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Thinking about Nuclear Power in Post-Saddam Iraq

Thinking about Nuclear Power in Post-Saddam Iraq

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raqis are debating the desirability of atomic power for their country. One can expect increasing Iraqi calls for a revival of the country’s nuclear capability, at least in the civilian sector, which reflects a general consensus within key sectors of Iraqi public opinion as well as a growing regional trend. The Iraqi government will continue to reestablish its legitimacy by its support of a nuclear program as a litmus test for modernity and success, and has asked France to rebuild its former reactor, although significant practical obstacles will hamper rapid development in the nuclear field. Despite a continuing widespread perception of the utility of nuclear weapons, at least in some sectors of Iraqi opinion, a near-term resumption of a military nuclear program is not likely, although volatile conditions in the region and within Iraq itself could change that option at some time in the future. U.S. and international policymakers will have to consider Iraqi views as they shape policy to manage the process of an orderly, safe, and peaceful nuclear reintegration of Iraq in the civilian sector while guaranteeing safeguards against both accidents and any future diversion of a nuclear program for military purposes or terrorist exploitation.
raqis are debating the desirability of atomic power for their country. One can expect increasing Iraqi calls for a revival of the country’s nuclear capability, at least in the civilian sector, which reflects a general consensus within key sectors of Iraqi public opinion as well as a growing regional trend. The Iraqi government will continue to reestablish its legitimacy by its support of a nuclear program as a litmus test for modernity and success, and has asked France to rebuild its former reactor, although significant practical obstacles will hamper rapid development in the nuclear field. Despite a continuing widespread perception of the utility of nuclear weapons, at least in some sectors of Iraqi opinion, a near-term resumption of a military nuclear program is not likely, although volatile conditions in the region and within Iraq itself could change that option at some time in the future. U.S. and international policymakers will have to consider Iraqi views as they shape policy to manage the process of an orderly, safe, and peaceful nuclear reintegration of Iraq in the civilian sector while guaranteeing safeguards against both accidents and any future diversion of a nuclear program for military purposes or terrorist exploitation.

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12/23/2013

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THINKING ABOUT NUCLEAR POWERIN POST-SADDAM IRAQNorman CigarApril 2010
The views expressed in this report are those of the authorand do not necessarily reect the ofcial policy or position ofthe Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, orthe U.S. Government. Authors of Strategic Studies Institute(SSI) publications enjoy full academic freedom, providedthey do not disclose classied information, jeopardizeoperations security, or misrepresent ofcial U.S. policy.Such academic freedom empowers them to offer new andsometimes controversial perspectives in the interest offurthering debate on key issues. This report is cleared forpublic release; distribution is unlimited.*****This publication is subject to Title 17, United States Code,Sections 101 and 105. It is in the public domain and may notbe copyrighted.
Visit our website for other free publicationdownloadshttp://www.StrategicStudiesInstitute.army.mil/
 
ii*****Comments pertaining to this report are invited and should beforwarded to: Director, Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army WarCollege, 122 Forbes Ave, Carlisle, PA 17013-5244.*****All Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) publications areavailable on the SSI homepage for electronic dissemination freeof charge. Hard copies of this report may also be ordered fromour homepage free of charge. SSI’s homepage address is:
www.StrategicStudiesInstitute.army.mil
.*****The Strategic Studies Institute publishes a monthly e-mailnewsletter to update the national security community on theresearch of our analysts, recent and forthcoming publications, andupcoming conferences sponsored by the Institute. Each newsletteralso provides a strategic commentary by one of our researchanalysts. If you are interested in receiving this newsletter, pleasesubscribe on our homepage at
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ISBN 1-58487-434-1
 
iii
FOREWORD
Pressure for the future spread of nuclear power forboth peaceful and military purposes has been recentlynoticeable expecially in the Middle East. Virtually allcountries in the region have expressed an interest inutilizing at least some aspect of atomic power, andin this monograph Dr. Norman Cigar examines thestatus of such thinking in post-Saddam Iraq. Publicdiscussions in Iraq are surprisingly free, and one cannd a willingness to express a range of views, evenon a sensitive topic such as nuclear power, that wouldhave been unthinkable a few years ago.Dr. Cigar has sampled opinions from all key sectorsin Iraq—government ofcials, politicians, religiousgures, scientists, academics, and news mediapundits—largely the informed public, or those whoare likely to have inuence on future decisions in thisarena. Dr. Cigar highlights the consensus for therebuilding of a nuclear establishment at least forpeaceful purposes, but also the divergent views inthe country on the utility of nuclear weapons, andthe fragmented and evolving political environment inwhich such decisions will be made. He also evaluatesthe concrete steps being taken by the new Iraqigovernment to play a role in the peaceful nuclearsector and the very real obstacles which it will haveto overcome. Dr. Cigar highlights the difculty ofisolating Iraq from regional trends and the need tomanage and control the process through internationaland bilateral safeguards, requiring some U.S. policydecisions.The Strategic Studies Institute is pleased to offerthis study as a contribution to identifying and analyz-ing this signicant emerging policy issue, hoping itwill be of relevance and interest to military and civilian

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