"This study examines why Saddam Hussein pursued nuclear weapons and, as a basic aspect of that question, how he might have employed that capability had he acquired it, whether for deterrence, warfighting, or something else. As the key decision maker in Iraq, Saddam's own thinking was central. His perception of regional threats, primarily from Iran and Israel,were a prime motivator. In addition, Saddam viewed acquiring nuclear weapons as a potent vehicle to help legitimize his regime and burnish his personal image as leader both at home and in the Arab World, as a modernizer and defender of national interests.A better understanding of the Iraqi case can also clarify the enduring issues related to how regional leaders may view nuclear weapons in this world of looming proliferation."
Middle East Studies Occasional Papers (June 2011), no.1