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Re: Fact finding

In response to Leila's question generally and to Aziz Nasiri's statement in particular:
The majority of parties and movements are anti
sanctions.  A good number in fact regard sanctions of 
higher priority to a change of regime.

I would agree with the first statement but have problems with the second.

Since Iraq became a republic, the political  parties of principle importance have been the Baath, the Iraqi Communist Party, the Kurdish Democratic Party, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. During the 1990s a large number of smaller parties have emerged, but only a few of them, such as the Islamic movements, can claim substantial allegiance within the country. Of these, the only one I know that may have made statements supportive of the sanctions regime has  been the KDP - although I looked through my archives for the actual statements but have yet to find them.

However, I doubt any of them would downplay the importance of a change in regime in relation to the issue of sanctions. In fact, many of the Iraqi refugees I know, both from the south and from Iraqi Kurdistan, are equally opposed to sanctions and Saddam, seeing them as twin evils. Some even see sanctions as perverse means of keeping the Baath in power. To some this may seem paranoid, but, whether the effect is intentional or not, the facts of the last decade argue in their favour.

Talabani, leader of the PUK, has called for both the lifting of sanctions and more direct support for the human rights of the Iraqi people.

Most Iraqis I know  - whether or not they are affiliated with opposition parties - do not place much stock in the West's anti-Saddam rhetoric and who can blame them. The policy of western governments remains largely unchanged since the Kissinger era:  maintain a strong central government in Iraq to contain local political tensions, contain the same central government in a weakened condition to reduce its ability to threaten western allies and oil interests in the region.

If Iraqi opposition parties have been somewhat equivocal in their oppostion to sanctions, it may be because they see both Saddam and Sanctions as the part of the same problem. The oppression of the Iraqi peoples' fundamental right to self-determination.

Ben Rempel

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