Magazine article Arms Control Today

Unclear Physics: Why Iraq and Libya Failed to Build Nuclear Weapons

Magazine article Arms Control Today

Unclear Physics: Why Iraq and Libya Failed to Build Nuclear Weapons

Article excerpt

Unclear Physics: Why Iraq and Libya Failed to Build Nuclear Weapons Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer, Cornell University Press, September 2016, 288 pp.

Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer examines why dictators in Iraq and Libya pursued the development of nuclear weapons and the factors that contributed to the failure of both programs. Braut-Hegghammer argues that Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gaddafi weakened state institutions to consolidate power in their respective countries, and as a result, neither leader had the capacity to manage and monitor progress on his nuclear weapons program. The destruction of formal institutions created limitations in auditing and processing the progress made on nuclear weapons programs, making it difficult for the authoritarian leaders to check how the programs were advancing. Drawing on primary source materials and interviews in the region, she concludes that both leaders were inconsistent in paying attention to their nuclear programs and created conditions that hindered technical advancement when they feared military attacks. …

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