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We are wrestling with this question 'what to do about Saddam' in a post-sanctions context. Peter Brooke suggests that the political demands of the current situation and the historical record of western governments leaves little alternative but to resume treating the Baath regime as a normal sovereign government. The merit I see in this argument is not only its recognition that our governments have little basis on which to dictate morality to Baghdad, but also that Iraqis have a better chance of effecting a change in this regime in a political context other than the current siege situation. Furthermore, whether it will ever be stated so openly, very likely this sort of relationship is what will develop should sanctions be lifted. It is certainly what France, Germany, China, and Russian would like for largely economic reasons. As a result, I don't see the need to advocate such an approach. It is so much in line with the basic interests of these governments, that it is a likely outcome anyway.. Far more likely, in fact, than the creation of an International Criminal Tribunal on Iraq. Peter Brooke has noted most of the major difficulties facing such a entity. So why advocate for the indictment of the Baath ruling clique? First, because they are, in my view, guilty of crimes against humanty, genocide in particular. Good War Crimes cases could no doubt be made against the U.S. coalition for its conduct in the Gulf War. The destruction caused by the sanctions regime is easier to demonstrate but culpability would be more difficult to establish in the context of international law. But the crimes of the Baath, I would argue, are of a different order. The Genocide Convention has no meaning unless it is non-selectively enforced. If a good genocide case could be made against the countries enforcing sanctions, then that case would be worth pursuing as well - but it does not seem likely. Second, because it is what many Iraqis, exiles and opposition members, Kurds and Arabs, have been asking for. While a significant section of the Iraqi opposition has willingly become an instrument of U.S. foreign policy, this should not take away from the legitimacy of the cause and the grievances of the Iraqi opposition in general, particularly those still within Iraq. Opening up the state to trade, but isolating the regime by securing indictments for crimes against humanity could assist the process of political change from within Iraq. Indicting members of a ruling government for war crimes does not require imposing or maintaining comprehensive economic sanctions agains the state as a whole. I would argue, as a point of strategy, that the criminal issues should be pursued entirely separately from the issue of lifting sanctions. Members of the regime can be isolated by being denied the opportunity for international travel and having their assets seized, with no need for an economic embargo. Finally, it is dubious argument, at best, that the stability and development of Iraq are best served by a strong, sovereign, central government based in Iraq. I am not trying to put words in anybody's mouth, but the logical extension of restoring complete control and sovereignty to the Baathists is the restoration of legitimacy to a corrupt, authoritarian regime, which seized power illegally and has squandered the country's wealth on futile wars and personal enrichment. If the struggle to lift sanctions is motivated out of a sense of solidarity with the people of Iraq, then it strikes me as illogical to abandon this solidarity because the oppression originates in Baghdad rather than in Washington or London. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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