The US and the Israeli raid on the Iraqi Osiraq nuclear reactor

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On 7 June 1981, Israeli warplanes attacked Iraq's Osiraq nuclear reactor and destroyed it. Surprised by the raid, the Reagan's administration was puzzled about how to react. Some officials supported punishing Israel, while others recognized the advantages of the attack though they could not say it publicly. Washington knew that its moderate Arab allies expected a firm reaction, especially as Israel used American airplanes in the attack, apparently violating the 1952 Agreement between the two countries. Under the lead of President Ronald Reagan, Washington opted for a mild reaction, practically indirectly recognizing Israel's right to destroy the atomic reactors of its Arab enemies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)953-968
Number of pages16
JournalMiddle Eastern Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Iraqi nuclear reactor
  • Israel
  • Jimmy Carter
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Menachem Begin
  • Ronald Reagan
  • the U.S

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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