Osirak 40 Years Later: Historical Reflections on the Raid
To mark the 40th anniversary of Operation Opera, known as the Osirak air raid, the Wilson Center and Davis Institute are pleased to bring together scholars from around the world to discuss the event and its long-felt consequences.
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Forty years ago this June, one of the monumental moments in the nuclear history of the Middle East, and the world, took place when Israeli bombers flew in and destroyed the Osirak nuclear facility in Iraq. Known as Operation Opera or Operation Babylon, the Osirak air raid was a surprise airstrike conducted by the Israeli air force on June 7, 1981 – just 17 km from the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, resulting in the destruction of an unfinished Iraqi nuclear facility and effectively ending the country’s nuclear program. The consequences of this attack were great at the time, but continue to be incredibly relevant today, particularly in light of recent accusations of an Israeli attack on an Iranian nuclear facility earlier this year.
Featuring newly uncovered archival materials from all over the world, this half-day conference will explore the nature of the event as it unfolded, the Reagan administration’s reaction from Washington, the forces at play that led to the Israeli decision, and, in a roundtable discussion, the consequences and implications that linger to this day. Speakers at the panels will include scholars from the US, Europe, Israel, and the former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs, Dr. Hussain Al-Shahristani.
Assistant Professor in the International Relations Department at Bilkent University
History and Public Policy Program
The History and Public Policy Program strives to make public the primary source record of 20th and 21st century international history from repositories around the world, to facilitate scholarship based on those records, and to use these materials to provide context for classroom, public, and policy debates on global affairs. Read more
Middle East Program
The Wilson Center’s Middle East Program serves as a crucial resource for the policymaking community and beyond, providing analyses and research that helps inform U.S. foreign policymaking, stimulates public debate, and expands knowledge about issues in the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Read more