The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
Away from the hurly-burly of current news, I'm sending a couple of observations (1&2) and a question (3). 1. The Geneva Conventions received a couple of mentions in recent postings (newspaper comment, Colin, Drew, Vicky). A legal clarification: the author of the newspaper article was referring to the UN Genocide convention of 1949 (which s/he mistakenly thought was signed at Geneva, hence the subsequent confusions). The Geneva conventions (1949, 1977) relate to the methods and means of warfare only, and so don't touch on genocide, the author's point. Of course, the argument that sanctions on Iraq count as genocide is a different question - I would not make this claim myself as sanctions seem to me to be indiscriminate, whilst genocide by its very definition is not. Colin's point in reply - that the Geneva conventions are applicable only in times of war, which may not be the case now - requires clarification as well: the relevant parts of the GCs are applicable in armed conflicts, whether or not a state of war is recognised, declared or neither by either of the parties - and the current bombardment is, for all to see, a state of armed conflict. However, I tend to avoid using this argument; it would imply that sanctions were and would be lawful when there are no bombs falling. In general, I avoid legal discourse relating to economic sanctions, and concentrate on moral arguments: mortality rates are far more pertinent that contentious references to obscure charters were not designed to be relevant to situations like this. 2. Arab groups. Single issue pressure groups tend to exist only in multiparty systems, with two or three entrenched parties dominating, and where there is nominal freedom of expression. No Arab country even comes close to this. However, what you do have - throughout the Arab world - is a myriad of political fronts, professional organisations, students' and women's groups. In Palestine, at least, many of these organisations frequently issue resolutions and make reference to the human toll of sanctions. The student blocs at my current university, Birzeit U. in Palestine, have all done this, for example; and many have helped raise money for sending humanitarian supplies when the Iraqi government allowed this (a few high-profile shipments were sent from here - I presume sanctions breaking). A potential problem in cooperating with such groups for CASI would be that of wider agenda of these groups, which many of us in CASI may not agree with (Islamist, Renaissance [Ba'athist], Arab nationalist &c). Having said that, there are Iraqi-Palestinian(&c) solidarity groups around the Arab world, kicking into life whenever there is an intensification of the bombing; I tend to avoid them, as pictures of you-know-who often appear at their demonstrations. 3. Boutros-Ghali earlier this year put out his memoirs on the UN-US non-relationship during his period as Secretary-General. A review I saw mentioned that he had some interesting light to shed on the US' obstructions in the negotiations to implement Oil for Food, implying that the long delays resulted from more than Iraqi obstructionism, the generally accepted view. Has anybody read or know more about the book? ______________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Please do not sent emails with attached files to the list *** Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html ***