How Israel destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor (built by the French) in 1981

The "Information Center on Israel" ( has an animation that describes in great detail how Israel destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981:

From the Institute for National Strategic Studies:

In June 1981, Menachem Begin, then Prime Minister of Israel, faced the same dilemma that had faced Iran concerning Saddam Hussein's Iraq. The Israelis had watched apprehensively for two years as Saddam appeared to be nearing a nuclear weapons capability. The centerpiece of his effort was a French-built Osirak-type nuclear reactor turning out plutonium at Tuwaitah. (Note 40) After considerable internal debate within the Israeli ruling circle, Begin ordered his aircraft to bomb it to derail the Iraqi nuclear bomb effort.

Ariel Sharon, part of the Israeli ruling circle, said that, "This was perhaps the most difficult decision which faced any (Israeli) government during all the years of the state's existence."

Begin and a number of other Israeli leaders have been very effective in dealing with terrorists and tough in making military decisions because they, too, were once urban guerrillas operating from relatively weak military positions. They understood the bottom line on fights to the death; hit first with maximum strength. Those who hesitate may die. No present Western national leaders have had this hard experience or appear to share the street fighter mentality that might be required in a confrontation with a nuclear-armed and hostile radical regime.

Israeli intelligence had followed the Iraqi military buildup in the late 1970s. Saddam Hussein had assembled an army of 190,000 men organized into 12 divisions, augmented by 2,200 tanks and 450 aircraft. Both the Isreali Labor government of 1974-77 and the Likud government of 1977-81 closely watched and debated what to do about the Osirak reactor then being constructed with considerable French and Italian help.

Partners in 1975: Saddam Hussein and Jacques Chirac
Late 70's: France builds a nuclear reactor for Iraq

"French help" is an understatement: the French, then lead by Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, built the nuclear reactor for Iraq. Yes, this is the same French weasel who alone with Germany today opposes the US war to stop the butcher from Baghdad.

Il y a des fois ou j'ai honte d'etre Francais (there are times I'm ashamed of being French).

Thanks to LGF for the link. See below for the full animation and an article from today's New York Times that shows how Chirac not only built a nuclear reactor for Saddam Hussein but is now trying to "shut up" Eastern European countries that openly support the United States.

Operation "Opera" - Israel destroys the Iraqi nuclear reactor (1981)

Chirac Upsets East Europe by Telling It to 'Shut Up' on Iraq

BRUSSELS, Feb. 18 — The continental rift over Iraq widened sharply today after East European candidates for European Union membership reacted indignantly to advice from President Jacques Chirac of France to pipe down on the subject or risk losing their chance to join Europe's most powerful economic and political club.

"We thought we were preparing for war with Saddam Hussein and not Jacques Chirac," said Alexander Vondra, deputy foreign minister of the Czech Republic, one of the European Union applicants that have drawn French ire by openly supporting the United States and Britain in the Iraqi crisis. Mr. Vondra said his country and its immediate neighbors "definitely cannot remain silent," as Mr. Chirac advised on Monday.

Adam Rotfeld, deputy foreign minister of Poland, the largest of the European Union candidates, said, "France has a right to define its own policy and we have to respect it," but he added that France must offer the same respect to Poland.

Mr. Chirac, in an unusual outburst to reporters in Brussels on Monday after a contentious emergency European Union summit meeting on Iraq, derided those Central and East European countries that have signed letters expressing their support for the United States as "childish," "dangerous" and missing "an opportunity to shut up."

He went on to suggest that opposing France and Germany could hurt candidates for European Union membership.

"When you are in the family," Mr. Chirac said, "you have more rights than when you are asking to join and knocking on the door."

He warned that Romania and Bulgaria, the poorest of the 10 candidates to the 15-member bloc, "could hardly find a better way" of reducing their chances for membership by speaking up against France.

The war of words heightened tension between the two sides as leaders of the European Union aspirants arrived today in Brussels for a briefing on the emergency summit meeting, which they were not invited to attend despite appeals by Britain and Spain.

That tension has grown steadily as Central and East European countries have sided with the United States over how to resolve the Iraq crisis. France and Germany have resisted the American push for military action, leading Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld last month to chastise the two as "old Europe," out of step with the "new Europe" made up of former Soviet-bloc countries.

The divide broke into the open when eight European leaders, including European Union candidates Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, signed a letter of support for Washington's position in January. That letter was followed by another signed by an additional 10 countries, including seven European Union candidates.

The controversy has highlighted France's ambivalence toward the European Union's enlargement, which it has long feared would weaken the Europe's power on the world stage, or at least weaken France's ability to dominate it.

Jacques Rupnik, a leading French expert on Central and Eastern Europe, said the French are beginning to feel that they perhaps ought not to have let the Easterners join the European Union after all.

"There is a lot of irritation in France about the alignment of the candidates toward the U.S. position," Mr. Rupnik said, adding there is suspicion in France that the poorer European countries are attracted only by European Union economic support but that "for the serious stuff they address themselves to Washington."

Posted by David Melle
 Link to this page |   Email this entry |   digg this


I would like to remind Mr. Chirac that twice in the last century france has been over run by an ememy army and both times it was the united states and england that restored there freedom. The freedom that they now abuse.

Posted by: bob decker at March 6, 2003 12:23 AM

French Hypocrisy over Iraq??

France vetoed US intervention in Iraq to restore democracy on
claims that the war would be illegal, un-democratic and ultimately an
abuse of human rights of the iraqi people. Well, "people in glass
houses should not throw stones" or they could end up with 'cracking
their own glass' or even unwanted international embarassment at a time
when the whole world's eyes and ears are listening to the ' voice of
reason, wisdom and fairness."
I ask you, the world, if it is fair that someone can be jailed in France
for 6-months without charge or proof of a crime having been committed,
solely on the basis of his colour or ethnic background? This happens in
the french judicial system and may continue to happen if the "Graham
case" is not exposed. Perhaps this is the time for France to clean-up
its own house before leading a ' moral crusade' on right behaviour,
democracy, "liberty, fraternity and equality".

The "Graham case" is attached.

j.swift - freelance journalist, london

(Note from the editors of a long article on the "Graham case" was posted in this comment and has been deleted. Please contact j.swift directly for more information).

Posted by: j.swift at March 27, 2003 03:04 AM

Israel did the right thing. No Muslim country,Arab or otherwise , can be trusted with WMD. Their religion which teaches nothing but bigotry against other religions will prompt these Muslim states to be recless.I fully understand Israel's position. I admire Israel for its grit and courage.

Posted by: Pravin at August 26, 2003 11:52 AM

Pravin you have no knowledge of Islam what soever

Posted by: Raymond Chang at February 11, 2005 01:05 PM

I think Israel's attacks were not justified but when you look it from Israel's point of view you have to agree with them ......Pravin i just want to comment on you statement you have no idea about Islam ....Islam and extremism are two not just different but totally oppositethings

Posted by: Jilli at October 12, 2006 12:48 AM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

Enter the code shown:   
This helps us prevent automated spam comments

Comments are open and unmoderated, although obscene or abusive remarks may be deleted. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of See the Terms of Use for more details.

Email this entry
Email this entry to
(Please enter email address):

Your email address:

Message (optional):

Referrers to this Page


This site contains some copyrighted materials the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.