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Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

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Free Iraq Campaign (fwd)

Thought I'd forward this alternative view to our anti-sanctions work. 

Feel free to respond with comments! Personally, my immediate responses
are: a) sanctions are not going to bring Saddam down (if anything, the
opposite is true); b) the humanitarian concerns on which CASI is based
transcend the politics of the situation - the sanctions are simply wrong
and immoral, whatever Saddam is up to.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 16 May 1998 12:37:22 -0400
From: Nibras Kazimi <>
Subject: Free Iraq Campaign            May 23-June 8, 1998

DISCLAIMER: I truely apologize if this message is a nuisance. You will
only hear from me this once, unless, of course, you contact me with
welcome questions and inquiries.

Dear Friend,

I am contacting you to salute your efforts and goodwill for the Iraqi
people. You have demonstrated not only concern and commitment, but also
a vibrant, decent and humane nature. Your contributions towards the
lifting of sanctions off Iraq is a sign of hope that in this dark,
cynical and insensitive world, there are still those who care and act
for others. However, I am also saddened to see that all this goodwill
towards the hungry and shackled people of Iraq is misguided and
manipulated. Your efforts have been part and parcel of the regime's
media blitz, and anything that serves the purposes of Saddam Hussein's
regime is yet another wound inflicted upon the Iraqi soul.

There are 160,000 Iraqis in the United States, another 50,000 in Canada.
The United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees estimates that about 4
million Iraqis have been driven into exile; of this number, about a
million were forcibly deported by the regime. Now ask yourself how many
Iraqis participated in the Lift the Sanctions Campaign? Very few. Why?
Well, the organizers believe that Iraqis in exile are enjoying the
comforts of the West and have forgotten the misery of those withering
inside. That simply is not true. The vast majority of Iraqis must now
not only support themselves but also their  family, friends, neighbors
and relatives languishing in Iraq. No Iraqi, whether in the opposition
groups or not can openly praise the sanctions because the sanctions are
simply inhumane. However, there is a reason why they don't participate
in numbers befitting the sizes of their communities: they see your
passions manipulated by a regime that imprisoned, tortured, starved,
deported, raped and stripped them and their families of the most basic
of human rights: life. A regime that rules by sheer brutality and
indescribable cruelty; a regime that waged genocide, obliterated whole
cities, and shackled the citizenry of Iraq to a rapacious war machine.
One day we will uncover the mass graves, one day we will sift through
the documents, one day we will liberate the concentration camps, and
after binding, highlighting and cataloguing our case, we will march up
the same trail taken by former nations that carried damning evidence of
gas chambers and killing fields. Your goodwill should not be shamed and
held accountable on that day. Do not become Saddam's tools against the
Iraqi people.

Iraqis live in fear, even here in America. Why? Saddam's regime holds
our families hostage. If a person here were to go on TV and speak their
minds on Iraq, his/her elderly mother or any other immediate family
member would be taken in by the Iraqi Secret Police, the dreaded
Mukhaberat. They would only be released if that person returns to Iraq
and hands himself/herself over to the authorities. How do they monitor
this? They have a very sofisticated network of Iraqi and Arab mercenary
informants and agents who earn their paychecks by reporting on the
activities of this or that person. It is a real, not imagined or
paranoid, fear. Back in the 1980s, when Saddam was the darling of the
West, tens of prominent Iraqi dissidents were assassinated abroad, and
hundreds more were abducted and went "missing". Outrage? Saddam buried
182,000 "missing" civilian Kurds in mass graves west of the Samawan
desert; do you honestly believe that no satellites picked that up? He
leveled 4000+ villages as part of the same campaign, the Anfal campaign
of 1988-89. The chemical attack on Halabja was just one manifestation of
this campaign, fortunately captured on tape and film by an Iranian
journalistic team accompanying the Iranian troops, and thus exposed to
the world. Even back then, Time Magazine only gave it two pages.
Remember, Halabja happened only three years before the sanctions were

There have always been sanctions in Iraq, imposed on anyone who didn't
curry the favor of the regime. Internal sanctions were always imposed on
certain areas like the south and the Kurdish north, where food stuffs
were always rationed, services rare and medical attention scant.
Removing the sanctions today would only mean one thing: a lifeline to
Saddam. If he were to accept the last increases in the Oil-For-Food
deal, which gives Iraq an annual revenue of 10.4 billion dollars, then
that would be enough to feed the Iraqi people and provide medical
attention; that is not what he seeks. How does that work? Well, 30% of
the revenue would go towards war reparations and compensations (incurred
on Iraq's future by Saddam), and that would leave 7 billion dollars for
Iraq. The total civilian imports in 1989 (this was a good year in the
brief peacetime between Saddam's follies of the Iran-Iraq War and the
Kuwait invasion) amounted to 11 billion dollars; which included
Mercedeses for Saddam and his retinue and cuban cigars and caviar for
his henchmen. Medical needs amounted to 500 million dollars. Saddam has
yet to accept the new increases in the Oil-For-Food Deal. He wants us
Iraqis to starve infront of your eyes a little while longer so that he
can get the sanctions lifted. [The Oil for Food program was first
proposed and then expanded by the efforts of the democratic Iraqi
opposition by pressuring the US and the UK to relieve the suffering of

But why is that the most important issue for him? He needs the sanctions
lifted in order to put fresh cash in his coffers and most importantly,
to control the spending of this money: reimpose sanctions on certain
segments of the population, re-expand his military capabilies and of
course, get re-integrated in the international community and start
hunting down dissidents. Under the current UN plan, the Oil-for-Food
teams stationed in Iraq are the only ones authorized for the
distribution of food stuffs. Translated: the well-fed Republican Guards
and the starving children which are shown on TV are treated equally.
This undermines the very premise of Saddam's regime: co-opting segments
of the society to coerce others.

Iraq's problem is Saddam Hussein. The terrible suffering of the Iraqi
people did not start in 1991 when the sanctions were imposed. The
nightmare began in 1968 when Saddam's Ba'ath Party came to power and
terrorized the nation. Everyone involved in the Free Iraq Campaign is
exposing their families back in Iraq to a lot of danger. Many others are
assisting silently. We need you, those who have recognized the humanity
and suffering of the Iraqi people, those who have put the faces and
names of Iraqi children before their eyes and in their hearts; we need
you to raise your free voice and call for the indictment of Saddam and
his gang for their crimes against humanity. I beseech the Iraqi Action
Coalition and the Voices in the Wilderness group to continue their noble
efforts but also to change their policy of accomodating this evil regime
by refusing to denounce it. I ask you to share this message with friends
and e-mail lists, and attend the rallies in the cities near you. The US
administration, specifically National Security Advisor Sandy Berger,
wish to forget about the headache posed by Saddam and water down their
policy of containment towards one of deterrance. They do not believe in
or respect the democratic Iraqi opposition whom they consider to be weak
and ineffectual. The underlying premise is racist: "Iraqis are backwards
for a concept such as democracy; that is why they need an authoritarian
and blood-thirsty tyrant like Saddam". Please help us for it is an
unfair fight: at best, we have Kalashnikovs and rusting rifles while he
is equipped with chemical weapons. Yesterday's New York Times reported
on the regime's desire to purchase 35 US-made helicopter gunships,
equipped with chemical sprays, through Canada. The regime is not
suffering from sanctions, they want them lifted so that they can ready
for a day of reckoning. Iraqis are sick of war and tyranny, but they are
in utter despair. They rose in a valiant rebellion in 1991 and liberated
70% of Iraq's territory but stood bewildered and betrayed as the West
ignored the massacres unleashed against them once Saddam regained his
balance and was permitted to fly his armed helicopter gunships by the

Lift the sanctions by overthrowing Saddam. Do not subtract Saddam from
the sanctions equation. The people of Iraq want bread and freedom, and
they are counting on your goodwill and efforts. We Iraqis in exile are
trying to echo the cries of help from those caught inside; will someone
listen to our pleas?

Feel free to contact me or the city-specific organizers with any
questions or inquiries.

Thank you for your understanding and compassion,

Yours Sincerely,

Nibras Kazimi
Tel: (508) 641-0443
Fax: (617) 876-0839
For more information about the campaign:
For more general information:

                FREE IRAQ CAMPAIGN
                                                        May 23- June 8,

Free Iraq Campaign Mission Statement

     A group of independent Iraqis and Iraqi-Americans
     will undertake a bus journey touring eleven states
     from San Francisco, California, to Washington, DC in
     a campaign to indict Saddam Hussein for his crimes
     against humanity including the crime of genocide; to
     implement UN Resolution 688 calling on the Iraqi
     government to respect the human rights of all its
     citizens and to call for lifting the economic sanctions
     against the innocent Iraqi people.

     The group will kick off the campaign in California
     and drive through several states ending in
     Washington DC. At every stop, the group will carry
     out public rallies with local Iraqis, Iraqi-Americans, and
     sympathizers talking to people, government
     officials, and the media about the Indict Campaign,
     UN Resolution 688 and the sanctions against
     innocent civilians, exposing the Iraqi regime's crimes,
     and collecting signatures on a letter addressed to
     leaders of the international community. The letter will
     urge the international community to bring Saddam
     Hussein and his cronies before an international court
     of justice and to help the Iraqi people choose their
     own government based on freedom, justice and
     respect for human rights for all Iraqis. The Free Iraq
     Campaign will present the letter and signatures to the
     American Administration and Congress and to the
     member states of the United Nations Security

     To make this campaign possible, the group is seeking
     donations from all Iraqis, Iraqi-Americans, and
     Americans, in funds, effort and time.  We will be
     following up on the "Free Iraq" journey, bringing you
     the latest details about the progress of the bus tour.

    For more information, please contact:
    Mr. Nibras Kazimi at
    Web site at Events Board of
                  Tel. (508) 641-0443
                  Fax. (617) 876-0839
             All donations are to be mailed to:
                                  Iraqi American Committee
                                  P.O. Box 41164
                                  Los Angeles, CA 90041

Free Iraq Campaign Endorsements: (alphabetically)
     Assyrian National Alliance, Chicago, IL
     Canadian Iraqi Community Relief Fund, ONT
     Independent Iraqi Group of North America, Toronto, ONT
     Iraqi American Committee, Los Angeles, CA
     Iraqi Democratic Union, CA, AZ, MI
     Iraqi Forum for Democracy, Nashville, TN
     Iraq Foundation, Washington, DC
     Iraqi Turkoman Association of Toronto, ONT
     Kurdish National Congress of North America
     Muslim Public Affairs Council, Los Angeles, CA

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