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Unclear PhysicsWhy Iraq and Libya Failed to Build Nuclear Weapons$
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Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702785

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702785.001.0001

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Iraq Explores the Atom, 1956–1973

Iraq Explores the Atom, 1956–1973

Chapter:
(p.21) Chapter 1 Iraq Explores the Atom, 1956–1973
Source:
Unclear Physics
Author(s):

Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501702785.003.0002

This chapter explores the origins of the Iraqi nuclear weapons program and traces its fate between the 1958 coup d'état, the decisive ascent of the Baath regime in 1968, and Saddam Hussein's restructuring of the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) in 1973. The analysis of these two highlights Iraq's nascent state capacity and management strategies that shaped the nuclear program during its initial formative stages, namely, the absence of strong leadership: the earliest nuclear weapons ambitions were articulated by scientists, not the senior leadership. As Iraq began to explore nuclear science and technology, the state lacked the institutional capacity to plan and oversee these activities.

Keywords:   nuclear weapons program, IAEC, Saddam Hussein, nuclear science, nuclear technology, Baath regime

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