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RE: Guardian on Iraq Sanctions

Hello Aziz

Your letter to Hain is great.

Could I suggest a small modification? Hain complains about Iraq being a
threat to its neigbhours.
There are two retorts to this:
1. Scott Ritter doesn't think Iraq is a threat to anybody at this point. The
country is a complete mess and they can't even fire short range missiles
successfully. They've experienced a huge brain drain, so it's unlikely they
have the intellectual capacity to develop a serious military threat in the
short or medium-term. According to Ritter, UNSCOM, for all PRACTICAL
purposes, completely disarmed the Iraqi military.

2. Ritter is also convinced that Iraq would be prepare to allow inspectors
back in for an immediate end to sanctions. I don't want to suggest a return
of inspectors to removing sanctions, but surely a softer stance by the US/UK
governments on SCR1284 would have resolved the situation to everyone's
satisfaction? In addition, if Hain is so concerned about arms inspections,
perhaps he should castigate his allies across the Atlantic for having
sabotaged UNSCOM, theoretically a neutral UN  body, by turning it into a spy

You could be really nasty and tell him that if he thinks sanctions against
SA are remotely comparable to Iraq, his knowledge of SA history is sadly
lacking! If I'm not mistaken, Nelson Mandela has condemned the Iraqi


-----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of aziz
Sent: Thursday, March 09, 2000 8:45 AM
Subject: Guardian on Iraq Sanctions

I have received the following reply to Peter Hain from
Hugh Jones (  , which I am forwarding
to the list on his request.... Aziz

--On Wed, Mar 8, 2000 7:43 am -0800 aziz nasiri

> 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
> 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
> culprit. Saddam Hussein plunged into war with

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
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
desirable as far the west is concerned, we should not
try to topple
But it does rather undermine our moral credibility and
in the very
demonstrates that we are capable of being very

It is also worth noting that Magaret Thatcher's
government was more
to allow British Aerospace, and the other big (mostly
who manufacture 'weapons of mass destruction' (to use
a well known
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
unacceptable but I just find that rather hard to
You side with Saddam when it suits you (sir) and you
try to whip up
opinion against him when he causes you grief.  At the
end of the day
don't seem to be finding it possible to care much for
human rights in
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
Since when has the government cared about Kurds?  We
what's happening to them in Turkey.  Don't you try and
me that the sanctions are there to help the Kurds;
that's just

Anyway, who are we, The British) to talk condemn
invasions.  Is that
just a tad hipocritical?  I do appreciate that
sometimes hipocritical
can be the right thing to do but when people do not
admit their own
hipocracy it does rather tend to rather overwhelmingly
undermine any ounce of credibility that they could
every had laid claim

> Because of the resolute action of the
> international community - liberating Kuwait,
> and the disarmament programme - Saddam has been
> 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
to their neighbours and what does the UN do about
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
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
an ethically very unsound policy.
Indeed, Saddam has ceased to pose any danger to his
neighbours but we
posing more than a threat to the people of Iraq
themselves; we are
Mr Hain if you want to disagree with me you must
either argue that the
really is worth it or you must disagree that we are
not killing the
of Iraq.  I think we are.  In which case is the price
worth what?
So through the disarmament program, we have disarmed
him and he is no
posing a threat to his neighbours.
If Saddam is no longer a threat to his neighbours
should we not lift

> 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
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
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
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
eye-drops for his eye infection through the post
because none was
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
The father eventually went blind for the lack of a
simple medicine
Later, he developed a lung infection.  His family took
him to the
in his town and the staff had to explain that the
choice had to be made
to whether the oxygen should go to an old man or a
yound man or a child
that surely it must go to the child.  He died the next

There is no comprehensive list of banned items.
Instead, each export
considered by the DTI and it is pretty much a lottery
what gets through
what doesn't.  Educational materials such as pencils
usually do not
make it
Contracts to allow Iraq to rebuild its civilian
infrastructure are
routinely delayed indefinitely.  The country probably
does get enough
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
> it.

He blocked it in 1991?
Well tough luck!  Who are you to condemn the Iraqi
to starvation on the pretext that their leader is a
You can point the blame but at the end of the day it
is still
your responsibility; you didn't have to impose

> 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
> 6 March showed harrowing pictures of Iraqi children
> a cancer ward. The doctors said they could not get
> 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
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
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
Before 1991, Iraq was a 1st world country.  In fact it
was the 55th
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%.

> 25% of medicines imported into Iraq lie in
> 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
Possibly the medicine is not being distributed because
there is no

> 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.
> Saddam to improve conditions for the people. Cross
> 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
> wrong?

Of course not but those sanctions were of a far milder
than the sanctions we are imposing on Iraq.  The Iraqi
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
circled overhead in our helicopters while the Iraqis
poured parafin
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
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
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
the total devastation of a country which is what we
and Saddam are
doing to

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

PS If you want an alternative, if you are really
concerned about Iraq
threatening its neighbours, how about we stop arming
Turkey and
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
So what makes you think that the UK and the US are
right and the rest
the world is wrong?

Also, as far as bombing is concerned,
how can anyone explain the necessity of bombing
sheep?! (and

> -----------------------------------
>  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
> 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
> supposedly intended to shift Saddam Hussein from
> power, but in fact have so ground down the society
> its isolation that he is actually less contested
> 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.
> 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
> are the dominant players in the sanctions committee
> New York, where vital chemotherapy drugs,
> 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
> food and medicines, expenditure would not even
> approach the pre-1990 level. And anyway, to spend
> the available money on food would be unrealistic
> 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
> 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,
> now that Iraq has no capacity to manufacture weapons
> of mass destruction. It is absurd to pretend that
> is a threat to its neighbours when it is on its
> 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
> 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
> coalition of allies mounted Operation Desert Storm
> early 1971, starting with air strikes and
> in a ground offensive, in the face of which the
> fled.
> Why then are the sanctions still in place?
> After the liberation of Kuwait, the UN and the
> wanted to ensure that Saddam would never again
> threaten the peace of the region. In particular,
> wanted to deny him the weapons of mass destruction
> 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
> 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
> country's 18 provinces. It was brutally crushed by
> Saddam's elite Republican Guard, which was allowed
> extricate itself from Desert Storm largely
> 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,
> has been their impact on the civilian population.
> economy has been shattered and agricultural output
> badly disrupted. Malnutrition is endemic and medical
> services have been eroded. The UN's own agencies
> 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.
> puts the figure at 1.5m, or roughly 7.5% of the
> population.
> How did the UN fail to foresee disaster on this
>> From the beginning, the embargo on exports to Iraq
> excluded food, medical supplies and other goods
> 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
> In 1996, the security council approved an
> programme. This allowed Baghdad to export around
> worth of oil twice a year to buy medicine and food.
> But Saddam baulked at the conditions: he was
> to pay all his oil earnings into a UN account, and
> of the money was to be siphoned off in war
> and to cover UN costs.
> How has the regime survived such a harsh embargo?
> By smuggling on a vast scale, mainly across the
> with Jordan which, as a staunch ally of the west and
> key player in the Middle East peace process, is
> effectively immune from punitive action. The price
> oil has now soared to above 20 a barrel, providing
> even greater incentive for the smuggling activities
> 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
> 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.
> the apparently final collapse of the Unscom process
> 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
> Iraq and the Sanctions
> --------------------------------

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