Nuclear Weapons, Justice and the Law

Nuclear Weapons, Justice and the Law

Elli Louka

It is often argued that the nuclear non-proliferation order divides the world into nuclear-weapon-haves and have-nots, creating a nuclear apartheid. Employing a careful and nuanced discussion of this claim, Elli Louka examines the architecture of the nuclear non-proliferation order, the fairness and effectiveness of international and regional institutions and scenarios for the future of nuclear weapons.

Chapter 11: Enforcement, Preemption and Precautionary Self-defense

Elli Louka

Subjects: law - academic, public international law, terrorism and security law, politics and public policy, terrorism and security


1. ATTACKING NUCLEAR REACTORS 1.1 The 2007 Attack at Al Kibar, Syria On September 6, 2007, Israel bombed a target in Eastern Syria located in the Al Kibar area1 close to the Iraqi border.2 The attack and the reasons for it were shrouded in secrecy. There was speculation in the media that the target might have been a nuclear reactor.3 Information about the incident was restricted to some officials and the Israeli press was prevented from publishing information about the attack.4 After the Israeli raid, satellite images showed the site being bulldozed clear in an alleged attempt by Syria to destroy evidence about the facility.5 In October 2007, a nongovernmental organization successfully located the site through satellite The Al Kibar facility was located in an isolated desert region of eastern Syria called Dayr az Zawr close to the Euphrates River. 2 CNN first reported the strike as an attack targeting Hezbollah militants. See ‘Syria Complains to UN about Israeli Airstrike,’ CNN, Sept. 11, 2007 available online In a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Syria called the raid ‘a breach of air space of the Syrian Arab Republic.’ There was speculation that about ten North Koreans working at the facility died but these reports remained unverified. See Tak Kumakura, ‘North Koreans May Have Died in Israel Attack on Syria, NHK Says,’, Apr. 28, 2008. See also Uzi Mahnaimi and Sarah Baxter, ‘Israelis Seized Nuclear Material in Syrian Raid,’ Timesonline, Sept. 23, 2007...

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