The Fist of God

The Fist of God

"The Fist of God" is a 1994 novel by Frederick Forsyth, mixing known fact with fiction to tell a story of the coalition forces in the Persian Gulf War racing against time to discover the true nature of Saddam Hussein's secret weapon, 'The Fist of God.'

The story begins with the assassination of Dr. Gerald Bull, a real Canadian space researcher, who developed a supergun for the Iraqi nuclear weapons project. It then continues with various covert and overt missions by Israeli, American and British military to uncover and destroy the Iraqi nuclear capability.The story features the brothers Mike and Terry Martin who also appear in Forsyth's 2006 novel "The Afghan".


Dr. Gerald Bull designs a supergun codenamed Project Babylon for Iraq. He believes that it is for launching Arab satellites into space and that it could serve no military purpose since it could only fire once and then would be located, targeted and destroyed. He realizes the true reason shortly before being assassinated by his Iraqi paymasters.

Iraq then invades Kuwait and the British and Americans need top level intelligence on the ground. Major Mike Martin of the Special Air Service is seconded to SIS to work with the Kuwaiti resistance. Not only does Major Martin speak fluent Arabic, but with his jet black hair and dark complexion, he can actually pass for an Arab. His brother, Terry Martin, an expert in Arab military studies, is asked to advise a joint Anglo-American committee on possible Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The CIA does not have any assets in the Iraqi government, so they ask the Israelis; Mossad deny they have any active assets in Iraq. This is not strictly true as they did have an asset, codenamed Jericho, but he remained anonymous and they were never able to identify him. They have paid $2 million into his Viennese bank account for information about Iraq's military strength, but he has gone to ground since the invasion. However, one of the team who helped run him, a man who feels the truth is most important, tells the Americans, and Israel is forced to admit the truth or face reprecussions in Washington. As Israel is forced to stay out of this war - for political reasons, so as not to alienate the Arab nations taking part - they agree to let the Americans run Jericho - if they can find him. Mike Martin is recalled from Kuwait and sent into Iraq to run Jericho through a series of dead drops. His cover is as house gardener to the Soviet embassy in Baghdad. Meanwhile, the Mossad Director is furious over the American actions regarding Jericho, but quickly comes up with a plan called "Operation Joshua" to be staged in Vienna that will resolve Jericho's situation from his end in the Mossad's favor.

The committee on WMD concludes that Iraq's biological weapons capability is not a threat and, though it has a plentiful supply of yellowcake, it has not had enough time with its limited underground centrifuges to spin it out into weapons grade uranium to make an atomic bomb. They decide that gas is the real threat, so the Americans make an unequivocal threat to the Iraqi government to nuke Baghdad if gas is used. However, an overeager American F-15 pilot, angry at an aborted bombing run, drops his bomb on a building not on his target list and reconnaissance photographs reveal strange large metal discs underneath the roof. Terry Martin is asked to take the photographs to Lawrence Livermore in California to see if they can identify the discs. It is a retired veteran of the Manhattan Project who is able to tell him - they are Calutrons, California Cyclotrons, a low-tech solution to refining uranium, but ideal for Third World nations wanting to develop their own nuclear capability. If used in conjunction with Iraq's existing centrifuges, Iraq would already have made a nuclear bomb.

Jericho reveals the location of the factory where the atomic bomb was put together and it is bombed. But he later reveals that the bomb had been moved hours earlier to its new site. Despite the $5 million already paid to him, Major Martin offers him $3 million more to reveal the bomb's new location. The Americans believe Jericho is bluffing. One problem is delivery - such a bomb would be too heavy to attach to a Scud missile and the USAF will destroy any fighter plane that tries to sneak past their air supremacy. The solution is a supergun, hidden in the desert. It will fire, just once, a single atomic weapon - “The Fist of God” - into Saudi Arabia the moment the Americans invade Iraq. 100,000 soldiers will die and the radioactive fallout will be carried into Iran. Jericho reveals the location of the supergun and Major Martin volunteers to HALO jump into Iraq to destroy it. The Americans agree to delay the invasion by two days, citing weather conditions as the reason. Martin and his SAS team lase the target and a single F-15 destroys the Supergun in a bombing run. General Norman Schwarzkopf is told the mission has been successful and orders the land invasion of Iraq.

In "Operation Joshua", a Mossad agent seduces the secretary to the Viennese banker who handles Jericho's account; she reveals he keeps details of the accounts in a secret compartment of his desk. Mossad break into the bank and secretly photocopy the account details. They then transfer the whole $10 million out of his account into one owned by Mossad, known as the "Fun Fund". Edith Hardenburg, the secretary, commits suicide when she realized what her "lover" has done with her information. Jericho - who turns out to be Brigadier Omar Khatib (the Tormentor), the head of the AMAM - is picked up by Mossad agents pretending to be American intelligence. He is flown out of Iraq, drugged and his body thrown into the sea from 10,000 feet.

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