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Comparing sanctions against Iraq and sanctions applied against the Apartheid govt. is an important undertaking. It seems to be a common misconception among many people who supported sanctions against South Africa (SA) that the sanctions against Iraq are similarly justified. Colin and JV made some important points, but I wish to add to and contest some of them. 1. SA has always been reasonably self-sufficient with regard to basic essentials, like food, unlike Iraq. 2. Sanctions against SA were very limited. The US and UK govts. never supported sanctions whole-heartedly against SA, in contrast to the Iraqi situation. 3. Iraq is not just being sanctioned. It is being blockaded. All export earnings go into a UN controlled bank account. SA never faced anything remotely as harsh. Nor did the ANC suggest, to my knowledge, that SA should face such harsh sanctions. There were never food shortages in SA as a whole, though there undoubtedly was and still is malnutrition as a result of distribution of wealth issues. 2. As Colin correctly points out, the majority of South Africans seemed to support sanctions against the Apartheid govt. This is not the case in Iraq. 4. It's not clear what effect sanctions had on SA. One can't write off the effects of sanctions on changing the Apartheid govt. Remember, that the Apartheid govt relied on white support to remain in power. The academic and sports boycotts definitely effected many white South Africans at a psychological level. Also the white population is much poorer now than it was in the early 80's, though it's not clear that this would have would not have been the case without sanctions. I lived (a priveleged existence) in South Africa through the harshest sanctions period. It's my personal opinion that sanctions had a massive effect on changing the Pretoria regime. I cannot, however, back this up with concrete evidence. I doubt anyone really can: analysing issues like these is too complex. 5. The SA arms industry became virtually self-sufficient and flourished, arguably as a result of sanctions! 6. As to which government was worse, the current Iraqi or former SA govt? That's a tough one. Again this is subjective and complex. I think if you just compare the SA govt's treatement of black South Africans with the Ba'ath regime's behaviour towards Iraq's Kurds and Shi'ites (and Iranians), the latter's behaviour might have involved more atrocities. However, the SA govt's worst crimes were not against its own citizens, horrendous as these were: they were against the people of Angola and Mocambique. SA funded and participated in devestating wars against these two countries. When one takes this into account, I suspect Saddam Hussein starts to look like a pussy cat. Nevertheless comparing who was more evil seems a bit futile. It is interesting to note though, that the US played a major sponsorship role in both the worst Iraqi and South African atrocities. An interesting reference on sanctions against SA is: "How Sanctions Work: Lessons from South Africa" edited by Neta C Crawford and Audie Klotz, St Martin's Press, NY, 1999. As a South African, this issue is of some interest to me. Don't be fooled by Peter Hain. He might have been part of the oppressed once, but he's now part of the British govt. It's a cliche, but don't forget that power corrupts. Regards, Nathan Geffen __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Bid and sell for free at http://auctions.yahoo.com -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Please do not send emails with attached files to the list *** Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html ***