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]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

The Economist: "The zapping of Iraq"

Some errors in the attached (they equate Benon Sevan's role with Denis
Halliday's and Hans von Sponeck's), but overall ... another good job from an
indispensable magazine.  Note that The Economist is a member of the
expanding club of mainstream publications who have printed UNICEF's
bone-chilling estimate of 500,000 excess deaths of children. 


The Economist (August 19-25, 2000)
"The zapping of Iraq"
HISTORIANS studying turn-of-the-century events may be baffled by the Iraqi
element. Why, they might ask, did American and British aircraft bomb a
warehouse, and perhaps a railway station too, in southern Iraq in mid-August

Simple, the texts will say. To protect the southern Iraqis from the dictator
in Baghdad, American and British aircraft are patrolling the skies,
preventing the Iraqis from attacking their dissidents. Every now and then,
when radar is turned in their direction, they drop bombs on Iraqi
anti-aircraft sites. Precision bombing, regrettably, is not always as
precise as it should be. But did the patrols at least render southern Iraqis
safer from persecution? There is little evidence they did. 

Saddam Hussein will go down in the history books as one of the nastier
dictators. The question is whether his sins justify American and British
petulance at their failure to get rid of him. The air patrols and the
bombing, more effective in protecting the autonomous Kurdish zone in the
north than in the unliberated south, are in any event a pin-prick in Iraq's
flesh compared with the continuing ten-year United Nations sanctions on
Iraq, preventing it from selling its oil freely. 

The original reason for the sanctions was right and proper. Iraq, defeated
in war after invading and occupying its neighbour, Kuwait, was to be made to
destroy all its most unpleasant weapons, and to be monitored in a way that
made future production improbable. The sanctions would then be lifted. After
strenuous efforts, the elimination of weapons was nearly complete. Not
quite: Iraq, defiant to the last, kept some biological bits and pieces
tucked away. Following a series of rows, and some fierce American bombing,
the inspection regime collapsed. 

Nowadays nobody can control or monitor whatever horrible weapons Iraq may be
developing. But the sanctions regime continues, even though its original
purpose has gone up in smoke. To make the sanctions more "humane", Iraq is
allowed to sell some oil in return for monitored food and medicine. But the
latest head of the UN oil-for-food mission (his two predecessors resigned in
disgust) emphasised this week that the UN's precautionary hold on an
"excessive" number of purchasing contracts was seriously hindering the
humanitarian programme. And UNICEF has just reminded the world that, in the
1990s, the sanctions regime is estimated to have cost the lives of half a
million Iraqi children under five.
This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
For removal from list, email
Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]