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Re: Iraq

On Thu, 5 Feb 1998, S. Barakat wrote:

> hi everyone,
> > It is perfectly clear that there is a degree of hypocrisy about the US's
> > stance (after all, there was no such enthusiasm for getting embroiled in
> > Bosnia) but I would ask people what the alternative is to sanctions or
> > military action.  If we do not want either, then how are we to force
> > Saddam to comply with United Nations resolutions?
> > 
> > Iraq may possess weapons of mass destruction capable of causing vast
> > suffering to the people of Israel and other countries in the area.  
> hypocrisy is indeed the issue here.
> the problem many people, and especially arabs have with the concept of "we
> have to take military action to make iraq comly to the un resolutions to
> secure stability in the area" is that noone pays any attention to UN
> reesolutions at all when israel is concerned. 
> israel (possessing nuclear weapons "of mass destruction") has declared
> openly that whatever stand the UN takes they will go on with eg their
> settlement policy, ie they don't respect UN decisions.
> the situation is of course completely different, but one wonders what
> factors determine when the compliance to UN resolutions is deemed vital
> for the future of the "free world" and when it isn't - ie noone would ever
> dream of even introducing slight economic sanctions against israel. or
> turkey for that matter who don't treat their kurds that much better than
> saddam hussein does...

Just because it is hypocritical NOT to attack Turkey or other nations
for their human rights violations doesn't mean that we should ignore human 
rights violations of everyone, does it? No- it is unfair that Iraq is
getting so much more pressure. But don't be deceived that people were not
furious about the Israeli policy of "mild force" this summer, or the many
human rights abuses coming from Turkey, Bahrain and other countries in the
region. My feeling is that economic sanctions are viewed completely wrong.
The countries such as Iraq are the ones targetted, but the ones on whom
they are least effective. I think economic sanctions on Israel and Turkey
is a great idea- but have you noticed what popular holiday spots they are?
Do you think people would give up a sunny (or perhaps religiously
meaningful) vacation just because a government is cruel to its own? Too
many people think their tourist money will help the nations' economies and
make such atrocities irrelevant, rather than seeing the more real
situation that they are simply reinforcing existing power structures and

Also- in the US, there was plenty of enthusiasm to get involved in Bosnia
in the early 1990s. But there is always a winner in such debates, and
those who supported US military intervention there lost. You cannot
underestimate the psychological trauma of Vietnam on the American people.
They are pertified of 2 things- 1) being wrong; 2) losing.

> which brings me to a question which is slightly "off-topic": iraq got most
> of its weapons from "us", many of the suppied during the iran iraq war.
> now, does anyone know whether there were certain conditions attached to
> receiving those weapons (eg only shoot iranians but not kurds)? this might
> sound extreemly silly, but i know for a fact that germany exports tanks to
> turkey, with turkey's promis that they wont use them against the kurds
> (which is always a great source of embarassment when some stupid
> journalist films german tanks in the process of shooting at kurds...)
> samira
The weapons given to Iraq, as far as I know, were given under the
condition that Iraq never allign itself with Communism. The US did not at
that point think too much about whether the nations who were recieving the
weapons were good- in terms of their governing of their own people- but
simply wanted to prevent the expansion of Soviet influence. If you will
recall, the Iranians were fighting with weapons from the USSR, so it was a
war that the 'super powers' themselves didn't have to fight, and also one
in which Arabs got to fight each other while someone else footed part of
the bill.

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