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Pushing the Osiraq Kool-Aid

There has been an interesting exchange recently between Mehdi Hasan of The New Statesman and Paul Staines (aka Guido Fawkes) writing in The Commentator.  Staines took Mehdi to task for claiming that Osiraq does not hold up as a good model for preventing nuclear proliferation, after their initial exchange on twitter.

Mehdi today responded to Staines piece.  In reading the exchange you will notice, that Mehdi cites numerous specialists in the fields of international security and nuclear proliferation etc, such as Richard BettsMalfrid Braut Hegghammer, Dan Reiter and Michael Hayden (among others).

By way of rebuttal, Paul Staines offers up one single quote, from world renown nuclear proliferation expert….Bill Clinton, whom Staines describes as ‘(you know, former president of the United States and all that)’ – unfortunately for Staines ‘all that’ doesn’t extend to expertise in the field of nuclear proliferation, nor history it seems, as Mehdi pointed out in his response.  Of course, it would be fair to say that Mehdi had at his disposal an embarrassment of riches with regard to experts in the field who support his own analysis.  Some of those who didn’t make the cut…

People such as Dr Jayantha Dhanapala and Bennett Ramberg.  Dhanapala cites Ramberg in his paper –  COUNTER-PROLIFERATION AND THE ROLE OF THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL

in an article entitled “Preemption Paradox” in the July/August 2006 issueof the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,
Bennett Ramberg analyses why the example of Osirak was not repeated and concludes that “surgical military strikes can only buy time” and that “preemption is no easy solution”.

There is also Greg Thielman

In this context, it is instructive to look anew at the conventional wisdom about Israel’s 1981 raid on Iraq’s Osirak reactor. Generally regarded as a spectacular success, the attack did indeed delay Saddam Hussein’s nuclear weapons program. But Iraq’s determination to succeed was strengthened, its commitment of personnel and resources skyrocketed, and its success at hiding its activities from the IAEA and Western intelligence collectors increased.

You can read about Iraq’s pursuit of nuclear weapons AFTER the raid on Osiraq here -and yet in light of all the evidence to the contrary,  Staines claims that…

The reactor was destroyed and Saddam’s nuclear programme was halted in its tracks.

Now one point not often raised, is the fact that Saddam was therefore pursuing nuclear technology with more vigour after having been attacked by Israel.  No doubt Saddam enjoyed raining those scud missiles down on Tel Aviv and Haifa during the first Gulf war getting a little payback whilst trying to drag Israel into the war and upset the coalition which included some Arab nations.

So a question people like Paul Staines need to ask themselves – In light of the fact that, as the experts agree, an attack on Iran will only delay (and no doubt enrage) them, bearing in mind also that both the US and Israel intelligence officials agree that Iran has not decided to build a bomb – do they really think attacking Iran is a sensible option?  You think Israelis would live comfortably knowing they have attacked another nation, who may or may not now be pursuing Nuclear weapons?

Its time to stop drinking the Osiraq Kool-Aid.

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