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Hi Richard, Thanks for your posting. I think that Leo's request is quite reasonable and he seems to be careful and generally well-informed. I have included brief responses to the three questions that he asks. > >(1) How is this use of sanctions different from the use of sanctions in > >South Africa, which we all supported? Of course, the ANC and the resistance > >in South Africa supported the sanctions, despite the effect they had on poor, > >black South Africans, because they believed -- correctly, we can say in > >retrospect -- that sanctions would hasten the end of apartheid. I have yet to > >see evidence that the Iraqi equivalent of the ANC and the South African > >resistance is opposed to sanctions. All I see is invocations of "ordinary" > >Iraqis, with evidence of their views little more than television interviews > >given under the watchful eyes of Saddam's secret police, in just the same way > >that the apartheid government invoked "ordinary" South Africans against > >sanctions. I would be happy to see something more convincing. The four items that we listed in our October newsletter (available in full on our website) are: 1. Bodies regarded as representing a large number of South Africans (e.g. the ANC) supported the sanctions against their own country; this is not the case in Iraq. 2. South Africa was largely self-sufficient in food; Iraq imported roughly two thirds of its food. 3. The sanctions on South Africa were never rigorously enforced, being opposed by the US and the UK governments; those on Iraq have been much more strenuously enforced. 4. The suffering caused by sanctions in South Africa does not seem to have been on the same level as that in Iraq. The difficulty with 1., above, is that there is no equivalent of the ANC. There are many smaller opposition groups, and they tend to be outside the country if we know about them. Because the regime has been so successful in crushing political opposition we do not know what an ANC-equivalent thinks. > >(2) In the absence of compelling evidence, I have difficulty with accepting > >the premise that it is entirely sanctions which is causing what human > >hardship now exists in Iraq. I point simply to the recent refusal of Saddam > >to renew the UN agreement which would allow him to exchange a certain amount > >of oil for food and medicine. How much of the suffering which is going on is > >a result of deliberate policy choices by Saddam as part of a stratagem to end > >the sanctions so that he can rebuild the army and weapons of destruction? How > >much of it is a result of deliberate policy choices of Saddam to punish the > >Shia of the south and the Kurds of the north? No, the sanctions are certainly not entirely responsible for the hardship in Iraq: Columbia University epidemiologist Richard Garfield estimates (in a report available on our website) that about one quarter of Iraq's excess child mortality since 1991 has been due to the Gulf War. The 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War also took a toll on Iraq's infrastructure and ability to cope with sanctions. In particular, it left Iraqi impoverished. Finally, Iraq's centrally planned economy has also held it back. And, yes, the Iraqi government does seem to make many decisions for political rather than humanitarian reasons. My belief, though, is that this is precisely why sanctions are ineffective here: if the regime was primarily concerned with the well-being of its people the sanctions, which target the economically vulnerable, might be an effective policy tool. To claim, though, that the regime doesn't care about its people and to support the sanctions, which target them, seems to me deeply confused. About the question of what might happen after sanctions, it's not clear that Iraq's first priority will be aggression. Between the end of the Iran-Iraq War and the Kuwait invasion (1988 - 1990), Saddam Hussein survived four assassination attempts (Freedman and Karsh, The Gulf Conflict, 1990-1991. Princeton University Press, 1993). I find the following interpretation of this quite reasonable: without some external excuse for Iraq's difficulties, Iraqis began to hold their leadership responsible. > >(3) What is the alternative policy to sanctions? Surely no one thinks that > >diplomacy and persuasion is going to make the slightest difference to Saddam. > >Surely no one thinks that the resistance to Saddam is anywhere near > >overthrowing him. Sanctions seem far more preferable to me than military > >intervention, and I see that as almost inevitable if Saddam rebuilds his > >nuclear capability and his biological and chemical capability. I do not find > >a 'do nothing' policy (i.e., no policy at all) very compelling. Two points here: I, and CASI, distinguish between the military and the non-military sanctions. We do not have a position on the former and tend to regard them as a separate issue from the latter. Clearly, lifting the non-military sanctions will make it easier for military inputs to be imported into Iraq. I personally have come increasingly to believe that there is good reason to suspect that deterrence will work with Iraq. Deterrence is felt to have held the superpowers in line during the Cold War. It is felt to have prevented Iraq's use of WMD during the Gulf War (although, Allied forces had advanced on Baghdad, the regime might have become more desperate). Deterrence did not fail in either of Iraq's other two invasions. In the case of Iran, we encouraged Iraq to attack. In Kuwait, deeply mixed signals were sent (including US Ambassador Glaspie's explicit statements a week before the invasion that the US did not have a position on Iraq's "border dispute" with Kuwait). I hope that this helps. Many of these arguments are more completely expressed in a Word document that I have. Anyone interested should let me know and I can send a copy. Thanks, Colin Rowat *********************************************** Coordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq http://welcome.to/casi *********************************************** 393 King's College Cambridge CB2 1ST tel: +44 (0)468 056 984 England fax: +44 (0)870 063 4984 -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi