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April 06, 1990 - Image 37

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-04-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

of the estimated 2,000
British citizens currently
working in Iraq and Saddam
Hussein's nuclear program.
According to sources in
London, "money-no-object"
contracts have been
negotiated with Western
nuclear scientists at salaries
some 10 times higher than
they could have hoped to ob-
tain on the conventional job
market in Europe. The
money is reportedly being
paid through Swiss bank ac-
counts set up by the Iraqi
government specifically for
the purpose.
A leading spokesman for
the British nulcear industry,
Dr. John Gittus, was not
surprised at the news of
Iraq's recruitment success:
"You need teams of elec-
trical, mechanical and
chemical engineers to make
it work," he said. "They are
in short supply and develop-
ing countries are not
equipped to train them."
Most of the Western ex-
perts are believed to be bas-
ed at Iraq's four nuclear
facilities in the
reconstructed Tuwaitha
complex, which now con-
tains two research reactors,
a fuel fabrication plant and a
storage facility.
Following the Israeli air
raid, the plant was sur-
rounded by a vast 100-foot-
high earth rampart to deter
any possible ground assault
and is now protected by anti-
aircraft guns, as well as by
sophisticated radar and mis-
sile sites.
In addition, Iraq has an-
other reactor in the northern
military complex of Saad 16,
near the town of Mosul,
which is used for producing
the quantities of enriched
uranium that are destined
for future Iraqi nuclear
weapons.
The Saad complex, which
cost about $100 million, was
reportedly designed by an
Austrian company and built
by the West German firm
Gildemeister, ostensibly for
testing rocket engines and
boosters. The plant is said to
have been equipped with
British machinery supplied
by Churchill Matrix, while
the West German giant
Siemens is also reported to
have contributed to the
effort.
The complex has one of the
most formidable air-defense
systems in the Middle East,
and is manned by Egyptian
and South Korean techni-

cians, as well as by Soviet-
and British-trained Iraqis.
No precise information is
available on how far away
Iraq is from its goal of pro-
ducing a nuclear bomb, but
previous intelligence esti-
mates have ranged from two
to five years.
Last week's discovery that
Saddam Hussein was at-
tempting to acquire 40
nuclear triggering devices,
however, has persuaded the
analysts to radically revise
their estimates. Nuclear
triggering devices, after all,
have only one function: to
trigger a nuclear explosion.
The analysts are now
assuming that, if Iraq does
not indeed already possess
nuclear potential, it will be
able to produce nuclear
weapons of its own sooner
rather than later. ❑

Iraqi Border
For Israel?

One of the most troubl-
ing developments for
Israel over the past year
has been the formation of
an alliance between Iraq,
Egypt, Jordan and South
Yemen.
While the alliance is os-
tensibly designed to
facilitate economic coop-
eration between the four
states, Israeli observers
are convinced that it has
long-term military
implications, with par-
ticular relevance for
Israel.
They are deeply con-
cerned about Iraq's
burgeoning military
might and its potential
access, via Jordan, to
Israel's eastern border,
the longest and most
vulnerable frontier bet-
ween the Jewish state and
the Arab world.
While Jordan's King
Hussein has steadfastly
insisted that he will not
allow foreign military
forces on his soil, Israelis
note that joint Jordanian-
Iraqi air force operations
have already been con-
ducted.
In one case it was re-
ported that Iraqi jets flew
over Jordanian air space
close to the Israeli border,
theoretically enabling
Iraqi surveillance of
potential Israeli targets.

— Helen Davis

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

39

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