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Albright's "personal view" in today's Financial Times

The following appeared in the print edition of today's Financial Times.
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Colin Rowat

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The enemy of his people
Sadam Hussein's defiance of the UN Security Council has merely prolonged
Iraq's misery, argues Madeleine Albright

Published: August 1 2000 20:38GMT | Last Updated: August 1 2000 21:54GMT

Ten years ago today, Saddam Hussein violated international law and
betrayed pledges made to Arab leaders by launching a brutal invasion of
Kuwait. The world bore witness as Iraqi tanks, troops and gunships carried
out unprovoked aggression against a neighbouring Arab nation. 

During the invasion and subsequent occupation, the Iraqi regime
perpetrated systematic atrocities against the Kuwaiti people.  Torture,
mutilation, rape and murder were used as deliberate weapons of
intimidation and terror. 

The world responded to Saddam Hussein's invasion with nearly unprecedented
unity and resolve. The United Nations Security Council voted to impose an
embargo on trade with Iraq. 

For almost six months, the world explored diplomatic means for resolving
the crisis. But Saddam Hussein refused to depart from his menu of bluster
and lies - or from the lands his troops had unlawfully occupied. Given no
choice, the international coalition that had been assembled struck and
liberated Kuwait. 

The end of the war could have been the beginning of Iraq's recovery and
reintegration into the family of nations. All Saddam had to do was meet
the requirements of the Security Council. These were designed not to
punish Iraq, but to prevent renewed aggression and to locate the more than
600 Kuwaitis missing after being abducted by Iraqi forces during the war.

If Baghdad had simply met these obligations the UN's economic sanctions
would have been lifted long ago. Instead, Saddam lied repeatedly to UN
weapons inspectors and sought to conceal and preserve his capacity to
build weapons of mass destruction. As a result, the UN-required process of
disclosure, inspection and monitoring that should have taken months to
establish took years and is still not complete. 

He has always had the option to comply with the UN requirements, cease to
be a military threat to his neighbours, end his people's isolation and
enable Iraq to once again become a normal, law-abiding country. But he has
stubbornly refused to follow this path. Instead, he has chosen to defy the
UN, rebuild his military to the extent he can and exploit the suffering of
Iraqi civilians in order to gain sympathy for lifting sanctions. 

This is why Saddam so long opposed efforts, led by the US, to establish an
"oil for food" programme to ease the impact of sanctions upon the Iraqi
people. It is why he chose to squander Iraq's limited resources on
building more than 70 new palaces for himself and his cronies, rather than
on the health and education of Iraqi children. And it is why he has
relentlessly sought to portray his regime as a victim, instead of
admitting that Iraq's suffering is the result of his own aggression, lies
and ruthless ambition. 

Saddam still thinks his strategy will succeed. He is determined to
continue crushing all signs of opposition within Iraq. He is counting on
the world community to forget his past use of chemical weapons, his
preparations for launching warheads containing biological arms and his
efforts to build nuclear bombs. 

He is encouraged by his success in seducing some governments and
non-governmental organisations to embrace his disingenuous arguments. He
hopes his people's suffering will worsen so that the pressure for lifting
sanctions will heighten and the revenues he needs to rebuild his weapons
of mass destruction will once again begin to flow. 

The problem for Saddam is that the facts are not on his side. The UN
sanctions have never prohibited or limited the amount of food or medicine
Iraq could import. And the oil for food programme has now been expanded to
the point where the Iraqi government says it plans to export more oil by
the end of the year than it did prior to the Gulf war. 

As a result, the availability of food to Iraqi civilians has risen
significantly; in northern Iraq, which is subject to sanctions but not to
Saddam's misguided administrative control, child mortality rates are lower
now than they were a decade ago. 

In addition, the Clinton administration is devoting additional personnel
to the job of processing sanctions-related export requests at the UN, so
that legitimate goods may be shipped without undue bureaucratic delay. 

Much has changed since August 2 1990, but there is one constant: the
brutal duplicity of Saddam Hussein. His victims include his Arab
neighbours, Iraqi Kurds and Shiites, political dissidents, and his own
citizens. He wants the world to forget what happened 10 years ago, and to
ignore his prevarications in the decade since, but we must not. 

We must honour the memory of those who died as a result of Saddam's
aggression by vowing not to permit it to happen again. We must maintain
our resolve to lift the siege Saddam has imposed upon the Iraqi people.
And we must strive for the day that will surely come when we can welcome
Iraq's return as a full participant and partner in the international

The writer is US secretary of state.

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