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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 Iraq. The address is: http://www.newsunlimited.co.uk/Iraq/0,2759,14805,00.html Hathal ----- Original Message ----- From: Hathal Alqassab <email@example.com> To: CASI Discussion Group <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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 Iraq's > president Saddam Hussein to deflect the blame for his nation's woes, but the > 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 with > the persistence of a barnacle. Despite losing the Gulf War, and suffering 10 > 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 to > 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 Kuwait > 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 drugs > 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 Thailand. > 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 meet > dissident Iraqi exiles, despite the fact that the opposition is notoriously > 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 Iran, > in acknowledgement of the more moderate policies being pursued by Iranian > president Mohammad Khatami. Baghdad has already betrayed its nervousness at > 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 fresh > 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 the > making of a more effective policy towards Iraq. > > > -- > ----------------------------------------------------------------------- > This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq > For removal from list, email email@example.com > Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: > http://welcome.to/casi > -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi