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to those who've recently joined this list -- a list of addresses and fax numbers for UK government officials to whom you might like to write and express your feelings about the bombing of Iraq was sent out a few days ago. You can find it on our website in the Discussion List Archive. http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/casi/ --seb ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Robert Fisk - Deadly cost of a degrading act WE ARE now in the endgame, the final bankruptcy of Western policy towards Iraq, the very last throw of the dice. We fire 200 cruise missiles into Iraq and what do we expect? Is a chastened Saddam Hussein going to emerge from his bunker to explain to us how sorry he is? Will he tell us how much he wants those nice UN inspectors to return to Baghdad to find his "weapons of mass destruction"? Is that what we think? Is that what the Anglo-American bombardment is all about? And if so, what happens afterwards? What happens when the missile attacks end - just before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, because, of course, we really are very sensitive about Iraqi religious feelings - and Saddam Hussein tells us that the UN inspectors will never be allowed to return? As the cruise missiles were launched, President Clinton announced that Saddam had "disarmed the [UN] inspectors", and Tony Blair - agonising about the lives of the "British forces" involved (all 14 pilots) - told us that "we act because we must". In so infantile a manner did we go to war on Wednesday night. No policies. No perspective. Not the slightest hint as to what happens after the bombardment ends. With no UN inspectors back in Iraq, what are we going to do? Declare eternal war against Iraq? We are "punishing" Saddam - or so Mr Blair would have us believe. And all the old cliches are being trundled out. In 1985, just before he bombed them, Ronald Reagan told the Libyans that the United States had "no quarrel with the Libyan people". In 1991, just before he bombed them, George Bush told the Iraqis that he had "no quarrel with the Iraqi people". And now we have Tony Blair - as he bombs them - telling Iraqis that, yes, he has "no quarrel with the Iraqi people". Is there a computer that churns out this stuff? Is there a cliche department at Downing Street which also provides Robin Cook with the tired phrase of the American Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, about how Saddam used gas "against his own people"? For little did we care when he did use that gas against the Kurds of Halabja - because, at the time, those Kurds were allied to Iran and we, the West, were supporting Saddam's invasion of Iran. The lack of any sane long-term policy towards Iraq is the giveaway. Our patience - according to Clinton and Blair - is exhausted. Saddam cannot be trusted to keep his word (they've just realised). And so Saddam's ability to "threaten his neighbours" - neighbours who don't in fact want us to bomb Iraq - has to be "degraded". That word "degraded" is a military term, first used by General Schwarzkopf and his boys in the 1991 Gulf war, and it is now part of the vocabulary of the weak. Saddam's weapons of mass destruction have to be "degraded". Our own dear Mr Cook was at it again yesterday, informing us of the need to "degrade" Saddam's military capability. How? The UN weapons inspectors - led for most of the time by Scott Ritter (the man who has admitted he kept flying to Israel to liaise with Israeli military intelligence), could not find out where Saddam's nuclear, biological and chemical weapons were hidden. They had been harassed by Iraq's intelligence thugs, and prevented from doing their work. Now we are bombing the weapons facilities which the inspectors could not find. Or are we? For there is a very serious question that is not being asked: if the inspectors couldn't find the weapons, how come we know where to fire the cruise missiles? And all the while, we continue to impose genocidal sanctions on Iraq, sanctions that are killing innocent Iraqis and - by the admission of Mr Cook and Mrs Albright - not harming Saddam at all. Mrs Albright rages at Saddam's ability to go on building palaces, and Mr Cook is obsessed with a report of the regime's purchase of liposuction equipment which, if true, merely proves that sanctions are a total failure. Mr Cook prattles on about how Iraq can sell more than $10bn (£6bn) of oil a year to pay for food, medicine and other humanitarian goods. But since more than 30 per cent of these oil revenues are diverted to the UN compensation fund and UN expenses in Iraq, his statement is totally untrue. Dennis Halliday, the man who ran the UN oil-for-food programme in Baghdad, until he realised that thousands of Iraqi children were dying every month because of sanctions, resigned his post with the declaration that "we are in the process of destroying an entire society. it is illegal and immoral." So either Mr Halliday is a pathological liar - which I do not believe - or Mr Cook has a serious problem with the truth - which I do believe. Now we are bombing the people who are suffering under our sanctions. Not to mention the small matter of the explosion of child cancer in southern Iraq, most probably as a result of the Allied use of depleted uranium shells during the 1991 war. Gulf war veterans may be afflicted with the same sickness, although the British Government refuses to contemplate the possibility. And what, in this latest strike, are some of our warheads made of? Depleted uranium, of course. Maybe there really is a plan afoot for a coup d'etat, though hopefully more ambitious than our call to the Iraqi people to rise up against their dictator in 1991, when they were abandoned by the Allies they thought would speed to their rescue. Mr Clinton says he wants a democracy in Iraq - as fanciful a suggestion as any made recently. He is demanding an Iraqi government that "represents its people" and "respects" its citizens. Not a single Arab regime - especially not Washington's friends in Saudi Arabia - offers such luxuries to its people. We are supposed to believe, it seems, that Washington and London are terribly keen to favour the Iraqi people with a fully fledged democracy. In reality, what we want in Iraq is another bullying dictator - but one who will do as he is told, invade the countries we wish to see invaded (Iran), and respect the integrity of those countries we do not wish to see invaded (Kuwait). Yet no questions are being asked, no lies uncovered. Ritter, the Marine Corps inspector who worked with Israeli intelligence, claimed that Richard Butler - the man whose report triggered this week's new war - was aware of his visits to Israel. Is that true? Has anyone asked Mr Butler? He may well have avoided such contacts - but it would be nice to have an answer. So what to do with Saddam? Well, first, we could abandon the wicked sanctions regime against Iraq. We have taken enough innocent lives. We have killed enough children. Then we could back the real supporters of democracy in Iraq - not the ghouls and spooks who make up the so-called Iraqi National Congress, but the genuine dissidents who gathered in Beirut in 1991 to demand freedom for their country, but were swiftly ignored by the Americans once it became clear that they didn't want a pro-Western strongman to lead them. And we could stop believing in Washington. Vice-President Al Gore told Americans yesterday that it was a time for "national resolve and unity". You might have thought that the Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor, or that General MacArthur had just abandoned Bataan. When President Clinton faced the worst of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he bombed Afghanistan and Sudan. Faced with impeachment, he now bombs Iraq. How far can a coincidence go? This week, two Christian armies - America's and Britain's - went to war with a Muslim nation, Iraq. With no goals, but with an army of platitudes, they have abandoned the UN's weapons control system, closed the door on arms inspections, and opened the door to an unlimited military offensive against Iraq. And nobody has asked the obvious question: what happens next? ______________________________________________________ Amnesty International Urgent Action update: +------------------------------------------------------+ + Paper reprints authorised. Electronic redistributors + + must request permission from Amnesty International. + + Contact: email@example.com + +------------------------------------------------------+ PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 51/114/98 18 December 1998 Further information on EXTRA 101/98 (AMR 51/110/98, 16 December 1998) and follow-up (AMR 51/112/98, 17 December 1998) - Fear of indiscriminate mass killing of civilians in Iraq USA/UK/IRAQ At least two hospitals are reported to have been hit as a result of US and UK air strikes in Baghdad. A rice storage house in the town of Tikrit, north of Baghdad, is also said to have been hit and burnt down by a missile. International Humanitarian Law prohibits attacks which, although aimed at a legitimate military target, have an indiscriminate or disproportionate impact on civilians. Amnesty International is concerned that International Humanitarian Law may be being violated by the US and UK action. FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: If possible, please continue to send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in English or in your own language: - reminding the US government of the general prohibition contained in International Humanitarian Law standards against attacking hospitals and other civilian objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population. APPEALS TO: (Time difference = GMT - 5 hrs / BST - 6 hrs) Bill Clinton [Salutation: Dear President] President The White House Office of the President 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington DC 20500 United States of America Telegrams: President, Washington DC, United States America Faxes: + 1 202 456 2461 E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org PLEASE SEND COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO: His Excellency Mr Philip Lader, Embassy of United States of America, Grosvenor Square, London W1A 1AE. Fax: 0171 409 1637 PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Amnesty International members in the UK and US are requested not to write appeals to their own governments on this issue. +-----------------------------------------------------------+ + If you have any queries about this Urgent Action or about + + the UA scheme in general, please contact: + + Ray Mitchell / Becky Hess + + Amnesty International UK Section + + 99 - 119 Rosebery Avenue + + London EC1R 4RE email: email@example.com + +-----------------------------------------------------------+ ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Fri, 18 Dec 1998 19:10:01 +0000 (GMT) From: Rania Masri <firstname.lastname@example.org> If Iraq really is a threat to the region, then these Arab states would be supporting the strikes. If they're not threatened by Iraq, how can Americans here be threatened? _rm ________________________________________________________________________ Arab states condemn strikes on Iraq, anti-American protests erupt 9.14 a.m. ET (1414 GMT) December 18, 1998 By Mae Ghalwash, Associated Press CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Arab governments and newspapers fiercely criticized the U.S. air strikes on Baghdad today and thousands of protesters in Arab capitals shouted angry slogans against the United States. Throughout the Arab world, the message was that the unleashing of missiles at the heart of Baghdad would do more harm to the Iraqi people than to President Saddam Hussein. On Arab streets, demonstrators condemned the attacks as an attempt by President Clinton to squirm out of the scandal over his sexual relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. "For Monica's sake, Iraqi children are dying,'' read a sign waved during a protest at Cairo's al-Azhar mosque, one of the most famous in the Arab world. Syrian Parliament Speaker Abdul-Kader Qaddoura said the U.S. strikes "increased the suffering and pain'' of Iraq's people, "particularly its children and civilians.'' "(We) condemn and denounce this attack and call on the international community to condemn and halt it immediately,'' he told Parliament. Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, president of the United Arab Emirates, expressed his "great concern over the military action against Iraq and its repercussions on the Iraqi people.'' In the Egyptian capital, hundreds of worshipers gathered at Cairo's al-Azhar mosque to shout demands for Arabs to defend Iraq against the American onslaught. "Leaders of the country, let us go to holy war,'' the protesters chanted. The crowd of demonstrators briefly broke through a cordon of police surrounding the mosque before being shoved back onto the Al-Azhar grounds. Sheik Mohamed Tantawi, leader of Al-Azhar, also urged solidarity with the Iraqis. "Stand by the Iraqi people or we will be hit by God's damnation,'' he preached. Inside the mosque, there were shouts urging attacks on American interests and belittling comments about Clinton's motive for the repeated missile strikes on Iraq. "Iraq is suffering because of an American whore and a big baby boy,'' said Mohammed Hassan, 20, a medical student. Similar protests were staged in the capitals of Lebanon, Jordan and Yemen, where 15,000 people people marched through the streets of San`a shouting, "America is the enemy of the Muslims.'' In the West Bank, Palestininans rallied against Clinton for the second straight day, shouting "Death to America!'' In non-Arab Iran, demonstrators at Tehran's Palestine Square called for international intervention to stop "the massacre of innocent people'' in Iraq - traditionally an enemy of the Iranians. In Lebanon's capital Beirut, about 2,500 people staged a sit-in outside U.N. headquarters. The protesters waved Iraqi flags and shouted, "Beloved Iraq, strike Tel Aviv,'' the Israeli coastal city. The Egyptian-based Arab League called an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss the situation in Iraq. Its secretary-general, Esmat Abdel-Meguid, blamed the attack on last week's report by U.N. chief weapons inspector Richard Butler, saying he "intended to provoke Iraq and not be neutral'' in assessing Iraq's weapons programs. In countries closely allied to the United States - such as Egypt and Jordan - massive security forces were deployed today to prevent demonstrations from turning violent. About 300 police ringed a demonstration of 30-40 people at a mosque near the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. In the Jordanian capital of Amman, about 500 demonstrators were surrounded by an equal number of police. At Amman's University of Jordan mosque, the protesters called for an Arab revolt against the United States. "Saddam ... if you want commandos we are ready'' and "Syria, Jordan, Iraq - revolt and make Clinton go to hell'' were among slogans chanted. Eight Arab states - including heavyweights Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria - warned Baghdad mid-November that it would be "held responsible for any consequences'' of not cooperating with U.N. officials. But this time not one Arab government has expressed support for the airstrikes - which were also condemned by the world's largest Muslim group, the 52-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference based in Saudi Arabia. In Lebanon, Ghassan Tweini, publisher of the leading daily An-Nahar, called the attacks a misguided attempt to oust Saddam. "Leave it to the Iraqis, not the Americans, not the Turks nor the Kurds nor the Israelis ... to decide the fate of the Iraqi regime and Saddam Hussein,'' Tweini wrote today. The main exception to a united Arab front was Kuwait, whose invasion by Iraq in 1990 led to the following year's Gulf War and eight years of trade sanctions on Iraq. Sheik Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti foreign minister and deputy prime minister, told the daily Al-Rai Al-Amm that "we are not part'' of the crisis between Iraqi and the United Nations. Fouad al-Hashem, columnist for the Al-Watan daily in Kuwait, wrote today that he hoped the bodies of Saddam, his sons and wife and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz "will be hanging naked from street lights all over Baghdad'' by the time the U.S. attacks end. ----------- SALIENT NEWS ITEMS Developments in Iraq Air Attack Friday, December 18, 1998; 11:47 a.m. EST Key developments today in the airstrikes against Iraq: --Baghdad shakes with explosions, anti-aircraft artillery in a third wave of attacks about 4 a.m. today. Earlier airstrikes came Thursday night and before dawn Thursday. --Iraqi President Saddam Hussein declares he will never ``compromise or kneel'' in the showdown over arms inspections and exhorts his nation to keep resisting American ``injustice.'' --Iraqi officials say 25 people killed Thursday, no immediate word on today's casualties. --Damage from the airstrikes in Baghdad was reported at government buildings, factories, a hospital and even a museum, where a missile punched a gaping hole through one wall. --Anti-American protests erupted today in several Arab capitals, with many saying the attacks were President Clinton's way of squirming out of his sex scandal with Monica Lewinsky. Protests took place in Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, Jordan, Iran and the West Bank. --Russia recalls its ambassador to Britain in protest, after recalling its ambassador to Washington a day earlier. --President Clinton writes Russian President Boris Yeltsin to defend the U.S. decision to attack Iraq. Chinese President Jiang Zemin writes Clinton uring him to end the airstrikes. (c) Copyright 1998 The Associated Press -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html