The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
A few comments in response to Peter's interesting suggestons on strategy. As an interim measure, opening up oil-for-food to an extent which restores authority over economic management to the Iraqi government is possibly a pragmatic means to achieving a less oppressive sanctions regime. I think such an arrangement is exactly what many less hawkish members of the American Congress woulk like to see - ongoing weapons inspection and arms embargo but with a more open approach to 'non-military' imports. Iraq's Arab neighbours may even be counted on to support such a process. However, while Saudi Arabia, Oman, Dubai, etc. may be uncomfortable or even outraged by the human toll of sanctions, I suspect there is at least tacit support for the basic strategy of 'containment' which underlies sanctions. In fact, is it not a poorly kept secret that American planes flying missions over the no-fly zone, take off from Oman? Whatever the case, all of these states share with the Americans an interest in 'containing' Saddam which explains their lack of forthright opposition to U.S. policy. Saudi Arabia also benefits of course by being able to manipulate oil prices more effectively without rivalry from Iraq. Strategically, I think it best to concentrate on the two best reasons for removing sanctions entirely. First,.the obvious suffering and deprivation they have caused to the Iraqi people. This is a direct message that unites people across every political and geographical divide. Second, the total lifting of sanctions creates a policy vacuum and an opening for advocates of an entirely new policy direction. There has been an understandable tendency in the anti-sanctions movement to almost exclusively emphasize the former approach. If this comes across as "rather loose and wooly" at times, I think it is because not enough attention has been given to what a new post-sanctions policy should look like. I don't think there is one global policy strategy that will solve Iraq's many political and social dilemmas - these are obviously the responsibility of Iraqis themselves. But, as with pre-sanctions relations between western governments and Iraq, post-sanctions policies will either directly or indirectly strengthen the Baathist regime -whoever controls it -or support a transition to popular government. Policies which might help achieve the latter include more energetic support for an International Tribunal on War Crimes for Iraq, and more substantial support for the recognition of Kurdish autonomy in the north. This does contradict the idea of restoring control over Iraqi society to Iraq, but suggests that it should be part of a policy favouring decentralization, federalism, and respect for human rights which ensures that that control is restored to the Iraqi people, not just to the Baath. Regards Ben Rempel -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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