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Statement on Iraq from the Committee On the Middle East

This message contains a forwarded statement from the Committee on the
Middle East.

[Forwarder's note: COME is explicitly political but represents a major
interest group in opposition to current US/UK policy on Iraq. COME and
the associated organisation Mid-East Realities can provide an overview
of the history of the crisis and its relation to the overall political
turbulence in the Middle East, from a pro-Arab point of view. The
statement is one year old, but has just been reissued with the promise
of forthcoming action to support alternative policies towards Iraq.
COME's advisory committee includes Ramsey Clark and Noam Chomsky.]

[Forwarded statement]

A year ago this month the Committee On The Middle East, COME, published
a major statement strongly opposing U.S. policies in the Middle East,
especially the bombing and devastation of Iraq.  That statement is
reprinted below. Lack of organization and resources prevented us from
doing  more.  Yet much more needs to be done. To do so we need to  be
able to pursue our concerns on a sustained basis, involve more people
like yourselves, and build up a much stronger movement that not only
opposes the policies being pursued  but also actively and credibly
advocates alternative policies that should be pursued. In order to be
able to do these  things we are now going to make COME a membership
organization and begin a program of monthly activities.  To do so we
need  your support and your involvement.  In the days ahead we will  be
sending you more information and details.  At this time  please read
this Statement in full -- it remains extremely relevant today -- and
please join and support these efforts.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -     

D  O      N  O  T      B  O  M  B     I  R  A  Q 
A Major Statement from the Committee On The Middle East
Sunday, 1 Feb 1998 - The following is a statement from the Committee On
The Middle East (COME) concerning the American threats to bomb Iraq.  We
urge you to circulate it as much as possible.  The 
International Advisory Committee of COME, including Middle East experts
and professors throughout the world, is listed at the end of the
Statement.  Please join with us and support our efforts at this 
critical time.  To reach COME:

Phone: 202 362-5266 
Fax: 202 362-6965 
Email: COME@MiddleEast.Org 

D  O     N  O  T     B  O  M  B     I  R  A  Q

While the United States clearly has the military power to further
devastate and prostrate Iraq, we strongly believe that the course the
U.S. has chosen is not only grossly unjust, but also exceedingly 
hypocritical and duplicitous.  We further believe that though the U.S.
may be able to pursue its imperial policies without substantial
opposition in the short term, the policies being pursued today,
especially the new and massive military assault being prepared against
Iraq, are likely to have tremendously negative historical ramifications.
As Middle East experts and scholars - many with close and personal ties
to this long troubled and misunderstood region - we feel a political, a
moral, and a historical responsibility to speak up in clear opposition
at this critical time. 
Origins of Today's Imbroglio:

Throughout this century Western countries, primarily the United States
and Great Britain, have continually interfered in and manipulated events
in the Middle East. The origins of the Iraq/Kuwait conflict can be found
in the unilateral British decision during the early years of this
century to essentially cut off a piece of Iraq to suit British Empire
desires of that now faded era. Rather than agreeing to Arab
self-determination at the end of World War I and the collapse of the
Ottoman Empire, Western nations conspired to divide the Arab world into
a number of artificial and barely viable entities; to install Arab
"client regimes" throughout the region, to make these regimes dependent
on Western economic and military power for survival; and then to impose
an ongoing series of economic, cultural, and political arrangements
seriously detrimental to the people of the area.  This is the historical
legacy that we live with today. Throughout the 1930s and the 1940s the
West further manipulated the affairs of the Middle East in order to
control the resources of the region and then to create a Jewish homeland
in an area long considered central to Arab nationalism and Muslim
concerns.  Playing off one regime against the other and one geopolitical
interest against another became a major preoccupation for Western
politicians and their closely associated business interests. 
Following World War II:

After World War II, and from these policy origins, the United States
became the main Western power in the region, supplanting the key roles
formerly played by Britain and France.  In the 1960s Gamel Abdel Nasser
was the target of Western condemnation for his attempt to reintegrate
the Arab world and to pursue independent "non-aligned" policies. By the
1970s the CIA had established close working relationships with key Arab
client regimes from Morocco and Jordan to Saudi Arabia and Iran -
regimes that even then were among the most repressive and undemocratic
in the world - in order to further American domination and to secure an
ever-growing supply of inexpensive oil and the resultant flow of
petrodollars. By the late 1970s the counter-reaction of the Iranian
was met with a Western build-up of the very same Iraqi regime that is so
condemned today in a vain attempt to use Iraq to crush the new Iranian
regime.  The result was millions of deaths coming on top of the terrible
devastation of Lebanon, itself a country that had been severed from
Greater Syria by Western intrigues, as had been the area of southern
Syria, then known as Palestine.  Additionally the Israelis were given
the green light to invade Lebanon, further devastate the Palestinians,
and install a puppet Lebanese government - an attempt which failed
leading to an American and Israeli retreat but ongoing militarism to
this day.  Meanwhile, throughout all these years Western manipulation of
oil supplies and pricing, coupled with arms sales policies, often
seriously exacerbated tensions between countries in the region leading
to the events of this decade. 
The Gulf Conflict:

It was precisely such American manipulations and intrigues that led to
the Gulf War in 1990.  Indeed, we would be remiss if we did not note
that there is already much historical evidence that the U.S. 
actually maneuvered Iraq into the invasion of Kuwait, repeatedly
suggesting to Iraq that it would become the pivotal military state of
the area in coordination with the U.S.  Whether true or not the U.S.
subsequently did everything in its power to prevent a peaceful
resolution of the conflict and for the first time intervened with
massive and overwhelming military force in the region creating today's 
dangerously unstable quagmire. The initially stated American goal was
only to protect Saudi Arabia. Then after the unprecedented  military
build-up the goal became to expel Iraq from Kuwait.  Then the goal
evolved to toppling the Iraqi government.  And from there the Americans
began to impose various limits on Iraqi sovereignty; took over much of
Iraq air space; sent the CIA to repeatedly attempt to topple the Iraqi
government; and placed a near-total embargo on Iraq that many -
including a former Attorney General of the United States - have termed
near-genocidal.  The overall result has been the subjugation and
impoverishment of Iraq and the actual death of approximately 5% of the
Iraqis as the direct result of American sanctions, plus the reallocation
of oil quotes and petrodollars to American client-states. With the
Clinton Administration, the U.S. began to insist on the "dual
containment" of both Iraq and Iran - both countries which just a few
years ago the U.S. was working very closely with and providing
considerable arms to.  With few in the press able to remember from one
year to the next, or to connect one historic event with another, somehow
Washington has come to insist on Iraqi disarmament and Iranian
strangulation.  Furthermore, these policies are being pursued even while
Israel and key Arab client states are receiving American weapons in ever
larger amounts, with Israel's weapons of mass destruction making her
forces 7 to 8 times stronger than all Arab armies combined. Furthermore
still, the U.S. and Israeli strategic alliance has never been closer,
the U.S. has repeatedly helped Israel defy the will of the international
community and the United Nations, and the U.S. continues to champion a
disingenuous Israeli "peace process" which in reality on the ground
continues to dispossess the Palestinians and to corral them onto
reservations in their own country! 

The Future:

In a future statement we will move on to the crucial subject of what
alternative policies the United States should be pursuing.  But at this
critical moment we are compelled to come forward and urgently 
condemn the policies now being pursued by the United States and regional
ally Israel.  We call for an immediate cessation of the economic embargo
against Iraq, an end to U.S.-imposed restrictions on Iraqi sovereignty
and airspace, and most of all immediately suspension of all plans to
attack Iraq using the overwhelming technological and military
instruments available to the U.S. If the U.S. continues to pursue its
current policies then we conclude and predict it will not be
unreasonable for many in the world to brand the U.S. itself as a
arrogant and imperialist state, and if that becomes the historical
paradigm it will be both understandable and justifiable if others pursue
whatever means are available to them to oppose American domination and
militarism.  Such developments could quite possibly lead to still more
decades of conflict, warfare, and terrorism throughout the region and

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Cairo; Professor Nahla Abdo - Carleton University (Ottowa); Professor
Elmoiz Abunura - University of North Carolina (Ashville); Professor Jane
Adas - Rutgers University (NJ); Oroub Alabed - World Food Program
(Amman); Professor Faris Albermani - University of Queensland
(Australia); Professor Jabbar Alwan, DePaul University (Chicago);
Professor Alex Alland, Columbia University (New York); Professor Abbas
Alnasrawi - University of Vermont (Burlington); Professor Michael Astour
- University of Southern Illinois; Virginia Baron - Guilford, CT.;
Professor Mohammed Benayoune - Sultan Qaboos University (Oman);
Professor Charles Black - Emeritus Yale University Law School; 
Professor Francis O. Boyle, University of Illinois Law School
(Champlain);  Mark Bruzonsky - COME Chairperson (Washington); Linda
Brayer - Ex. Dir., Society of St. Ives (Jerusalem); Professor Noam 
Chomsky - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge); Ramsey
Clark - Former U.S. Attorney General (New York); John Cooley - Author,
Cyprus; Professor Mustafah Dhada - School of International Affairs,
Clark Atlanta University; Zuhair Dibaja - Research Fellow, University 
of Helsinki; Professor Mohamed El-Hodiri - University of Kansas;
Professor Richard Falk - Princeton University; Professor Ali Ahmed
Farghaly - University of Michigan (Ann Arbor); Professor Ali Fatemi -
American University (Paris); Michai Freeman - Berkeley; Professor S.M.
Ghazanfar - University of Idaho (Chair, Economics Dept); Professor
Kathrn Green - California State University (San Bernadino); Nader
Hashemi - Ottawa, Canada; Professor Clement Henry - University of Texas
(Austin); Professor Herbert Hill - University of Wisconsin (Madison);
Professor Asaf Hussein - U.K.; Yudit Ilany - Jerusalem; Professor George
Irani - Lebanese American University (Beirut); Tahir Jaffer - Nairobi,
Kenya; David Jones - Editor, New Dawn Magazine, Australia; Professor
Elie Katz - Sonoma State University, CA; Professor George Kent -
University of Hawaii; Professor Ted Keller - San Francisco State
University, Emeritus; John F. Kennedy - Attorney at Law, Washington;
Samaneh Khader - Graduate Student in Theology, University of Helsinki;
Professor Ebrahim Khoda - University of 
Western Australia; Guida Leicester, San Francisco; Jeremy Levin - Former
CNN Beirut Bureau Chief (Portland); Professor Seymour Melman - Columbia
University (New York); Dr. Avi Melzer - Frankfurt; Professor Alan Meyers
- Boston University; Professor Michael Mills - Vista College (Berkeley,
CA); Kamram Mofrad - Idaho; Shahab Mushtaq - Knox College; Professor
Minerva Nasser-Eddine - University of Adelaide (Australia); Professor
Peter Pellett - University of Massachussetts (Amherst); Professor Max
Pepper, M.D. - University of Massachusetts (Amherst); Professor Ruud
Peters - Universiteit van Amsterdam; Professor Glenn Perry - Indiana
State University; Professor Tanya 
Reinhart - Tel Aviv University; Professor Shalom Raz - Technion (Haifa);
Professor Knut Rognes - Stavanger College (Norway); Professor Masud
Salimian - Morgan State University (Baltimore); Professor Mohamed
Salmassi - University of Massachusetts; Qais Saleh - Graduate Student,
International University (Japan); Ali Saidi - J.D. candidate in
international law (Berkeley, CA); Dr. Eyad Sarraj - Gaza, Occupied
Palestine; Professor Herbert Schiller - University of California (San
Diego); Peter Shaw-Smith - Journalist, London; David Shomar - New York;
Dr. Manjra Shuaib - CapeTown (South Africa); Professor J. David Singer -
University of Michigan (Ann Arbor); Professor Majid Tehranian - Director
Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy (University of Hawaii); Dr.
Marlyn Tadros - Deputy Director, Legal Research and Resource Center for
Human Rights (Cairo); Ismail Zayid, M.D. - Dalhousi University (CA). 

 202 362-5266     Fax: 202 362-6965     Email: COME@MiddleEast.Org
In North America 24-hour message phone: 
800 724-6644, Code 2023625266 

Contributions to COME should be made out to COME and sent to:
COME - P.O.Box 18367 - Washington, D.C. 20036

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