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Scott Ritter, the former UN chief weapons inspector until his resignation in 1998, has written the following article in today's Financial Times. Letters to the editor can be written to firstname.lastname@example.org The article may be found at: http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT3K88UV18C&live=true&useoverridetemplate=IXLZHNNP94C I am confused that the online version indicates that it is a 9 May article. It is clearly published in today's print FT. I will write the FT webmaster for an explanation. Perhaps the "published" indicates "web-published". Colin Rowat ****************************************************** Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq http://welcome.to/casi fax 0870 063 5022 ****************************************************** 393 King's College www.cus.cam.ac.uk/~cir20 Cambridge CB2 1ST tel: +44 (0)468 056 984 England fax: +44 (0)870 063 4984 Mr Berger's blinkered vision for Iraq The US national security adviser's insistence on maintaining sanctions is simplistic and misguided, says Scott Ritter Published: May 9 2000 19:37GMT | Last Updated: May 9 2000 19:52GMT Samuel Berger, the US national security adviser, argues that the continuing economic sanctions against Iraq will contain Saddam Hussein, Iraq's dictatorial president, and hasten his departure from office. (FT, May 4) Not only has such a policy failed egregiously over the past decade, but because of the widespread suffering that sanctions have inflicted on 20m innocent Iraqi civilians, Mr Saddam is more secure today than at any time since the Gulf war. Furthermore, Mr Berger ignores the facts about the true situation in Iraq as described by such men as Dennis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, both former United Nations humanitarian co-ordinators for Iraq. They resigned out of frustration over repeated US interference and the resulting ineffectiveness of the UN-led humanitarian aid programme. Sadly, Mr Berger is not alone in his views. Last week about 100 members of Congress sent a letter to Bill Clinton, the US president, urging him to keep the current sanctions regime in place. The move was initiated by Mr Berger, together with the American-Israeli Political Action Committee, one of the most influential lobbies on Capitol Hill. What Mr Berger and Aipac fail to consider are the long-term consequences of the Clinton administration's policies. Iraq today does not represent a threat to any of its neighbours, including Israel. Its conventional military, crushed by Operation Desert Storm, is unable to project its power in any meaningful manner outside Iraq. Even if sanctions were lifted today, it would take Iraq years to rebuild its conventional military. The isolation and hostility engendered by Mr Clinton's Iraq policy only makes matters worse, ensuring that when Iraq does eventually rearm, it will do so in a manner that further destabilises an already volatile region. And, unless something is done to reinstate a viable UN weapons inspection programme, such rearmament will inevitably include weapons of mass destruction. Sanctions exist today for one reason only: as a means of compelling Iraq to comply with Security Council resolutions mandating the elimination of Iraq's programmes for building weapons of mass destruction. The Security Council determined that Iraq presented a risk to international peace and security so long as it possessed such weapons. Hence, UN weapons inspection teams were dispatched to oversee the destruction, removal or rendering harmless of Iraq's prohibited arsenal - including the means of production. The Security Council mandate called for total disarmament, something the inspectors were never able to accomplish, largely because of Iraqi noncompliance. However, the inspectors were able to achieve the qualitative disarmament of Iraq. Iraq no longer possesses vast quantities of chemical and biological agents, nor the bombs, shells and long-range missiles used to deliver them. It also lacks the means to produce such weapons. Above all, Iraq's nuclear weapons programme has been eliminated. Iraq's industrial infrastructure, which could be adapted to bring back these banished programmes, was subjected to one of the most stringent monitoring and verification programmes in the history of arms control. Iraq can thus no longer threaten Israel, nor any of its neighbours. Unfortunately, this reality does not square with the US policy of removing Mr Saddam from power and the related policy of containment through continued economic sanctions. The key to solving the problem with Iraq is not, as Mr Berger suggests, removing Mr Saddam from power. This formula is simplistic in the extreme, and does nothing to address the myriad issues - domestic and regional - that influence the question of the Iraqi leadership. Mr Saddam is a product of modern Iraq, and if he is removed from power, someone just like him will assume the mantle of leadership. The Israeli government knows this, as do all the nations in the region. Even Britain, the long-time staunch ally of America, tires of this game. It is the US alone which pursues a Saddam-centric policy. The problem with Iraq can only be solved in the framework of a larger vision, one that addresses not only the considerable internal difficulties of Iraq today, but also the role Iraq will play in the region at large, politically and economically. Such a vision must be built on a foundation of stability. The best way to achieve such a foundation is to lift economic sanctions in exchange for the resumption of meaningful weapons inspections inside Iraq. This can only be achieved through diplomatic engagement, something Mr Berger and the Clinton administration are loath to consider. It will be up to the next president to formulate policies regarding Iraq that are based on hard facts and sound analysis. Only in this way will America once again be able to assume the mantle of moral authority that comes with being the world's leader. The writer was formerly chief United Nations weapons inspector in 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