Revisiting Osirak: Preventive Attacks and Nuclear Proliferation Risks

  title={Revisiting Osirak: Preventive Attacks and Nuclear Proliferation Risks},
  author={M{\aa}lfrid Braut-Hegghammer},
  journal={International Security},
Thirty years after the Israeli attack on the Osirak reactor in June 1981 the consequences for Iraq's nuclear weapons program remain hotly debated. A new history of this program, based on several new Iraqi sources, yields a net assessment of the impact of the Israeli attack that differs from prevailing accounts. The attack had mixed effects: it triggered a covert nuclear weapons program that did not previously exist, while necessitating a more difficult and time-consuming technical route to… Expand
When Preventive War Threats Work for Nuclear Nonproliferation
On June 7, 1981, eight Israeli F-16 jets dropped bombs on an Iraqi nuclear reactor commonly known asOsiraq. The strike eliminated Iraq’s most critical nuclear facility before it was completed,Expand
Nuclear Counterproliferation Intelligence
Spying on nuclear weapons programs can be particularly challenging for the international community. A wide range of sophisticated technologies need to be employed to gather information, whileExpand
Closing the Window of Vulnerability: Nuclear Proliferation and Conventional Retaliation
Abstract Living with a nuclear-armed enemy is unattractive, but, strangely, states seldom use their military power to prevent the enemy’s entry into the nuclear club. It is puzzling why preventiveExpand
A Dynamic Theory of Nuclear Proliferation and Preventive War
Abstract We develop a formal model of bargaining between two states where one can invest in a program to develop nuclear weapons and the other imperfectly observes its efforts and progress over time.Expand
Looking Beyond a Nuclear-Armed Iran: Is Regional Proliferation Inevitable?
The past year has seen a steady rise in tensions with regard to Iran's nuclear programme. Iran's economy is being crippled by far-ranging sanctions and the threat of an Israeli attack on IranianExpand
The Strategic Logic of Nuclear Proliferation
When do states acquire nuclear weapons? This article introduces a strategic theory of nuclear proliferation that takes into account the security goals of all key actors: the potential proliferator,Expand
How nuclear proliferation causes conflict: the case for optimistic pessimism
ABSTRACT The claim that the spread of nuclear weapons leads to interstate conflict and nuclear war has become very influential. However, proliferation pessimists have failed to specify how and whenExpand
Dissuading Biological Weapons Proliferation
The terrorist and anthrax attacks of 2001 spurred many countries to raise defences against a possible biological weapon attack, and potentially dissuade state and non-state actors from developingExpand
The Strategic Logic of Nuclear Proliferation
When do states acquire nuclear weapons? To address this question, a strategic theory of nuclear proliferation must take into account the security goals of all of the key actors: the potentialExpand
Why Israel launched a preventive military strike on Iraq’s nuclear weapons program (1981): The fungibility of power resources
In 1981, Israel launched a preventive military strike against a nuclear reactor that Iraq was constructing at the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center. The low fungibility of Iraq’s power resources, an...


The Israeli bombing of Osiraq reconsidered: Successful counterproliferation?
According to conventional wisdom, the June 7, 1981, counterproliferation attack by Israel on Iraq's Osiraq nuclear facility at al-Tuwaitha actually accelerated Iraq's efforts to build nuclear weaponsExpand
The United States failed to prevent Pakistan from building nuclear weapons because U.S. officials never fully grasped Pakistan's perception of its security situation relative to India, especiallyExpand
Osirak Redux? Assessing Israeli Capabilities to Destroy Iranian Nuclear Facilities
Does Israel have the ability to conduct a military attack against Iran's nuclear facilities similar to its 1981 strike on Iraq's Osirak reactor? The Israeli Air Force has significantly upgraded itsExpand
Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons Program: Turning Points and Nuclear Choices
~ Pakistan tested a series of nuclear devices on May 28 and 30, 1998, signaling the abandonment of its policy of nuclear ambiguity, which it had adopted in the 1980s.' Under this policy, Pakistan hadExpand
An analysis of Iraqi WMD strategy
When Saddam Hussein launched the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program in the early 1970s, he aimed primarily to develop a deterrent capability. As the program advanced, however, the IraqiExpand
Correspondence: IAEA Safeguards
Shai Feldman’s article “The Bombing of Osiraq-Revisited” in your Fall 1982 issue (Vol. 7, No. 1) is inaccurate and misleading in its discussion of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)Expand
Spying on the Bomb: American Nuclear Intelligence from Nazi Germany to Iran and North Korea
A global history of U.S. nuclear espionage from its World War II origins to today's threats from rogue states. For fifty years, the United States has monitored friends and foes who seek to developExpand
Saddam's Bombmaker: The Terrifying Inside Story of the Iraqi Nuclear and Biological Weapons Agenda
Saddam's Bombmaker: The Terrifying Inside Story of the Iraqi Nuclear and Biological Weapons Agenda, by Khidhir Hamza with Jeff Stein. New York: Scribner, 2000. 337 pages. Index to 352. $26. ReviewedExpand
The Gulf Conflict, 1990-1991 : diplomacy and war in the new world order
This is an updated account of the events which led up to and followed Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. The authors aim to answer the many questions that still remain about the events of late 1990 and earlyExpand
Preemption: A Knife That Cuts Both Ways
Every so often, a startling book emerges that gives voice to a new or previously unexamined trend that is transforming society. Alan M. Dershowitz's provocative new work, Preemption, is just such aExpand