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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.

Date & Time

Jun. 1, 2021
9:00am – 12:30pm ET


Zoom Webinar



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.

Hosted By

History and Public Policy Program

The History and Public Policy Program makes public the primary source record of 20th and 21st century international history from repositories around the world, facilitates scholarship based on those records, and uses 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 US foreign policymaking, stimulates public debate, and expands knowledge about issues in the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.  Read more

Nuclear Proliferation International History Project

The Nuclear Proliferation International History Project is a global network of individuals and institutions engaged in the study of international nuclear history through archival documents, oral history interviews, and other empirical sources. At the Wilson Center, it is part of the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program.  Read more

Thank you for your interest in this event. Please send any feedback or questions to our Events staff.