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Sanctions on South Africa, sanctions on Iraq



Dear CASI subscribers,

What follows is an editorial from a recent newsletter sent out by
Sheffield
Campaign Against War in the Gulf. It focuses on Peter Hain MPís claim
that
sanctions on South Africa were in some way a precedent for sanctions on
Iraq.


News from Iraq       -          October 1999

UNICEF's August 1999 report on the death toll of years of sanctions and
bombs
has left US/UK intransigence even more isolated and exposed. Political
leaders
on both sides of the Atlantic have set new standards for lies and
doublespeak
in their efforts to bin the UNICEF findings.

The ultra-right wing North Carolina senator Jesse Helms said "It is
Saddam who
is starving the people of Iraq. ... In Northern Iraq, where the United
Nations  distributes food, child mortality rates are below pre-war
levels. In
the centre and South (where Saddam is in charge) mortality rates are
twice
what they were before the war."

There have been few more pathetic sights than Peter Hain MP, newly
appointed
to the Middle East office, propounding an identical argument on a recent
BBC2
newsnight. What was worse, Hain tried to use the prestige he won as a
prominent campaigner against apartheid to sell the government's
genocidal
policy to the viewers. He said that sanctions on apartheid South Africa
provided a precedent for sanctions on Iraq. The oppressed people of
South
Africa favoured sanctions, which were as much aimed at stopping UK and
US
capitalists feeding off apartheid super-profits as they were at their
friends
in Pretoria. However, no-one can say that the Iraqi people want
sanctions...

The difference with South Africa goes deeper. There are many brutal
dictatorships, including even some who are not close friends of
Washington and
London. But there was only one South Africa, where even in law and
constitution the Black population had the same status as farm animals.
This is
why the struggle against apartheid was exceptional, without a modern
parallel.
The Black majority had no national sovereignty to be violated. Now they
do,
thanks to the historic victory of the ANC-led democratic revolution. On
the
other hand, the national sovereignty of the Iraqi people is inviolable.
They
won this right in their nation-building struggles against British
colonial
rule culminating in the revolution of 1958.


                                                *  *  *




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