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I have received the following reply to Peter Hain from Hugh Jones (email@example.com) , which I am forwarding to the list on his request.... Aziz --On Wed, Mar 8, 2000 7:43 am -0800 aziz nasiri <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: > Peter Hain MP, minister of state at the foreign > office, argues in support of the sanctions on Iraq > > Tuesday March 7, 2000 > > Many people are angry about the suffering of the Iraqi > people. So am I. That is why we negotiated a new UN > Security Council resolution to help their plight. > Unfortunately, our critics have a blind spot about the > culprit. Saddam Hussein plunged into war with Iran... It is worth noting that he did this with full support of the British and US governments. In the words of one CIA official, "He's a son of a bitch but he's OUR son of a bitch". I appreciate that just because the west invited him to take power in the first place does not mean that, having realised that he is no longer desirable as far the west is concerned, we should not try to topple him. But it does rather undermine our moral credibility and in the very least demonstrates that we are capable of being very irresponisble. It is also worth noting that Magaret Thatcher's government was more than happy to allow British Aerospace, and the other big (mostly British) companies who manufacture 'weapons of mass destruction' (to use a well known phrase), to make an absolute (excuse the pun) killing by prolonging a war which would otherwise have burnt out in two weeks. Mr Hain. Your government may pretend that it found Saddam's attack on Iran unacceptable but I just find that rather hard to believe. You side with Saddam when it suits you (sir) and you try to whip up public opinion against him when he causes you grief. At the end of the day you don't seem to be finding it possible to care much for human rights in far off lands and as I see it, you have no principles, only interests. > causing more than a million deaths, slaughtered > thousands of his own people for "disloyalty" and > invaded Kuwait. We all know this but since when has the government cared? Since when has the government cared about Kurds? We ignore what's happening to them in Turkey. Don't you try and convince me that the sanctions are there to help the Kurds; that's just ridiculous. Anyway, who are we, The British) to talk condemn invasions. Is that not just a tad hipocritical? I do appreciate that sometimes hipocritical actions can be the right thing to do but when people do not admit their own hipocracy it does rather tend to rather overwhelmingly and humiliatingly undermine any ounce of credibility that they could every had laid claim to. > Because of the resolute action of the > international community - liberating Kuwait, sanctions > and the disarmament programme - Saddam has been unable > to threaten his neighbours in the 10 years since. So Saddam was a threat to his neighbours. I have two points to make. First, there are many countries in the world who are a threat to their neighbours and what does the UN do about them? Usually nothing. Certainly nothing nearly so significant as what we are doing to Iraq now. We don't care about countries who are a threat to their neighbours. We care about our interests and nothing else. I get very suspicious when people try to tell me that there are ethical reasons behind the sanctions in Iraq because if our foreign policies had any consistency, we would surely have to be imposing sanctions on (and indeed bombing) Turkey for their slaughter of Kurds and Russia for what they are doing in Chechnya, not to mention several countries in Africa. That's what we should be doing if we are imposing sactions for genuine ethical reasons. I personally don't believe that we could have ethical motives for imposing the sanctions because I believe that the sanctions are an ethically very unsound policy. Secondly, Indeed, Saddam has ceased to pose any danger to his neighbours but we are posing more than a threat to the people of Iraq themselves; we are killing them. Mr Hain if you want to disagree with me you must either argue that the price really is worth it or you must disagree that we are not killing the people of Iraq. I think we are. In which case is the price worth what? Thirdly, So through the disarmament program, we have disarmed him and he is no longer posing a threat to his neighbours. If Saddam is no longer a threat to his neighbours should we not lift the sanctions? > The > lesson is clear. > No one (with one exception) could be immune to the > suffering of the Iraqi people. That's bland and empty rhetoric, as bland and as empty as it gets. So there is one exception. Saddam Hussein happens to be the only person in the world EVIL ENOUGH not to care about the plight of the Iraqis. I don't believe that for a second. Let's live in the real world. Mr Hain, you are probably a little too middle aged to have seen South Park the movie but (as far as I can see) it takes the chronic piss out of the way we demonise Saddam Hussein. Sure he's a nasty piece of work but the west, not as a collection of unpleasant individuals but as a system that has a lot to be desired, is just as complicit in the genocide of the Iraqi people as Saddam is. > We have done our best > to relieve it. That sounds very patronising to me. > There is no limit on Iraqi oil sales to > pay for "oil for food". Iraq is the world's > second-biggest oil producer so more than $8bn a year > is available for foods, medicines, clean water, > electricity and educational material. There is no > block on Iraq ordering them. Well actually there is so you blatently don't know what you are talking about. I've just finished transcribing the text of an Iraqi living in Britain whose father died as a result of the sanctions. He sent his father some eye-drops for his eye infection through the post because none was available in his town in Iraq. A few weeks later, the package was returned because it was thought that the eyedrops could be used for military purposes (dual use). The father eventually went blind for the lack of a simple medicine worth £2.50. Later, he developed a lung infection. His family took him to the hospital in his town and the staff had to explain that the choice had to be made as to whether the oxygen should go to an old man or a yound man or a child and that surely it must go to the child. He died the next day. There is no comprehensive list of banned items. Instead, each export is considered by the DTI and it is pretty much a lottery what gets through and what doesn't. Educational materials such as pencils usually do not make it through. Contracts to allow Iraq to rebuild its civilian infrastructure are routinely delayed indefinitely. The country probably does get enough food but with no infrastructure it is difficult for that food to end up on anyone's plate. > > "Oil for food" has been working for three years and > could have operated since 1991 had Saddam not blocked > it. He blocked it in 1991? Well tough luck! Who are you to condemn the Iraqi people to starvation on the pretext that their leader is a tyrant. You can point the blame but at the end of the day it is still your responsibility; you didn't have to impose sanctions. > The Iraqi people have never seen the full > benefits. Recently, the UN recommended that Iraq set > aside $91m for nutrition. The Iraqi regime allocated > only $24m. John Pilger's documentary on Carlton TV on > 6 March showed harrowing pictures of Iraqi children in > a cancer ward. The doctors said they could not get the > drugs they need. This is a scandal. The fault lies > with the Iraqi government. They fail to order enough > medicines and fail to distribute them properly. They don't have the infrastructure to distribute them properly! Even if it is Saddam's fault, it is still your responisbility that Iraqi's don't die as a result of your policies. Is it not very irresponsible of you to impose sanctions on Saddam when surely you know that he will hold his own people to ransom. We know Saddam is a tyrant but if the sanctions were not in place then this suffering would not be happening. Sure there would be some suffering - we all know Saddam tortures his own people but you can't deny that the disaster we are now seeing in Iraq is a result of the sanctions. Before 1991, Iraq was a 1st world country. In fact it was the 55th most developed country in the world. It now ranks below Bolivia, as the 5th poorest country in the world. The literacy rate has shrunk from 95% to below 60%. Around > 25% of medicines imported into Iraq lie in warehouses > waiting for the government to ship them to the > hospitals where they are needed. > Why? Because Saddam plays politics with suffering. Well for a start, Mr Hain, why should I believe your reasons. Possibly the medicine is not being distributed because there is no infrastructure. > He > believes that TV pictures of malnourished Iraqi > children serve his interests so he makes sure there > are plenty of malnourished children to film. In > northern Iraq, where Saddam's writ does not run, the > situation is much better. > > What is the alternative that John Pilger, George > Galloway and others advocate? Abandon sanctions. Trust > Saddam to improve conditions for the people. Cross our > fingers as he smuggles in a new stock of weapons. > And > wish the best of luck to the Kurds, the Shia and his > neighbours. > OK maybe Iraq will go to war with its neighbours but why not let this happen? Is the situation at present not a war? And it is a war on civilians. Saddam's regime is not suffering at all. > Of course sanctions are not a neat solution. I > remember apologists for apartheid arguing that > sanctions hit black South Africans. Did that make them > wrong? Of course not but those sanctions were of a far milder nature than the sanctions we are imposing on Iraq. The Iraqi sanctions are the most extreme economic sanctions ever imposed. If we are serious about toppling Saddam, why have we not armed the opposition? After the Gulf War, we called for the rebels to rise up and then we betrayed them, blocking their entry to ammunition stores and we even circled overhead in our helicopters while the Iraqis poured parafin over them and set fire to them with shells. It seems to me that we don't want to get rid of Saddam; we just want him to behave (as far as our interests are concerned). > Like the Iraqi opponents of Saddam, they > supported sanctions despite the cost to themselves. > The truth is that the critics have no alternative > except one which would leave Saddam free to do as he > likes. This is not the case. The least we could do is allow vital medicines into Iraq and we could allow them to have repair their infrastructure. Medicine's great but how about some clean water? And some electricity so that the hospitals can actually refrigerate the vaccines. > That is a risk we cannot take. Well why not? It is a risk we have never even considered not taking in most parts of the world. So why is Iraq any different? My guess is because Iraq has got lots of oil. Quite obvious really. So the question we must ask ourselves is this. Is that oil really worth the total devastation of a country which is what we and Saddam are doing to Iraq? Only two people were not available for that documentary by John Pilger. One was Saddam and the other was Robin Cook. So what does the British government have to hide? Mr Hain. There is something which you must accept. The economic sanctions ARE a weapon of mass destruction. PS If you want an alternative, if you are really concerned about Iraq threatening its neighbours, how about we stop arming Turkey and Indonesia and Zimbabwe with guns and leg irons and electric shock batons and components for land mines and we help out Saddam's neighbours and his opposition instead. Also, according to John Pilger, these sanctions would not be here under a democratic U.N. Most members of the General Assembly are against Sanctions. So what makes you think that the UK and the US are right and the rest of the world is wrong? Also, as far as bombing is concerned, how can anyone explain the necessity of bombing sheep?! (and shepherds). > ----------------------------------- > > Immoral, ineffective and counterproductive > > The sanctions against Iraq must now be lifted, says > Victoria Brittain > > Tuesday March 7, 2000 > > The UN economic sanctions programme against Iraq is > immoral, ineffective and counterproductive. After > nearly a decade in which half a million children have > been killed by sanctions it is time for Britain and > the US, the only supporters of the UN programme, to > admit this and lift the sanctions. > Three senior UN officials have resigned rather than > continue to work for a programme which one of them, > Denis Halliday, former coordinator of humanitarian > relief to Iraq, describes as a genocide which has > killed more than a million people. > > Sanctions have not hit the Iraqi leadership. They were > supposedly intended to shift Saddam Hussein from > power, but in fact have so ground down the society in > its isolation that he is actually less contested today > than at the end of the Gulf war. The US and Britain, > meanwhile, have made themselves into the enemies of > the Iraqi people and the Arab world in general. There > will be a future price to pay for this. > > Under the UN's oil for food programme which allows > Iraq to sell a proportion of its oil to meet > humanitarian needs, 30% of the receipts go for > reparations, mainly to Kuwait, and around 10% to the > UN for the costs of administering the programme. > According to the UN's own officials Britain and the US > are the dominant players in the sanctions committee in > New York, where vital chemotherapy drugs, painkillers, > chlorine and equipment for rehabilitation of the > infrastructure are blocked or delayed over and over > again. > > Iraq gets less than 60% of the revenue from all oil > sales under the deal. Even if every cent were spent on > food and medicines, expenditure would not even > approach the pre-1990 level. And anyway, to spend all > the available money on food would be unrealistic when > the country has such a devastated physical and > educational infrastructure that power and sewage > plants may be more essential to health than actual > medicines. > > The gruelling sanctions programme is backed by almost > daily bombing by the US and Britain. This is to > intimidate the regime into allowing back UN weapons > inspectors. Even Scott Ritter, famously the American > hard man of the last UN weapons inspection team, says > now that Iraq has no capacity to manufacture weapons > of mass destruction. It is absurd to pretend that Iraq > is a threat to its neighbours when it is on its hands > and knees - while Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel are > all armed to the teeth with weapons of mass > destruction. > > ---------------------------------------- > > Iraq sanctions > > Derek Brown > Tuesday March 7, 2000 > > Iraq has suffered from an international trade embargo > for nearly 10 years. Why? > The United Nations security council approved > Resolution 661 on August 6, 1990 - four days after > Iraqi troops invaded and annexed Kuwait. The United > States was even faster off the mark, imposing > unilateral sanctions within hours of the invasion. > > What were the sanctions supposed to achieve? > > In the beginning, they were supposed to force a > peaceful end to the Kuwait crisis, as part of > Operation Desert Shield. That didn't work, so a US-led > coalition of allies mounted Operation Desert Storm in > early 1971, starting with air strikes and culminating > in a ground offensive, in the face of which the Iraqis > fled. > > Why then are the sanctions still in place? > > After the liberation of Kuwait, the UN and the allies > wanted to ensure that Saddam would never again > threaten the peace of the region. In particular, they > wanted to deny him the weapons of mass destruction he > was known to crave. The sanctions were kept in place > to put pressure on the Baghdad regime to cooperate > with a UN team of international weapons inspectors, > known as Unscom. > > Why did the allies not simply follow up their victory > in Kuwait by invading Iraq and toppling Saddam? > > They did invade but were halted by Washington, which > was afraid that oil-rich Iraq would disintegrate, > spreading instability throughout the Middle East. > Specifically, the west feared that the Kurdish > minority in the north and the Shia Muslims of the > south would secede, leaving a chaotic and rudderless > Iraqi rump state in Mesopotamia, the central region > between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. > > What did the people of Iraq want? > > They have never been asked. In the aftermath of the > Iraqi rout in Kuwait, rebellion flared in most of the > country's 18 provinces. It was brutally crushed by > Saddam's elite Republican Guard, which was allowed to > extricate itself from Desert Storm largely unscathed. > > Have the sanctions worked? > > Hardly. The Unscom inspection project uncovered some > evidence of nuclear weapons research, but was > frustrated by lack of cooperation. It finally > stuttered to a halt in 1998, when Saddam refused to > allow inspectors access to his many palaces, most of > which have elaborate command-centre bunker systems. > > So have the sanctions had any effect? > > Militarily, they have made it more difficult for the > battered Iraqi army to re-equip. Much greater, though, > has been their impact on the civilian population. The > economy has been shattered and agricultural output > badly disrupted. Malnutrition is endemic and medical > services have been eroded. The UN's own agencies admit > that up to 5,300 children are dying every month from > disease, malnutrition and related conditions. All > told, it is believed that 500,000 Iraqis have died > since 1991 as an indirect result of sanctions. Baghdad > puts the figure at 1.5m, or roughly 7.5% of the entire > population. > > How did the UN fail to foresee disaster on this scale? > > >> From the beginning, the embargo on exports to Iraq > excluded food, medical supplies and other goods deemed > essential by the UN's sanctions committee. What the > west did not anticipate was the extent of Saddam's > callous disregard for his own subjects. > > Have there been attempts to ameliorate the suffering? > > In 1996, the security council approved an oil-for-food > programme. This allowed Baghdad to export around £3bn > worth of oil twice a year to buy medicine and food. > But Saddam baulked at the conditions: he was required > to pay all his oil earnings into a UN account, and 30% > of the money was to be siphoned off in war reparations > and to cover UN costs. > > How has the regime survived such a harsh embargo? > > By smuggling on a vast scale, mainly across the border > with Jordan which, as a staunch ally of the west and a > key player in the Middle East peace process, is > effectively immune from punitive action. The price of > oil has now soared to above £20 a barrel, providing an > even greater incentive for the smuggling activities of > Iraqi regime and private operators. > > Are the continuing US-British air strikes on Iraq > connected with the sanctions? > > Indirectly. US Air Force and RAF patrols are supposed > to deny air space over the north and south of the > country to Saddam's depleted air force, to help > protect the hapless Kurdish and Shia minorities. Since > the apparently final collapse of the Unscom process in > 1998, the patrols have regularly hit Iraqi air > defences and other military installations, but there > has been no attempt to disrupt or destroy the > country's oil industry, which enjoys the world's > second-biggest known reserves. > > Useful links: > > The Children of Iraq > Out There News > Seattle Post-Intelligencer > > Anti-sanctions campaigners: > > International Action Centre Campaign Against Sanctions > Iraq and the Sanctions > > -------------------------------- > > > > __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Talk to your friends online with Yahoo! 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