Friday, December 30, 2011

1981 Israeli bombing of Iraqi nuclear reactor caught the U.S. by surprise

On June 7, 1981, Israeli planes bombed a French-made nuclear reactor near Baghdad, killing one French technician. The Israeli government of Prime Minister Menachem Begin believed the $275-million reactor was being used to build bombs for the purpose of attacking Israel, and was near completion. The action was the first air strike against a nuclear plant.

The United States and Arab governments condemned the Israeli raid on June 8, and U.S. President Ronald Reagan announced on June 9 that Congress would be notified that Israel may have violated its arms agreements with the U.S. by using American-made planes in the attack. Also on June 9, the U.S.S.R., predictably, accused the U.S.A., because she had armed the Israelis, of being an accomplice in the attack. On June 10, the U.S. suspended the shipment of four F-16 fighter bombers to Israel because of Israel's possible violation of her arms agreements.

In the United Nations, Great Britain and France joined Arab and Third World governments on June 15 in censuring Israel for the attack. Britain agreed with a French demand that Israel pay reparations to Iraq, but both Britain and France refused to support an arms embargo against Israel. On June 16, U.S. President Reagan said that it seemed that Israel had violated her arms agreement with the U.S.A., but he stated his confidence that the Israelis might have sincerely believed that their action was defensive. On June 19, the UN Security Council strongly condemned the raid and urged Israel to open her nuclear plants to international inspection, but did not ask for an arms embargo. On June 21, Israel rejected the UN Security Council's condemnation.

On June 24, former Israeli Defense and Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan said that his country had the capacity to produce nuclear weapons and that if the Arabs decided to manufacture them, that Israel could do the same in a short time.

30 years later, files released by the U.S. National Archives show that the Israeli raid caught the United States by surprise. As reported by Duncan Gardham in the London Daily Telegraph on December 30, 2011:

The United States had no warning of the attack on the Osirak reactor ordered by Menachem Begin, the Israeli Prime Minister, in June 1981 amid fears that Saddam Hussein was trying to build a nuclear weapon.

Files released by the National Archives show that Britain's ambassador to Washington, Sir Nicholas Henderson, was with US Defence Secretary Caspar Weinberger as the news came in.

"Weinberger says that he thinks Begin must have taken leave of his senses. He is much disturbed by the Israeli reaction and possible consequences," Sir Nicholas cabled London.

Britain's ambassador in Baghdad, Sir Stephen Egerton, disclosed that the Iraqis had been just as surprised when the Israeli F15 fighters appeared in their skies.

"The diplomatic corps had a ringside view of the belated ack-ack and missile reactions to the raid when we were gathered for the Italian national day reception on the Bund [waterside]," he wrote.

"The raiders had gone but the fireworks were spectacular."

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jack:

    Possibly, an Israeli strike on Iran's nukes may again catch the US and the world by surprise. In this case, with Iran a threat to the entire Middle East, I doubt anyone will care, except to blame Israel for starting WWIII.

    Behind closed doors, the Saudis would love for Israel to take out Iran's nukes because the Saudis are scared to death of the mullahs in Iran and are fearful of an Iranian takeover of the Middle East, including SA.

    There's a prophecy in Isaiah 21:13..... that pictures the refugees after an attack on Arabia, who are thirsty and hungry when they fled from the swords and distress of war that to my knowledge has not been fulfilled yet.

    “The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye traveling companies of De-da-nim.."

    Sometime in the not too distant future, Saudi Arabia will be overtaken by Iran, which is Elam, spoken of by God’s prophet Isaiah 21

    Dec. 31, 2011