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Re: Guardian Article

Dear Friends:

One of you have asked about the address of the web page containing the
article. You can access it from the Guardian's special report section on

The address is:,2759,14805,00.html


----- Original Message -----
From: Hathal Alqassab <>
To: CASI Discussion Group <>
Sent: Friday, March 24, 2000 8:48 PM
Subject: Guardian Article

> Time for the west to stop being Saddam's scapegoat
> Severe sanctions imposed by the west have proved a convenient way for
> president Saddam Hussein to deflect the blame for his nation's woes, but
> forthcoming election of a new US president could engender a fresh approach
> to the Iraqi dictator
> Mark Tran
> Friday March 24, 2000
> American presidents come and go, but Saddam Hussein clings on to power
> the persistence of a barnacle. Despite losing the Gulf War, and suffering
> years of crippling sanctions, which have seen Iraq - once a modern state -
> crumble around him, President Saddam's hold on power seems as secure as
> ever.
> As the suffering of the Iraqi people deepens, the US and Britain - the two
> principal proponents of sanctions - are coming under increasing pressure
> lift the economic siege. As a UN security council debate gets underway on
> the UN oil-for-food program - which was designed to alleviate the
> humanitarian plight of ordinary Iraqis - several human rights groups,
> including Human Rights Watch and Save the Children (UK), have called for a
> radical overhaul of the sanctions. They are, in effect, urging the west to
> junk most of the measures which have been in place since Iraq invaded
> in 1990.
> The US and Britain argue that President Saddam bears the prime
> responsibility for Iraq's devastation, particularly the high child death
> rate caused by a medicine shortage. Peter Hain, minister of state at the
> Foreign Office, said recently that children are dying because the Iraqi
> government does not order enough medicines and fails to distribute the
> the country does receive. President Saddam, Mr Hain argues, is playing
> politics with suffering.
> One expects no less from someone demonised as an evil dictator. The
> situation is reminiscent of Cambodia after the Vietnamese drove out the
> Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s. The west isolated the Vietnamese-backed
> regime in Phnom Penh and supported the Khmer Rouge in its camps in
> Even those Cambodians who had little time for the Phnom Penh regime
> criticised the west for wanting to fight the Vietnamese and their allies
> down to the last Cambodian. At times, it seems the US and Britain want to
> fight Saddam down to the last Iraqi.
> Given Saddam's ruthlessness, the present policy is a moral and a practical
> dead end. As the Guardian's Ewen MacAskill has reported from Iraq, the
> sanctions provide Saddam with an all-too-convenient scapegoat for the
> country's problems - the west.
> Saddam is going to be a headache for the next US administration. Vice
> president Al Gore has hinted at a more aggressive stance by agreeing to
> dissident Iraqi exiles, despite the fact that the opposition is
> divided. George W Bush, the Republican candidate, has spoken of forceful
> responses to any sign that Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction.
> Neither approach seems very promising, taken on its own.
> There is, however, an approach that would really put the frighteners on
> Saddam - cosying up to Iran, Iraq's bitter regional rival. There are signs
> that America is planning to play the Iranian card. US secretary of state
> Madeleine Albright last week announced an easing of sanctions against
> in acknowledgement of the more moderate policies being pursued by Iranian
> president Mohammad Khatami. Baghdad has already betrayed its nervousness
> this diplomatic duet between the US and Iran. After this week's mortar
> attack in Baghdad, Iraq blamed the US for encouraging Iranian "aggression"
> against Baghdad.
> With a new president in the White House, there will be a chance for a
> approach to Iraq. With the prestige of being the new president, the next
> incumbent could well agree to less a draconian regime of sanctions and
> deflect Iraqi resentment away from the west towards its rightful target,
> Saddam. Couple that with the west's rapprochement with Iran and there is
> making of a more effective policy towards Iraq.
> --
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
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