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]
Sheffield Campaign Against War in the Gulf c/o 6 Bedford Road, Oughtibridge, Sheffield S35 0FB 0114 2663597; 0114 2862336 UN SECURITY COUNCIL VOTES TO CONTINUE WAR ON IRAQI PEOPLE Briefing 17 December 1999 Introduction On 17 December, the UN Security Council ended a twelve-month deadlock on Iraq by passing Security Council Resolution 1284. The Blair government played a major role, with UK diplomats producing the draft and chairing the sessions of the Security Council. SCR 1284 must be analysed in the context of the ten-year long failure of the US/UK coalition to remove the insubordinate regime of Saddam Hussein and replace it with a pro-Western protectorate. SCR 1284 must be weighed alongside the other dimensions of US/UK policy towards Iraq, in particular the weekly and sometimes daily US/UK attacks on Iraq's air defences and telecommunications; and the stepped-up efforts by the US to set up a credible armed opposition in parts of Iraq outside Baghdad's control. SCR 1284 fits in with the real US/UK policy of regime removal, by giving a flimsy legal cover for future large-scale armed action against the Iraqi nation. How far they will be able to travel down this role, of course, depends not on UN resolutions but on the real balance of forces between the US and its SC rivals, and on the strength of world-wide opposition to imperialist intervention. The task before the anti-sanctions, anti-war movement is to expose the real aims and motives of the US and UK governments. We must tell the truth about SCR 1284. It is a disgusting, cynical, hypocritical cover-up for mass murder! The Security Council resolution is a vote for war! SCR 1284 promises sanctions forever The new Security Council resolution has been reported in the media as offering a lifting of sanctions, provided Iraq allows UN weapons inspectors to return to complete their mission of "ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction". In fact, the resolution promises sanctions in perpetuity. Even if the US and UK were to accept a "totally clean" verdict, Iraq would continue to be submitted to "effective financial and other operational measures to ensure that Iraq does not acquire prohibited items", in other words, sanctions, against any item deemed to be potentially "dual-use" (i.e. of possible military application - which could include machinery of all types, computers, vehicles, medical and telecommunications equipment.) The partial lifting of sanctions purportedly offered by the new resolution would allow the Iraqi government to at least touch its own money if not spend it freely. At present, all revenues from oil sales are deposited in an "escrow" account controlled by the UN Sanctions Committee. The resolution specifies that the partial lifting of sanctions would need to be reviewed every 120 days - an uncertainty which is guaranteed to cripple Iraq's efforts to secure foreign investment. At any point, a report from the so-called weapons inspectors alleging so much as a single instance of Iraqi non-compliance would cause automatic reimposition of full sanctions; this could only be over-ridden by decision of the Security Council, in which of course the US and UK wield veto powers. The humanitarian crisis The resolution states that the promise of a partial lifting of sanctions has the "fundamental objective of improving the humanitarian situation in Iraq". This implicitly contradicts Messrs. Blair and Cook, who have often repeated their absurd claim that sanctions are not a factor in Iraq's humanitarian crisis. Growing world-wide condemnation of the current sanctions regime has forced the US and UK to accept a number of modifications - notably the lifting of the ceiling on Iraq's oil exports. But Iraq's oil industry is in a terrible condition, and is already pumping oil as fast as it can. For the first time in ten years, Iraqis will be able to receive medical, scientific and educational journals. UN Sec. Gen. Kofi Annan has publicly criticised the US and UK for obstructing the delivery of $500 million of humanitarian items - the new resolution transfers authority over a 'green list' of non dual-use food and medical items to Kofi Annan. So maybe, as a result of this resolution, one Iraqi child will die every ten minutes instead of every six minutes as at present. SCR 1284 marks a new stage in the crisis Russia, China and France - three of the five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council - abstained on the resolution. This seriously undermines its credibility and practically invites Iraq to stand by its so-far vehement rejection of the whole package. The centrepiece of the new resolution is a demand that Iraq accepts the return of "UN weapons inspectors", to be renamed UNMOVIC (UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission). UNMOVIC differs only in name from its predecessor, UNSCOM. It is crucial to recall the reasons for and the manner of UNSCOM's demise one year ago. As revealed by Scott Ritter and other weapons inspectors who have resigned in disgust, UNSCOM had strayed far from its UN mandate by first acting as spies and pathfinders for the US military; it then deliberately sought confrontation with the Iraqi government, with the aim of providing a pretext for the resumption of bombing. In the end, UNSCOM withdrew its staff and the US and UK had fired off 524 cruise missiles before UNSCOM's report had even reached the UN Security Council. So gross and blatant was this behaviour that it has seriously aggravated the year-long deadlock on the Security Council. What guarantee has Iraq got that UNMOVIC won't do the same? Absolutely none. Not even a promise. What sovereign nation would allow spies and agents of hostile, attacking powers to instantaneously enter any room in any government building, carry away any quantity of files for inspection, at any time of the day or night? UNMOVIC, like UNSCOM before it, is an attack on Iraq's sovereignty, and Iraq is fully entitled to bar their return. Resolution 1284 creates a pretext for war. It is no secret that the US government's real policy is to use sanctions and military force to engineer the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and his replacement with a more compliant strong man. Clinton's accomplices in Westminster seem to be more nervous about openly espousing this illegal policy, one which so brazenly contradicts SCR 1284's own assertion of "the commitment of all Member States to [Iraq's] sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence". The moment of truth will be in a few months time, when UNMOVIC is ready to return to Iraq. What will happen when, as seems likely, Iraq refuses to let them in? If Iraq does refuse, how will the US and UK seek to enforce the resolution? In conclusion The UN vote will prolong the intense humanitarian crisis in Iraq. The UN vote makes an intensification of military aggression more likely. NO TO SANCTIONS, NO TO WAR! -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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