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Re: Delinking military sanctions:

The question of economic sanctions or military sanctions is really a distraction and a smokescreen for the real question. Are western interests threatened (or perhaps even furthered) by a country with an aggressive posture, who consistently attacks its neighbours, who carries out massive internal repression and war on its own citizens? If the answer is no, then sanctions will not be applied. This is the only real determining factor when the use of sanctions are invoked.

In the case of the Iran - Iraq war, Iraq was supported by the west because it was working to further the interests of the western powers (as well as its own of course). Namely the overthrow of the new government in Tehran by counterrevolutionary forces. No sanctions here, but the opposite, support both economic and militarily for Iraq.

In the case of Turkey, and its well documented brutal war on the Kurdish people, Turkey, a western ally, is supported by the west, again no sanctions, but economic, diplomatic and military support.

Now take Israel, which has twice illegally invaded Lebanon (murdering tens of thousands as oppose to the 1000 or so who died in the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait) and continues to occupy part of Southern Lebanon to this day. Israel continues to defy international law and will not withdraw its forces to the pre - 1967 borders. This is not to mention various terrorist actions around the world from plane hijacking to kidnapping.
As with Iraq, Israel's record of internal human rights abuses is well recorded. It treats the Palestinian people as second class citizens (if not sub-human). Israel is, by any measure, a model of apartheid South Africa (perhaps someone should mention this to Peter Hain, as he is so fond of comparing sanctions on Iraq with sanctions on South Africa). Finally, with so called "weapons of mass destruction" being a terrible concern to the west, we must not forget Israel is a nuclear power, a worrying thought one would think considering it veiled nuclear threats to Lebanon recently to "burn the soil" if they retaliated against Israeli bombing. Prominent Israeli politicians have made similar veiled threats in the past.
Once again, surely sanctions must be in place here? No, massive US/western support, economic, militarily and perhaps most important for outside observers, diplomatic cover of the highest order. Israel is of course vital to western interests, being its 'enforcer' in the region, and as with Turkey providing a base for US military operations.

The five permanent members of the Security council (China, Russia, US, UK, and France) are of course exempt from normal discourse about sanctions because they direct it. China and Russia receive a little diplomatic flack from the west now and again, mainly for show. The US being utterly beyond reproach (and immune from sanctions) despite waging some of the bloodiest wars in history and supplying and directing terrorism around the world.

I could go on for some time, but I feel the point has been made. The debate on delinking military sanctions is false.  It frames the discussion in such a way that that it pre-supposes the wests motives are benevolent or at least more so than the Iraqi regime. They are not, they are one and the same. By supporting western military sanctions on Iraq you are extending the right of privilege to the powerful to dominate the weak when its narrow self interests (western military - industrial - business elite) are at stake. While on the other hand extending the right of the powerful to aid those states or terrorists who further these same narrow self interests. The term "stability" which military sanction supporters have come to see as meaning a stable enviroment for people to live in, actually means a stable economic enviroment which favours western elite interests in their continued exploitation of the region.

The US/west and Iraq are like two lovers, in bed with each other for many years. Hundreds of thousands of Iranian and Iraqi citizens died in a war (because of Iraq and its backers) while they slept. Now over a tiff about who owns the bed, the US has put to death over a half a million people. But that is not enough blood for the US. It is not enough that they bomb Iraq "into the stone age". They want a US protectorate in the Middle East, they want a new Hussein, much like the current one but who doesn't disobey western orders (threaten their interests) or failing that, an Iraq unable to defend itself, with complete freedom of movement in Iraqi airspace for its military.


Doug Stokes wrote:

I read an article the other day from here:

It seems to challenge the prevailing orthodoxy in the anti sanctions
movement of delinking generalised economic sanctions against Iraq from
military sanctions. Here's a snippet:

"Blaming the victim

>From Dec. 20, 1998--after four days of heavy bombing raids--until the end of
September 1999, the U.S. and its British allies flew 12,157 combat sorties
against Iraq. They dropped 10,000 tons of explosives during that period.

The movement here must ask itself--does Iraq have the right to defend itself
against such attacks? Does it have the right to lock its radar on hostile
planes flying over its territory? Does it have the right to fire back?

If the movement supports "military sanctions" against Iraq, then we are
taking the side of the aggressor against the victims. This approach implies
that Iraq is somehow more "evil" than other states and concedes that
Washington has some justice on its side. Iraq has not bombed the U.S. or
Britain or anyone else. We must not fall in the trap of blaming the

I would be interested to hear any views on this.


>From: Mark Tribe <>
>To: "Hamre, Drew" <>
>CC: 'Iraq-CASI - Discussion' <>
>Subject: A third way?
>Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 22:36:56 +0000 (GMT)
>Dear All,
>I would appreciate any replies to my following train of thought.
>The US and UK governments want sanctions in place to prevent Saddam
>Hussein building up any form of military threat. All the funds from oil
>sales are kept under UN control and tight monitoring of all imports takes
>place to meet this end.

>Would the following steps relieve this suffering and yet still prevent
>military imports;

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