.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Monday, June 07, 2004

THANK YOU ISRAEL This day in 1981 the Israeli Air Force destroyed Saddam’s nuclear weapon's programme. In terms of single acts this is probably one of the greatest achievements for peace and security achieved in the second half of the 20th century. If Israel hadn't done this Saddam would have had nuclear weapons by 1990 when he invaded Kuwait and started the war that is still being fought out low-intensity style in Iraq today. The consequences would have been that we wouldn't have been able to halt Saddam's rampage there but instead would have to have waited until he used up all his nuclear weapons on his neighbours before we stopped him. The carnage would have been absolutely unbelievable. Given this, it's odd that the Arab League hasn't quite yet managed to send Israel a thank-you note. Perhaps another day, eh?
Reading the account of the raid this struck me in particular:
The 70-megawatt uranium-powered reactor was near completion but had not been stocked with nuclear fuel so there was no danger of a leak, according to sources in the French atomic industry.
I find it amazing and praiseworthy that even when faced with such a threat Israel still made the well-being of people living in the area of the reactor a part of its considerations.
Here's another thing that had a vaguely familiar ring to it:
Iraq denies the reactor was destined to produce nuclear weapons.
In the aftermath of operation Desert Storm we found definite proof of that programme that Saddam denied. Given this, why on earth should we have taken Saddam's statements in 2002/2003 serious when he made similar claims?
In regards to operation Iraqi Freedom this episode shows another thing, namely that of lasting success. Israel's strike was a success, but only in delaying the problem. Of course the West could have simply decided to go back and bomb Iraq's weapons installations every couple of years, again and again, without really solving the underlying problem, Saddam Hussein. The only way to solve the problem for sure consisted in toppling Saddam and building an Iraq that would not have the desire to engage in such dangerous policies.

And while we're in this present day territory, the whole story also puts some more question marks over Jaques Chirac's behaviour and the ideological basis for his foreign policy:
French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac cultivated France's special relationship with Iraq during the 1970s to maintain an influence in a region dominated by Anglo-Saxons and boost trade links with the oil-rich nation.
He led the universal condemnation of Israel's attack on Osirak.
Then, 22 years later - as French president - Mr Chirac was vehemently against the USA and Britain going to war with Iraq over the issue of weapons of mass destruction.
So, where did I recently see this concern with Anglo-Saxon power? It's sure strange company that Mr Chirac finds himself in.

Concluding this post I just want to point you to this good piece in the Wall Street Journal on this whole affair and, for what it's worth, this computer presentation on the Osirak bombing. Again I can only say a heartfelt thank you Israel. Thank you.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?