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Category: Iraq (page 1 of 1)

Raid on the Reactor

Presented with the kind permission of Steve Feld


The true story of how Israel used politics, espionage, blackmail, targeted assassinations and finally military power to destroy Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor and deny him the bomb.

Wikipedia on Israel’s “Operation Opera”

Operation Babylon (Codeword: Opera) was a surprise Israeli air strike carried out on June 7, 1981, that destroyed a nuclear reactor under construction 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq.

In 1976, Iraq purchased an “Osiris”-class nuclear reactor from France. Iraq and France maintained that the reactor, named Osirak by the French, was intended for peaceful scientific research. The Israelis viewed the reactor with suspicion, saying that it was designed to make nuclear weapons.

On June 7, 1981, a flight of Israeli Air Force F-16A fighter aircraft, with an escort of F-15As, bombed and heavily damaged the Osirak reactor. Israel claimed it acted in self-defense, and that the reactor had “less than a month to go” before “it might have become critical.”

Ten Iraqi soldiers and one French civilian were killed. The attack took place about three weeks before the elections for the Knesset.

The attack was strongly criticized around the world and Israel was rebuked by the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly in two separate resolutions. The destruction of Osirak has become cited as an example of a preventive strike in contemporary scholarship on international law.

BBC June 07 1981

1981: Israel bombs Baghdad nuclear reactor

The Israelis have bombed a French-built nuclear plant near Iraq’s capital, Baghdad, saying they believed it was designed to make nuclear weapons to destroy Israel.

It is the world’s first air strike against a nuclear plant.

An undisclosed number of F-15 interceptors and F-16 fighter bombers destroyed the Osirak reactor 18 miles south of Baghdad, on the orders of Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

The army command said all the Israeli planes returned safely.

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.

Mortal danger

The Israeli Government explained its reasons for the attack in a statement saying: “The atomic bombs which that reactor was capable of producing whether from enriched uranium or from plutonium, would be of the Hiroshima size. Thus a mortal danger to the people of Israel progressively arose.”

It acted now because it believed the reactor would be completed shortly – either at the beginning of July or the beginning of September 1981.

The Israelis criticised the French and Italians for supplying Iraq with nuclear materials and plegded to defend their territory at all costs.

The statement said: “We again call upon them to desist from this horrifying, inhuman deed. Under no circumstances will we allow an enemy to develop weapons of mass destruction against our people.”

The attack took place on a Sunday, they said, to prevent harming the French workers at the site who would have taken the day off.

There have been no reported casualties.

The Osirak reactor is part of a complex that includes a second, smaller reactor – also French-built – and a Soviet-made test reactor already in use.

Iraq denies the reactor was destined to produce nuclear weapons.


Patriot Act: A Jeffrey Ross Home Film

Jeffrey Ross

Presented with the kind permission of Jeffrey Ross

Bret Fetzer review

When standup comedian Jeffrey Ross joined Drew Carey’s U.S.O. show that toured through Iraq during the first year of the American occupation, he took along a video camera and made a clumsy but strikingly intimate portrait of the armed forces.

Performing in venues as different as the Baghdad Civic Center and a camouflaged camp in the middle of the desert, seven comedians (Ross, Carey, Kathy Kinney, Blake Clark, Kyle Dunnigan, Andres Fernandez, and Rocky LaPorte) did what they could to entertain soldiers who suffered sand, heat, and being shot at–but the brief snippets of rough comedy are little more than a sidelight.

The most intriguing aspects of Patriot Act (which, despite its title, is largely apolitical) are the simple conversations with G.I.s, bellhops, translators, and others, who endure a difficult situation with a weary smile and a little glimpse of hope. It’s the ordinary effort of life that comes through, even when surrounded by bombed buildings and armored vehicles. Ross has no great insights, but he proves an affable and earnest tour guide.

Jeffrey Ross in Iraq

New York Post:

THE best documentary to emerge so far from the Iraq War comes from an unexpected source.

It is comedian Jeffrey Ross, a sad sack with a high-pitched voice and a face like Walter Matthau’s.

He’s been around for years and is perhaps best known for his participation in Friars’ roasts.

And now, he deserves to be best known for something else – his personal, videotaped account of a trip he made to Iraq to entertain American troops.

The film he made – titled “Patriot Act: A Jeffrey Ross Home Movie” and running just an hour and a quarter – reveals that Ross is as observant a journalist as he is a comedian, something he might not even realize.

What is clear is this: When he was invited by his friend, Drew Carey, to join him on a one-week USO tour of Iraq in fall 2003, along with a handful of other comedians, Ross saw an opportunity to produce something worthwhile from the experience.

So he ran a camcorder throughout the entire trip and later created this documentary, which is as touching as it is hilarious.

Its hilarity stems from Ross’ running commentary throughout the film, and the performances of the comedians before appreciative crowds of servicemen and -women at bases and camps all over Iraq, some of them on the frontier and within range of enemy mortars.

Although it’s Ross’ movie, he gives ample screen time to all of the comedians on the tour, who besides Carey and himself included Blake Clark, Kyle Dunnigan, Andres Fernandez and Rocky Laporte.

Actress Kathy Kinney, who played Mimi on “The Drew Carey Show” was also on hand.

And writer Larry Gelbart, who wrote 40 episodes of “M*A*S*H,” appears in the movie (but is not part of the tour) to give Ross some sage advice about USO shows. Gelbart should know – he wrote for and traveled with Bob Hope.

The touching part is what Ross learned. “I am starting to get why Bob Hope did this for so long, because these were the best crowds I ever performed for,” Ross says at the film’s conclusion. “Every single GI that I met thanked me for coming, but I should have been thanking them because if anyone got a morale boost, it was me.”

US Sniper in Iraq

IMDB description

Inspired by the passing of U.S.O. perennial Bob Hope, Friars Club roast-master Jeffrey Ross takes Drew (Carey) up on an invitation to join the U.S.O. in their ongoing mission – delivering punch-lines on the front lines.

Having just bought a new camcorder, he travels to Iraq and captures his rare, intimate, and often times hilarious experience on camera.

Armed with nothing but that camcorder and some jokes, Ross shoots his own life-changing experience as he travels alongside six other well known comics, entertaining battle weary G.I.’s stationed in some of the most remote parts of the Sunni Triangle.