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The UN crisis and 'delinking' sanctions

The UN Security Council has been deadlocked around the attempt to establish a 
new consensus for the continuation of the UN sanctions regime in Iraq. The US 
has obstructed the UN 'Food-for-oil' program to pressure members to its 
position. There is also talk of the distribution of future Iraqi oil 
concessions (to Russia and France) as an inducement to their signing on to 
the US proposals. The media is portraying this as a legitimate attempt to 
lift the sanctions. Today's Philadelphia Inquirer front-page banner reads, 
"Clinton to Try to Lift Iraqi Sanctions"! The antisanctions movement needs to 
provide a clear answer to the latest effort of the US administration to 
maintain what Assistant Secretary of State Rubin describes as "the strongest 
sanctions regime that's ever existed"(11-16-99). 
 The outline of the US supported proposal is to re-establish weapons 
inspectors in Iraq, Iraqi oil remains under UN control, Iraq must prove 
willingness to disarm, no dual-use purchases, and the promised "suspension of 
sanctions" would be subject to periodic review (and veto) by the Security 
Council. This framework would still continue the sanctions regime and 
legitimizes the continued massive interference in the Iraqi economy. It 
provides innumerable opportunities for economic obstruction and for a 
replaying of the political provocations that have been used to justify 
military attacks on Iraq.  The proposal to renew weapons inspections must be 
judged in light of the sordid history of UNSCOM; what poses as "disarmament" 
is in reality a mechanism to legitimize spying and bombing attacks.
In this context a congressional letter to President Clinton is being 
circulated as a political focus for the movement to end the sanctions on 
Iraq. We believe this focus, which supports the continuation of military 
sanctions, is detrimental to the movement. It miseducates activists and is 
not in the interests of the Iraqi people.
Authored by Representatives Tom Campbell(R) and John Conyers (D) the letter 
calls for the president to "de-link economic sanctions from the military 
sanctions currently in place against Iraq." They go on to present some 
established sources on the deadly impact of sanctions on the Iraqi people, 
along with platitudes about Iraq's need to 'comply with UN resolutions and 
international norms'. They conclude by asking President Clinton "…to do what 
is right: lift the sanctions. At the same time, we support the continued 
embargo on military equipment and materials."
We are asked to believe that if only economic sanctions are lifted Iraq will 
be able to move toward rebuilding the nation shattered in the Gulf War, and 
the humanitarian crisis of the sanctions can begin to be alleviated. The 
maintenance of military sanctions and the re-establishment of weapons 
inspectors, that such sanctions would imply, are posed as reasonable and 
compatible with the authors' claim of concern for the Iraqi people. 
While this notion of "de-linking" may have its abstract appeal, it does not 
challenge US policy of sanctions, and does not address the reality of 
sanctions in Iraq. The strangulation of Iraq by 'military sanctions' is a 
longstanding policy of the US administration, and has provoked the current 
crisis in the UN. As the Reuters report of November 10, 1999 stated, " (UN 
General Secretary Kofi) Annan on October 25 criticized the United States for 
blocking some $700 million in goods Baghdad wanted under the "oil-for-food 
program". Washington has held up delivery of some 580 supplies, which it says 
is necessary to make sure they are not used for military purposes". The 
banning of materials and equipment as 'dual-use' or as having any possible 
military application under the UN sanctions regime is the linchpin of the 
human disaster in Iraq.
Hundreds of thousands of children have died from the preventable diseases in 
impure drinking water. Iraq can not import chlorine, pipes and pumps, needed 
to repair the water systems targeted by Allied bombings in Desert Storm. 
Every technical area of the Iraqi economy is crippled by these restrictions, 
because they may have a remote military application. Under a new 'military 
sanctions' regime vital imports would remain subject to US approval and be 
denied. This is the genocidal business-as-usual for the Iraqi people.
Under the UN sanctions the Iraqi people have been denied their most 
fundamental human rights, of adequate food and appropriate health care. Under 
the perverted guise of "disarmament", and of preventing "weapons of mass 
destruction", hundreds of thousands have perished. A principled stand against 
the US/UN sanctions and for the rights of the Iraqi people is needed in the 
international community and especially in the United States and Britain. We 
proudly defend the integrity of our positions against any compromise of our 
rightful, morally justified stands: End the sanctions now, without 
conditions. No support for weapons inspections or "military sanctions."  No 
US/UK war planes patrolling of Iraqi airspace and an end to the bombing. 
In Solidarity, Bob Allen and Kitty Bryant   12-5-99
Campaign to End the Sanctions 
5 Awbury Rd.
Philadelphia, Pa 19138
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