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Hello all: As I have not received any complaints about the last two news clippings, I will adopt the same approach from now onwards. One of you mentioned the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) document of December '99. That and other important documents can be accessed from CASI's ''Info Sources'' page which can be found at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/societies/casi/info/index.html Also, note the Dallas Morning News editorial which came to my attention just today. Thanks, Hathal ________________________________________________________ News for 1 May '00 to 7 May '00 Sources: AFP, AP, ArabicNews, BBC, Christian Science Monitor, The Dallas Morning News, The Lancet, National Public Radio, The New York Times, Reuters, Stratfor, The Times · Former Senior UN Officials Denounce Iraq Sanctions at Congressional Briefing (ArabicNews) · Denis Halliday's Congressional Briefing · Some In Congress Approve Of Lifting The Economic Sanctions Against Iraq To Help The Iraqi People While Keeping Military (National Public Radio) · Iraqi Suffering -- Rep. Hall adds Noteworthy Support for Keeping Sanctions (The Dallas Morning News - Editorial) · Iraqi Medical Education Under the Intellectual Embargo (The Lancet) · Baghdad Hit by Rockets (BBC) · U.N. Iraq Inspection Head Ready for August Start (Reuters) · Death Sentence Upheld on Kuwait Occupation Leader (Reuters) · An American Ally Becomes Iraq's Chief Trading Partner (Stratfor) · Iran Releases 480 Iraqi Prisoners (AP) · Iraq Prefers Second Gulf Oil Terminal to Syrian Pipeline: MEES (AFP) · Iraq and Kuwait Clash at Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference (AFP) Only links provided for the following reports: · Iraq Seeks Compensation for 1998 U.S.-U.K. Attacks (Reuters) · Iraqi Kurds Enjoy a De Facto State (Christian Science Monitor) · Serbia and Iraq 'In Dangerous New Alliance' (The Times) · Some Iraqi Opposition Groups to be Allowed Back (Reuters) · Mossad Snatches Sacred Jewish Texts from Saddam (The Times) · At Rehearing, Iraqi Doctor Wins Round In Deportation (The New York Times) · Fifa Inquiry Into Iraqi Team Torture (The Times) ________________________________________________________ · Iraqi Medical Education Under the Intellectual Embargo, The Lancet, 25 March '00 Volume 355(9209) pp 1093-1094 Richards, Leila J; Wall, Stephen N Brooklyn, New York (L J Richards MD MPH), and Department of Pediatrics, University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA (S N Wall MD SM) Iraq's health services have declined substantially since the Gulf War and the imposition of United Nations sanctions. (1-7). However, the impact of sanctions on the flow of medical and scientific information has received little attention. Iraq was essentially cut off from all outside medical information in 1990 when United Nations Security Council Resolution 661 froze Iraqi assets abroad and banned all trade with Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait. Unlike previous sanctions imposed by the United Nations against member states, Resolution 661 provided no exemption for the transmission of medical and scientific literature. The resulting intellectual embargo has isolated Iraq from the international medical community for the past decade. In the USA, this intellectual embargo has been enforced through postal-service regulations, licensing requirements for goods sent to Iraq, visa restrictions, and a ban on travel to Iraq by Americans. We were members of a public-health delegation to Iraq in May, 1999, to examine the impact of the intellectual embargo on medical education. Our trip was sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee, with assistance from the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, the Middle East Council of Churches, and the Mennonite Central Committee. In Baghdad we met with officials from the Iraq Ministry of Health, who granted us unrestricted access to all sites we requested to visit. We were also briefed by senior members of WHO, UNICEF, and the Office of the United Nations Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs in Iraq. We visited six of Iraq's ten medical colleges, meeting with more than 30 physicians and academicians. At each medical college we talked to deans and senior faculty staff, visited hospitals, and toured medical libraries. During hospital tours, we held impromptu meetings with clinical faculty members and house-staff physicians. Unfortunately, medical students were not available to meet with us because of examinations. We asked the physicians we met how their working and teaching environment compared with the pre-sanctions period, and how they were coping with 9 years of scientific isolation. Iraqi medical education Iraqi medical education is based on the 6-year British curriculum and is carried out in English. Medical education is free, and before sanctions were imposed all required textbooks were provided free to students. Postgraduate residency training is required for both Iraqi and Arab board certification in each specialty. Before the Gulf War, the government funded subspecialty training abroad, and most members of the senior faculty we met had been trained in British or American hospitals. Academic physicians in Iraq, most of whom are specialists, are expected to publish their research in peer-reviewed journals to be eligible for promotion to the highest levels. After United Nations sanctions were imposed in 1990, the delivery of European and American medical journals to Iraq abruptly stopped. US government regulations enacted since 1990 have explicitly prohibited the export of such printed matter to Iraq. The US Postal Service stipulates in its International Mail Manual that mail sent to Iraq must weigh less than 340 g and contain only "personal communications". (8). All other categories of mail, including regular printed matter, books, periodicals, and sheet music have been "suspended until further notice".( 8) US Treasury Department regulations explicitly state, "except as otherwise authorized, no goods, technology (including technical data or other information) or services may be exported from the United States ... to any entity owned or controlled by the Government of Iraq, ... or operated from Iraq". The only exceptions are "donated foodstuffs in humanitarian circumstances, and donated supplies intended strictly for humanitarian purposes".( 9) Our conversations with Iraqi doctors and librarians indicate that European nations have issued similar regulations. Since the imposition of sanctions, Iraqi medical students have no longer received British and American textbooks, which had been the basic texts used in all classes. WHO is now the major supplier of Iraq's medical literature, and has provided a limited number of medical textbooks, journals, and CD-ROMs to Iraqi medical college libraries, but must receive approval from the United Nations Sanctions Committee for each item sent. Iraq's other major supply of medical literature is from visiting delegations that hand-carry medical textbooks and journals into the country. Isolated editions of these medical journals, or photocopied versions, are prominently displayed on the shelves in medical libraries, often bearing the original address label of the donating physician. Donated medical textbooks are reproduced as bound photocopied versions by the Ministry of Health or by medical school libraries. These were often the only recent textbooks available in the libraries we visited. Although the quality of the copied text was often good, the illustrations were undecipherable. Some medical schools now provide photocopied textbooks for free to their senior medical students. Most of the recent medical literature we saw, both original and photocopied versions, were in the libraries of Baghdad's three medical colleges. Few medical libraries in north or south Iraq had new textbooks or journals, even photocopied versions. There was no cataloguing system to help physicians find journals in the random assortment of donated medical literature in Iraq's medical libraries. Such a system would be difficult to implement in any case since Iraq's medical colleges are not linked by computer, and the telephone service between regions of the country is erratic because of bombing damage to the telecommunications infrastructure. Travel, infrastructure, and research The intellectual embargo also restricts travel to and from Iraq. Travel to Iraq from the USA is punishable by a fine and a prison term.(10). WHO has sought the United Nations' permission to bring consultants to conduct training conferences in Iraq, and to arrange for Iraqi physicians to take courses abroad, but to date without success. Iraqi physicians who wish to attend international conferences also face travel restrictions. Several physicians spoke of being denied visas to European countries or the USA to attend medical conferences, even when invited as guest speakers by conference organisers. The physical breakdown of educational and health facilities also contributes to the declining quality of medical education. Frequent power blackouts shut off lights and audiovisual equipment in classrooms and laboratories. Broken or obsolete equipment needed for teaching cannot be replaced; the United Nations' oil-for-food programme does not include funds for training and teaching supplies. Educational facilities have few computers, and no access to the internet. Hospitals are filled with aging and broken medical equipment (eg, cardiorespiratory monitors, ventilators, and radiography machines) and wards still lack basic items such as soap and bed linens. To make the best use of remaining resources, some medical colleges have cut their class sizes by as much as 30%. The academic physicians we spoke to had been forced to curtail all basic and most clinical research. Those who still carried out clinical research had to contend with a dearth of recent specialty journals, limited access to computers, and medical records lacking basic diagnostic studies and therapeutics. Iraqi academic physicians frequently expressed doubt that any international journals would be willing to consider their papers written under these conditions. As one Iraqi physician stated, "If I sent my work outside for evaluation I would never get an answer." Nevertheless, Iraqi medical colleges have continued to publish their own national specialty journals in English, and some doctors told us of getting their work published in Arab language journals. Faced with poor working conditions and dwindling salaries, thousands of experienced Iraqi doctors have left the country in recent years. The dean of one medical college told us that he was the only remaining faculty member in his department who was a member of the Royal Society of Physicians, whereas before the Gulf War there had been 12. Even recent graduates have left medicine to pursue more lucrative jobs in the local cash economy, such as driving taxis or taking menial jobs with United Nations agencies. At a prestigious Baghdad medical college, the dean described his students as depressed, demoralised, and anxious about their future. Conclusions Iraqi doctors we talked to offered the following suggestions for international physicians and organisations who desire to assist medical education in Iraq: provision of current textbooks (in English) for students, recent journal abstracts on CD-ROM, and teaching materials (eg, undergraduate and continuing medical education) on videocassette or CD-ROM; organisation of conferences on medical updates in each specialty, to be held in Amman, Jordan, should travel bans preclude lawful entry into Iraq; and advocacy to end the intellectual embargo of medical information by the United Nations and member states. Infrastructure damage, a failing economy, and a 10-year intellectual embargo have affected every level of medical education in Iraq, leaving the country's next generation of doctors ill-equipped to inherit the country's health crisis. We believe that there is no justification for this intellectual embargo against Iraqi physicians. Restricting the flow of scientific information to Iraq ultimately serves to undermine the care of patients, and denies Iraqi doctors the right "to share in scientific advancement and its benefits", as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 11 We hope that international physician groups will organise efforts to support Iraqi colleagues, and to advocate an end to the intellectual embargo. References 1. United Nations. Report of the Second Panel Established Pursuant to the Note by the President of the Security Council of 30/12/99, concerning the current humanitarian situation in Iraq. S/1999/356, New York, 30 March 1999 2. Living with sanctions: the oil for food program and the intellectual embargo. American Friends Service Committee, September 1999 3. United Nations Security Council. Report of the secretary-general pursuant to paragraph 6 of Security Council resolution 1242 (1999). S/1999/896, 19 August 1999 4. Special Topics on Social Conditions in Iraq. An overview submitted by the UN system to the Security Council Panel on Humanitarian Issues. Baghdad: 24 March 1999. 5. UNICEF. Situation analysis of children and women in Iraq. (Baghdad: UNICEF, 30 April 1998). 6. Richards L. et al. Child and Maternal Health, Nutrition and Welfare in Iraq under the Sanctions. American Friends Service Committee, February 1999 7. Hoskins, E. Public Health and the Persian Gulf War. In B. Levy and V. Sidel, War and Public Health. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, 254-278. U.S. Government regulations mentioned in this paper: 8. Re: postal restrictions governing mail sent to Iraq: U.S. Post Office International Mail Manual, p. 573. The regulations below can be found in the U.S. government's Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). 9. The regulation governing export of information to Iraq comes from CFR, Title 31, volume 2, (revised as of July 1, 1998) page 665, section 575.205, entitled "Prohibited exportation and reexportation of goods, technology, or services to Iraq." The URL for this is: <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_99/31cfr575_99.html> 10. Re: prohibition against travel to Iraq: this appears in CFR, title 32, Section. 575.207, entitled "Prohibited transactions relating to travel to Iraq or to activities within Iraq." The penalties appear in section 575.701. 11. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 27. Quoted in "Universality of Science," handbook of ICSU's standing committee on the free circulation of scientists. Stockholm: International Council of Scientific Unions, 1990-91, p.10. ________________________________________________________ · Iraq and Kuwait Clash at Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference, AFP, 30 April '00 http://asia.dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/world/article.html?s=asia/headline s/000501/world/afp/Iraq_and_Kuwait_clash_at_Inter-Parliamentary_Union_confer ence.html AMMAN - A row broke out between Iraq and Kuwait at an Arab delegation coordination meeting Monday for the 103rd conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, a source close to the meeting said. The row between the parliamentary speakers of the two countries started when Iraq's Saadoun Hammadi called on Arab delegations to adopt a resolution calling on their parliaments to visit Iraq to "demonstrate their solidarity with the Iraqi people and children," the source said, reporting their exchange. Hammadi's Kuwaiti counterpart Jassim al-Khorafi immediately opposed the motion, saying "we are all concerned by the suffering of the people of Iraq but the call to visit the country does not require an Arab resolution." Hammadi then said he had already received "positive responses from the speakers of Arab parliaments." The Kuwaiti speaker replied: "Should we not ask ourselves what is at the root of the suffering of these people?" in a reference to the Iraqi regime, adding "let us not therefore shed crocodile tears." Hammadi tried to respond but the president of the Arab parliamentary union, Abdel Qader Ben Saleh of Algeria, suggested ending the debate and the other Arab delegations agreed. The meeting occurred shortly after the official opening of the IPU conference, at which the international embargo of Iraq, in force since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, will be considered. The Arab countries decided to call on Algeria to ask for an additional debate to "study parliamentary support for the rights of refugees and displaced people as a result of war and occupation, along with help for their repatriation." The motion would be aimed primarily at the 3.5 million Palestinian refugees. Earlier a Jordanian committee of support for Baghdad called for a sit-in Monday in front of the centre staging the IPU conference in protest at the interational embargo against Iraq. The committee of national mobilisation for the defence of Iraq, made up of political parties and professional unions, called in a communique for a 90-minute sit-in in front of the hotel where the conference opened Sunday. A total of 1,400 delegates from 123 countries, including 70 parliamentary speakers, will take part in the IPU conference, the highest number ever to attend. ________________________________________________________ · Iraq Prefers Second Gulf Oil Terminal to Syrian Pipeline: MEES, AFP, 1 May '00 http://sg.dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/business/afp/article.html?s=singapor e/headlines/000501/business/afp/Iraq_prefers_second_Gulf_oil_terminal_to_Syr ian_pipeline__MEES.html NICOSIA - Iraq prefers to repair a disused oil terminal on the Gulf rather than reopen a pipeline through Syria to boost its UN-controlled oil exports, Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) said Monday. The Cyprus-based specialist newsletter said the Khor al-Amaya terminal was the favoured option "because its recommissioning would be faster and cheaper than that of the Syrian pipeline". Also, the terminal close to Iraq's southern oilfields was "well-placed to provide an additional outlet to serve the Asian and US markets, and Baghdad does not have to pay transit dues to a second country," it said. But MEES said Iraq was still likely to push for reopening of the Syrian route, although it would add only a maximum of 300,000 barrels per day to export capacity as the pipeline is already being used by Syria for its own oil. "In the case of Syria, there is a political agenda. The reopening of the pipeline ... would signal a thaw in relations between the two countries," it said, adding Iraqi authorities wanted "to open up as many export channels as possible". On March 1, Iraq's oil ministry undersecretary said that the pipeline, including Iraq's part which has been disused since 1982, had been repaired on both sides of the border. It could be operational "in the coming weeks, once the Syrian side has taken the decision to bring it back on stream", said Fayez Shahin. Baghdad and Damascus signed an accord in August 1998 to repair the pipeline which links the Kirkuk fields in northern Iraq with the Syrian port of Banias on the Mediterranean. Iraq, which aims to boost exports, currently uses the Gulf terminal of Mina al-Bakr, west of Khor al-Amaya, that is in need of repair and a pipeline running from the north through Turkey to the Mediterranean. . . . . . The UN Security Council has lifted a ceiling on the dollar value of Iraq's oil exports and doubled the amount of spare parts it can import for the sanctions-hit oil industry to 1.2 billion dollars a year. Iraq plans to raise output from its current level of around 2.6 million barrels per day, of which nearly two million are exported. ________________________________________________________ · Baghdad Hit by Rockets, BBC, 2 May '00 http://news2.thls.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle%5Feast/newsid%5F733000/7 33346.stm Iraq has blamed Iran for a rocket attack on the Iraqi capital Baghdad which it says injured eight civilians. The area targeted was Baladiyat in eastern Baghdad where the capital's Palestinian community, including refugees, is concentrated. The official Iraqi news agency INA said "agents in the pay of the Iranian regime fired six remote-controlled missiles at homes in Baghdad, injuring eight civilians who have been hospitalised". One rocket hit a bedroom of a Palestinian-owned apartment, hurting six members of the same family. An Iraqi security source said the attack happened at 2335 (1935 GMT) on Monday, but did not name the exact location. "Iraq holds the Iranian authorities responsible for this cowardly attack and reserves the right to respond at the opportune time," INA said. It came the same night as a mortar strike on the Iranian capital Tehran injured six people. That attack was claimed by an Iraq-based Iranian armed opposition group, the People's Mujahedeen. On 22 March, four people were killed and 38 injured in a mortar attack on Baladiyat district. That attack, in apparent retaliation for a Mujahedeen-claimed mortar strike on March 13 near the headquarters of the Revolutionary Guards in Tehran that wounded at least four people, was also blamed on Iran. The Mujahedeen, which has its headquarters in Baghdad and bases around Iraq, have condemned the "new savage crime by agents of the Iranian regime" and said the attack had "no link" to its latest operation in Tehran. The presence of the Mujahedeen in Iraq is a stumbling block to a normalisation of ties between Baghdad and Tehran. . . . . . ________________________________________________________ · Former Senior UN Officials Denounce Iraq Sanctions at Congressional Briefing, ArabicNews, 3 May '00 http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/000505/2000050524.html Three former senior UN officials denounced economic sanctions against Iraq and called for their lifting at a congressional briefing on Wednesday, May 3, said the Arab Anti Discrimination Committee. Former UN Humanitarian Coordinators in Iraq, Hans von Sponeck and Denis Halliday, and former weapons inspector Scott Ritter, called on the US government to abandon its policy of economic sanctions against Iraq. Despite their diverse backgrounds, all three agreed that economic sanctions are the major cause for the humanitarian disaster in Iraq, and dismissed claims that American policy is not to blame. US Representatives Dennis Kucinich, John Conyers and Cynthia McKinney also called for the lifting of sanctions. Former UN weapons inspector in Iraq Scott Ritter debunked what he called "the myth" of a threat from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, which were typically cited as a reason for maintaining sanctions. Calling himself "an unlikely ally in this matter," Ritter said that, "A lot of the blame for this perception can be laid at my doorstep." But, Ritter said, "The reality is that when you judge Iraq's current weapons of mass destruction capabilities today, they have none." Hans von Sponeck, who resigned in March in protest of the effects of sanctions on the civilian population of Iraq, said that the "oil-for-food" program which he was administering was not meeting the most basic needs of the Iraqi population. He said that because of sanctions, Iraqis simply do not have enough to eat. "The conditions in hospitals are atrocious," he added. "Diseases that had disappeared from a country with one of the best infrastructures in the Middle East have reappeared and have become a major killer of children under five," he said. The UN estimates that about 5,000 Iraqis die every month as a result of economic sanctions. Denis Halliday was von Sponeck's predecessor as UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq and who resigned in September 1998 in protest of the effects of what he called "the human calamity going on in Iraq today on account of widespread deprivation caused by US-driven economic sanctions." Halliday presented a plan calling for the lifting of economic sanctions, an end to US bombing of Iraq, renewed weapons inspections, a dialogue between the Iraqi and US governments, releasing the oil production equipment on hold in the UN sanctions committee, private investment in Iraq and postponement of reparations payments, MAP reported. ________________________________________________________ · Denis Halliday's Congressional Briefing, 3 May '00 Denis Halliday for a Congressional Briefing on Wednesday 3 May 2000, in 2203 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC at 3.00 p.m. Distinguished Members of Congress, Ladies and Gentlemen We are all aware of the letter signed by some 72 courageous members of Congress to President Clinton calling for the de-linking of economic from military sanctions, and for the lifting of economic sanctions on the people of Iraq. We have heard the statement of Congressman Bonior lamenting the economic sanctions-caused deaths of Iraqi children which he characterized as infanticide. More recently we have listened to Congressman Hall, just returned from witnessing the situation in Iraq, expressing his concern for the humanitarian crisis. And this afternoon, we have heard Hans von Sponeck, until last month the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Baghdad, describe the human calamity ongoing in Iraq today on account of widespread deprivation caused by U.S. driven United Nations economic sanctions. What these sources have confirmed, is that economic sanctions are a blunt and deadly instrument, and that the devastation is felt by the people, not the leadership. Prolonged economic sanctions directly and indirectly cause death, malnutrition and social destruction in respect of the innocent, the children and others who are blameless for the bad decisions of government. The case of Iraq is the most glaring failure of this otherwise legitimate device provided for in the UN Charter, under Chapter 7, Article 41, to enforce standards of behavior consistent with the requirements of the Charter itself. Sadly, in the case of the children and adults of Iraq, we find that the results of Security Council decisions as impacting on the ground are incompatible with the spirit and intent of the Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other instruments of international law. The Iraq crisis is uniquely prolonged, unjustified by the laws of proportionality and unacceptable to millions around the world, to many member states of the General Assembly, and not surprisingly to millions of Americans who are informed. Not surprisingly, as this great country has a history of reaching out with enormous generosity of resources and spirit to other peoples in need. The very basic human needs that are no longer available to the children and adults of Iraq. Iraq does not want American charity. Iraq needs the opportunity to restore the standard of living enjoyed by its people as of 1990. The unfortunate reality is that not enough of your constituents are informed about the deadly impact of economic sanctions to demand your focus on policy change. Thus, distinguished members of Congress, as you are fully informed, the burden of positive change is primarily yours. We know that there has been some terrible decision making in Baghdad. We know of risings north and south in 1991, and of civil war before that, which have been suppressed with brutal efficiency. And Americans above all know the cost and pain of civil war. We know of the tragic loss of life on both sides in the Iran-Iraq conflict. We also know of Western and other support, including that of the United States via war material and intelligence to Baghdad in these various military actions. As to the deadly human cost of UN economic sanctions today, we may be tempted to allocate all responsibility to President Saddam Hussein. That is an easy way out, but we also know that that is simplistic and less than honest. The Security Council has known full well for more than nine years of the famine and other deadly consequences of this UN economic sanctions policy. Following the total UN embargo on importation of all food for six months as of August 1990, and after some unacceptably modest offers of relief via Iraqi oil sales, the UN and Iraq established the so called Oil-for-Food program in 1996. While the program has been well monitored by the UN, its design faults (under funded, lack of buffer stock and UN Sanctions Committee constraints inappropriate to a humanitarian crisis), and its qualitative failures reported by the Secretary-General, we have, nevertheless, continued it, albeit with superficial adjustments, as Mr von Sponeck has just outlined. It has done little more than sustain high child mortality levels and widespread malnutrition. We have done this in full knowledge of these unacceptable consequences, apparently as a means to punish the government and coerce the President of Iraq to step down. As many members of Congress and Administration officials know full well from U.S. bilateral experience, economic sanctions targeting a people, are not likely to bring down a head of state, or produce the fullest cooperation. Thus, given the mutual lack of Washington/Baghdad confidence, and despite very substantial progress made by UNSCOM in collaboration with the Government in regard to inspection and demolition of weapons of mass destruction , about which I believe Mr Scott Ritter will speak shortly, we have today the signs of an apparent impasse with regard to UN Resolution 1284. Meantime, the children of Iraq are dying in their thousands every month. The focus this afternoon should not be the past, but the immediate future. In short, how does the Congress get out of this moral, humanitarian and legal quagmire, so damaging to the leadership of the United States? And to get out in a manner that is acceptable to the Administration here in Washington without international and domestic loss of face. And yet viable for the leadership in Iraq that also has to consider the realities of domestic politics in a volatile environment of social collapse and great anger. Anger directed at the UN and the United States and Britain, not as some might wish here in Washington, at the leadership in Baghdad. As almost always with punitive embargoes, the leadership is strengthened and the status of the people diminished. However, anger and frustration with, and alienation from, the outside world dangerously thrives. And that is certainly the case of Iraq today. Setting aside the current difficulties surrounding last December's Resolution 1284, and the double standards of the Security Council with regard to countries of the middle east, and taking into account the continuing fears of neighboring governments and perhaps the concern of the United States for the well being of its regional allies (despite the comprehensive work of UNSCOM), I invite members of Congress to consider the following, which (although I speak with no authority whatsoever) might be broadly acceptable to Iraq : a) re-establish inspections and monitoring with regard to weapons of mass destruction within Iraq, as well as on its borders, including means for period review under existing non-proliferation agreements; b) impose "smart" sanctions on the Government in Baghdad in respect of weapons purchasing, and in respect of those profiteering from civilian suffering; c) re-open a U.S. dialogue with Baghdad, just as President Clinton has done with apparent success in respect of North Korea, thereby applying the principle that isolation leads to alienation whereas dialogue and communication can lead to influence and positive change. d) lift economic sanctions on Iraq essential for the economy, including capital investment in infrastructure, and by this means provide the "carrot", necessary for effectiveness in all cases of sanctions regimes, in response inter alia to: considerable, if imperfect, Iraqi collaboration with UNSCOM over many years; for acceptance of the new Kuwait-Iraq border; and for cooperation with the UN in regard to the Oil-for-Food program, as reported by the Secretary-General; e) release the oil production equipment on hold in the Sanctions Committee of the Security Council to enable Iraq to put more oil on the world market and enhance its much needed earnings capacity; f) facilitate American and other private sector capital investment in Iraq to begin the task of rebuilding the civilian infrastructure and refurbishing the environment so severely damaged during the Gulf War, to: produce and distribute electric power so essential for health care, clean water treatment and distribution, sanitation systems, irrigated agriculture, food processing and storage; rehabilitate transport and communications requirements; introduce modern technology for education and management of a modern economy, needed to end unemployment, salvage the value of the dinar and restore to families and individual citizens their economic and social (human)rights; g) postpone payment of reparations, thereby allowing Iraq full access to its oil revenues, excepting payment to those individuals who have yet to be compensated for lost homes, employment and/or residency in Kuwait, until such time as the mortality and malnutrition crisis in terms of Iraqi children has ended; h) encourage overseas visits of Iraqi professionals and study by Iraqi graduate students to begin to close the gap created by almost ten years of intellectual and technological isolation; i) invite Iraqi participation in the regional process for middle-east peace to enhance expectations of a middle-east community of nations in the years ahead; j) establish with Baghdad arrangements for the semi-autonomy of the Iraqi Kurds of the northern provinces until such time as they work out with the central government a modus vivandi that is mutually acceptable; k) respect the constraints of Security Council resolutions, including the termination of US/UK bombing of the so called "no-fly zones" plus regular incursions by the Turkish military into Kurdish Iraq, for which there are no legal provisions in any existing UN resolution. Many will see risks inherent in these proposals. However, it is difficult to make progress without risk. As for the fear of resurgence of any Iraqi military threat to its neighbors, it is expected that proposals a) and b) will succeed and that American military presence will remain in the Gulf, and in the countries of the region, for as long as necessary. In reality, Iraq today is surrounded by highly armed and more powerful neighbors. As for military potential, inspections and monitoring should address that concern, particularly when backed up as described. Were these proposals, or some modified version thereof, considered viable by all concerned, the resulting impact would certainly: be in the immediate best interests of the children and of the people of Iraq; enhance the world leadership of the United States; restore some of the lost credibility of the United Nations Security Council; and demonstrate some respect for the rule of (international) law as per the Charter. It would also immediately begin to address the loss of fundamental human rights as set out in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration under the impact of economic sanctions. And it would set in motion the lengthy task of restoring prosperity to the Iraqi people at the levels, or better, that they enjoyed back in 1990. Based on discussions with Iraqi exiles in the European Union, including the UK, and in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and in the United States, an end to economic sanctions would bring home many economic refugees of the middle and professional classes, so important for the economy, but also for social well being and possible change in governance towards a more participatory and democratic system, were that to be the choice of the Iraqi people. Nothing can be more dangerous and volatile for the middle east region than the present uncertainty, human deprivation combined with the economic and social despair within Iraq. To think of peace in the middle east without Iraqi participation is naive. In conclusion, distinguished Members of Congress, after almost ten years of uniquely comprehensive economic sanctions and blockade, surely it is time for the United States, the Congress and Administration, to attempt to find an alternative way to live with Iraq, without punishing its innocent populace, not involved in the bad decisions leading to the invasion of Kuwait, nor in government policy-making and actions before 1990, or since. Setting aside the American desire for moral and democratic leadership, and even if only to protect its positive place in history, the United States needs to make positive policy changes in respect of Iraq. The member states of the United Nations will surely follow. Denis J. Halliday, former United Nations Assistant Secretary General and Humanitarian Coordinator in Baghdad, Iraq 1997-98. ________________________________________________________ · Iraqi Suffering -- Rep. Hall adds Noteworthy Support for Keeping Sanctions, The Dallas Morning News - Editorial, 3 May '00 http://dallasnews.com/editorial/72955_iraqisuffering.html It would be fair, if somewhat pejorative, to describe Rep. Tony Hall as Congress' leading bleeding heart on hunger issues. The Ohio Democrat's passion is combating hunger. The former Peace Corps volunteer and two-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee sometimes even seems to elevate his cause above other important issues like national security. So after Mr. Hall visited Iraq last month to study the impact of United Nations economic sanctions for that country's failure to keep its promises to disarm, one might have expected him to urge that the sanctions be lifted. He did not. That surprised many people, perhaps even him. It was heartbreaking to see Iraqis' pain, but lifting the sanctions would be irresponsible, he said. Mr. Hall correctly ascertained that the sanctions are still necessary to prevent Saddam Hussein from obtaining or using weapons of mass destruction. The United Nations Security Council appropriately imposed the sanctions because of Mr. Hussein's intransigence. However, to spare innocent Iraqis, it allowed Iraq to sell limited amounts of oil to buy food and medicine, among other nonmilitary essentials. The food-for-oil program worked poorly in large measure because Mr. Hussein hoarded much of the food and medicine for his supporters and kept much of the rest in stockpile. There always seemed to be enough trucks on hand to transport Iraqi soldiers but not always enough to deliver humanitarian supplies. As a consequence, hunger and early mortality grew (except in the north, where private groups, not the regime, direct aid distribution). For its part, the United Nations has improved the food-for-oil program to allow unlimited oil sales, to speed the process by which it considers Iraqi purchase orders and to expand the list of nonmilitary goods that Iraq could purchase. Today, the situation is much improved. The United Nations approves 90 percent of Iraqi purchase contracts, a U.S. State Department official said. The United States puts "holds" on Iraqi purchases only when it suspects that the goods could have a military application, such as when Iraq ordered parts for kidney-therapy machines that could also be used to manufacture high-explosive shells and nuclear bombs. "The U.N. is telling us that the food is getting to the people," the official said. The United Nations should continue to search for ways to alleviate Iraqis' suffering, but it should maintain the sanctions so as to deny Mr. Hussein the opportunity to replenish his arsenal of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. ________________________________________________________ · Death Sentence Upheld on Kuwait Occupation Leader, Reuters, 3 May '00 http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000503/wl/kuwait_iraq_1.html By Roland Rahal KUWAIT - A Kuwaiti man who returned from self-exile believing he would be pardoned lost his appeal on Wednesday against a death sentence for heading the puppet government set up in Kuwait by Iraq after its 1990 invasion. The head of the Gulf Arab state's criminal court rejected the attempt by defendant Alaa Hussein to reverse the death sentence passed on him in absentia in 1993 for treason and cooperation with Iraq during the seven-month occupation. Defense lawyer Khaled al-Abdaljellil told Reuters Hussein would appeal, adding that Hussein could challenge the ruling twice before the sentence would go before Kuwait's leader, Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who must ratify the execution. ``We plan to lodge an appeal Saturday with the court of appeals,'' the lawyer said. Kuwait has executed 35 people, usually by public hanging, since introducing the death penalty in 1964. The lawyer and a Western diplomat said the case in the criminal court was in effect a retrial since the original ruling had been made by temporary security courts set up after the end of the Gulf War in 1991. These courts were later dismantled. Witnesses at the court said the 41-year-old Hussein looked at the ground after the judge read out the decision. He was led away by guards immediately after the verdict. His parents were visibly shocked as they looked on, the witnesses said. Abdaljellil said his client remained composed after the sentence, but his reaction was one ``of deep sadness and pain.'' ``I had been preparing him for such a possibility,'' the lawyer said. Hussein said he returned to Kuwait in January from self-imposed exile in Norway to stand trial only after he was promised amnesty by Kuwaiti Information Minister Saad bin Tiflah. Tiflah denied in court that he had promised him a pardon. Public Opinion Divided Analysts say public opinion in Kuwait has been divided over the fate of Hussein, although most welcomed the public hearing. ``I think at the grassroots level, in certain quarters, there is a desire to see him hanged,'' one Western diplomat said, adding that in some ``diwaniyas,'' private evening gatherings of Kuwaiti men, there is a ``string-him-up attitude.'' The diplomat said the Kuwaiti government had sought to ensure a transparent trial in the criminal courts so justice would be seen to be done. This gave Hussein the right like ``any other criminal'' to appeal his sentence, he said. Hussein, a former Kuwaiti army officer, said he was forced to head the puppet government set up by Saddam Hussein after his troops stormed into Kuwait. His government lasted about a week after the invasion. Saddam later annexed Kuwait and declared it an Iraqi governorate. Several witnesses called by the defense declined to give evidence when one of the three Kuwaiti judges hearing the case traveled to London last month to allow them to testify outside the Middle East. Iraq's former intelligence chief Wafiq al-Samerai and the former head of the Iraqi News Agency, Saad al Bazaaz, declined to give evidence while the former secretary of Saddam's eldest son, Uday, and an Iraqi journalist failed to show up. Abdeljellil said he was still puzzled by the failure of Iraqi dissidents living in exile to testify. ``What made those symbols of the opposition shy from exposing the Iraqi regime?'' he said. ________________________________________________________ · An American Ally Becomes Iraq's Chief Trading Partner. Stratfor, 3 May '00 http://www.stratfor.com/SERVICES/giu2000/050300.ASP Summary Egypt, a key U.S. ally in the Middle East, has signed contracts worth $400 million to become Iraq's leading trade partner. While such moves could worry Washington, no public objection has materialized. In fact, the United States has recently approved a deal to upgrade Egypt's air defenses. The United States appears to be using Egypt to open yet another back channel to Iraq in order to gain economic leverage over Baghdad and pressure the regime. Analysis Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammed Mehdi Saleh announced April 30 that his country signed contracts with Egypt to purchase products worth close to $400 million, making Egypt its biggest trade partner, according to BBC. The signing of the contracts, mainly for construction materials, was announced at the opening of an exhibition of Egyptian products in Baghdad. Ties between Cairo and Baghdad have improved significantly since mid-March when Iraq's foreign minister expressed a desire to restore full diplomatic ties with Egypt. On April 14 a London-based newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat reported that Egyptian Prime Minister Atef Obeid sent a letter to Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan seeking to improve relations with Baghdad. On April 29 an Egyptian state minister arrived in Baghdad to promote trade ties, according to The Iraqi News Agency. Subsequently, Saleh announced the Egyptian contracts. On the surface, it would be expected that Iraq's improved ties with Egypt - the second largest recipient of U.S. aid and military equipment - would disturb the United States. However, relations between Egypt and the United States still appear strong. Continued approval of arms sales to Cairo indicates tacit support from Washington, if not sponsorship, of the strengthening relations between Egypt and Iraq. Throughout the period in which Cairo improved ties with Baghdad, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had two meetings with top U.S. government officials. In late March, Mubarak met with President Bill Clinton, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense and prominent U.S. congressmen in Washington. It would be difficult to believe that the subject of Iraq never came up during this meeting. Several days later, on April 4, U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen met with Mubarak in Cairo and announced the United States had approved the sale of a short-range surface-launched version of the AMRAAM missiles to Egypt. Iraq made an offer of improving ties in mid-March. Then two high-level meetings between the United States and Egypt took place, and finally Egypt responded positively to Iraq's offer. Meanwhile, Egypt was careful to publicly appear as though it had not moved too close to Iraq. On April 28 the government banned an Egyptian magazine, Al-Tadamon, which had run a lead story favorable to the Iraqi regime. It appears that Washington and Cairo have worked out a deal, allowing a close U.S. ally in the region to obtain a significant economic lever in Iraq. After all, Egypt has little to gain economically or strategically from Iraq. The lack of opposition from neighboring U.S. allies in the region further indicates that Washington and Cairo worked out a deal. Neither Israel nor Saudi Arabia has voiced opposition or even concern. If Washington and Cairo have reached an agreement over Iraq, it would not be unprecedented. The United States appears to be pursuing similar goals with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Washington is working to sell the UAE 80 advanced F-16C/D Block 60 fighter aircraft, despite the fact that Abu Dhabi has reopened its embassy in Baghdad. This is not to say that the United States is rewarding these countries for befriending Iraq - rather Washington is simply not punishing them. The United States is attempting to use its allies as diplomatic proxies to improve its ability to strong-arm Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime. Allies inside Baghdad will cooperate with Washington if properly motivated through certain concessions. U.S. policy toward Iraq is in the opening stages of a subtle shift. Rather than pressuring Iraq militarily from the outside - a tactic that has repeatedly failed and locked Washington into an unsuccessful military campaign - the United States will start trying to manipulate Baghdad economically and politically from within. ________________________________________________________ · Some In Congress Approve Of Lifting The Economic Sanctions Against Iraq To Help The Iraqi People While Keeping Military, National Public Radio, 4 May '00 RENEE MONTAGNE, host: In Congress, support for economic sanctions against Iraq is slowly eroding as evidence mounts that the sanctions have caused extreme suffering among the Iraqi people while President Saddam Hussein continues to thrive. Seventy members of Congress have signed a letter calling on the United Nations Security Council and the council's most-powerful member, the United States, to lift economic sanctions against Iraq while keeping military sanctions in place. Last year a similar letter garnered just over 40 signatures. Members opposed to the economic sanctions invited three experts to Capitol Hill yesterday. All of them have recently quit senior UN posts to protest current policy toward Iraq. NPR's Ted Clark reports. TED CLARK reporting: Hans von Sponeck resigned as the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in Iraq in February. He did so because of the ineffectiveness of the oil-for-food program, which allows Iraq to sell oil and use the resulting revenue to buy relief supplies. He said the revenue is far too little, about $ 252 per person per year. That has never provided the food intake, 2,200 calories per day, that the UN promised. Von Sponeck said, 'It has not bought enough medicine and has not rebuilt all the water-treatment facilities destroyed in the Gulf War 10 years ago,' which is when sanctions were first imposed. Mr. HANS VON SPONECK: Diseases have reappeared, like, for example, diarrhea, and have become a major killer of children under five. Cholera, typhoid are rampant. CLARK: The sanctions have stifled intellectual life in Iraq, von Sponeck argued, and have driven out much of the educated middle class. Mr. VON SPONECK: Instead, today sanctions have beautifully managed to bring fixers, operators, black marketeerers who are praying, if they have a god, to that god to let sanctions continue as long as possible because they profit from that kind of condition. CLARK: Dennis Haliday was von Sponeck's predecessor as the UN's humanitarian coordinator in Iraq. He resigned in 1998 because economic sanctions had caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, a conclusion supported by several UN surveys. At yesterday's briefing he called economic sanctions 'a blunt and deadly instrument.' Mr. DENNIS HALIDAY: Surely it is time for the United States, the Congress and administration to attempt to find an alternative way to live with Iraq without punishing its innocent populace. CLARK: Haliday proposed an alternative to current policy, an alternative that might, he said, 'be acceptable to both Iraq and the United States,' the strongest advocate of sanctions in UN Security Council debates. Under Haliday's plan, economic sanctions would end and Iraq would agree to renewed weapons inspections, which have not occurred since a US-led bombing campaign against Iraq in 1998. The UN would impose so-called smart sanctions affecting just the Iraqi government and profiteers. The United States would reopen a dialogue with Iraq, encourage overseas travel by Iraqi professionals and allow foreign investment in Iraq, among other provisions. The third expert at yesterday's congressional briefing was Scott Ritter, who resigned as a senior weapons inspector in Iraq in 1998. Mr. SCOTT RITTER: I sit before you as an unlikely ally in this cause. I'm very conservative, Marine Corps trained, a Republican. CLARK: Ritter took on one of Washington's principal arguments for maintaining economic sanctions against Iraq: Saddam Hussein's effort to develop weapons of mass destruction. Mr. RITTER: The reality is that, from a qualitative standpoint, when you judge Iraq's current weapons of mass destruction capabilities today, they have none. CLARK: 'Iraq's long-range missiles have been destroyed,' Ritter said. 'Missile production facilities were dismantled or placed under strict monitoring prior to December 1998. The same is true for chemical weapons, biological weapons and nuclear weapons facilities,' he said. Ritter argued that Iraq could not reconstitute its program to develop weapons of mass destruction under a plan that allowed UN inspectors to resume their work in exchange for lifting the UN's economic sanctions. Ted Clark, NPR News, Washington. ________________________________________________________ · Iran Releases 480 Iraqi Prisoners, AP, 4 May '00 AL-MUNDHARIYA, Iraq -- With hugs and jubilation, dozens of relatives welcomed home 480 Iraqi prisoners of war released Thursday by Iran despite its strained relations with Iraq. Soldiers on both sides of the border smiled and cheered as the weary prisoners in gray suits, who were captured during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, were ushered into Iraqi territory. Mohammed Zaki walked with the aid of a stick and had an amputated arm. "What you see is a human tragedy," he said. Faiq Mahmoud, who had spent 20 years as a prisoner, knelt down and kissed the ground while Fawziya Araibi threw herself at her brother, Fawzi Araibi. Tariq and Saleh Askar held their brother Mudhafar Askar high as relatives showered them with chocolate and other sweets. "For us he has been resurrected. For 20 years, we thought he was dead," said Saleh. Thursday's release -- the second in less than a month -- came amid mounting tensions between Iran and Iraq over recent explosions that have rocked their capitals. . . . . . Iran has expressed hope the prisoner releases would improve relations. But a senior Iraqi official at this border crossing, 160 kilometers (100 miles) northeast of Baghdad, said Iran was only fulfilling a duty under international obligations and that the prisoners should have been released a long time ago. "Their freedom has taken a long time," said Fahmi al-Qaysi of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry. Iraq and Iran have repatriated nearly 100,000 prisoners of war since the end of the war. Both sides accuse the other of giving false reports on how many prisoners are still being held. Florent Cornaz of the International Committee of the Red Cross, which arranged Thursday's repatriation, declined to discuss detailed figures. But he said 4,900 Iraqi prisoners have decided to stay in Iran. Al-Qaysi said his government believes more than 13,000 Iraqis are still being held by Iran. He has said Iraq holds no Iranian POWs on its soil. Iran insists that Iraq still holds 2,806 of its prisoners. ________________________________________________________ U.N. Iraq Inspection Head Ready for August Start, Reuters, 6 May '00 http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000506_927.html STOCKHOLM - Hans Blix, the new chief United Nations arms inspector for Iraq, said on Saturday he would be ready to start work there in August if Iraq allowed his inspectors in. Blix, a Swede, said in a radio interview he would have enough trained staff by August for his agency, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC). "My working assumption has got to be that the Iraqis will accept us. In August we will have trained about 40 staff and could be ready to start. But so far Iraq has not cooperated," he added. . . . . . Blix was asked in the Swedish state radio interview about the prospects of sanctions against Iraq being lifted. "It takes two to tango, and it takes two to keep sanctions in place," he said. "If I can report that the Iraqis have cooperated for 120 days and we have made progress on the outstanding questions, the Security Council could suspend sanctions at the end of this year or early next year," added Blix, 71. Blix, former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency which monitored Iraq's nuclear weapons programme, indicated he would take a different approach from that of UNSCOM, the previous inspectorate headed by fellow Swede Rolf Ekeus. "We will have a professional, correct style. UNSCOM was set up differently, it had staff paid by member governments, and there was less of a U.N. stamp on the operation," he said. Blix denied a suggestion that he had a reputation for being soft. "I reject that. We will see in future how we get on with the inspection," he said. Blix said he wanted his team to combine a fresh approach with the experience of Iraqi procedure and weapons development which UNSCOM had built up. "I don't suppose (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein likes any of the U.N. weapons inspectors," he said. "But we will not accept any interference in the choice of the inspectors." ________________________________________________________ Only links provided for the following reports: · Iraq Seeks Compensation for 1998 U.S.-U.K. Attacks, Reuters, 1 May '00 http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000501/wl/nuclear_iraq_1.html · Iraqi Kurds Enjoy a De Facto State, Christian Science Monitor, 3 May '00 http://www.csmonitor.com/durable/2000/05/03/fp6s1-csm.shtml · Serbia and Iraq 'In Dangerous New Alliance', The Times, 5 May '00 http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/tim/2000/05/05/timpolpol01007.html · Some Iraqi Opposition Groups to be Allowed Back, Reuters, 6 May '00 http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000506_381.html · Mossad Snatches Sacred Jewish Texts from Saddam, The Times, 7 May '00 http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/2000/05/07/stifgnmid02004.html · At Rehearing, Iraqi Doctor Wins Round In Deportation, The New York Times, 7 May '00 http://www.nytimes.com/yr/mo/day/news/national/iraqi-spy.html · Fifa Inquiry Into Iraqi Team Torture, The Times, 7 May '00 http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/2000/05/07/stifgnmid01002.html -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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