risk posed by the targeted state. The French-supplied facility was subject to rigorous safeguards and designed to ensure that Iraq would not be able to produce weapons-grade plutonium. An examination of the reactor by Harvard physicist Richard Wilson after the attack concluded that the facility was not suited for production of weapons-grade plutonium. As a result, the attack did not reduce the risk that Iraq would develop nuclear weapons.
On the contrary, it brought about a far more determined and focused effort to acquire nuclear weapons. While many scholars debate the value of the bombing, Iraq did not possess nuclear weapons at the outbreak of the Gulf War, and, according to Cheney, the bombing made Desert Storm easier.
Bullseye - One Reactor by Dan McKinnon (1987, Hardcover)
Share Tweet Image of the week Bullseye Two perfectly circular structures, looking a lot like archery targets, have been installed on the west-facing wall of the Tokamak Complex. They are not for shooting, however. The target-like structures mark what will be openings in the concrete for high voltage transmission lines to feed power to the neutral beam injectors. Injecting high-energy neutral particles into the plasma is the most powerful way to heat it.
Bullseye One Reactor
Of these books, this remains my favorite. The author, Dan McKinnon was himself a former U. Naval aviator. He was therefore able to bring to this book a practical, experienced perspective of this historic raid - which others were unable to replicate. No, this is the story of the men in the cockpit who executed the raid. McKinnon was the first journalist to be given free access to the Israeli pilots - long before their identities were released to the public. He therefore had to resort to pseudonyms for each pilot, rather than acknowledging each by name.