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]

South Movement, Australia: Global condemnation of US, Britain afterBaghdad raid (fwd)

           Global condemnation of US, Britain after Baghdad raid

South News: February 17, 2001

The United States and Britain were condemned Saturday from almost every
corner of the globe following an air raid over Baghdad, with officials and
media accusing Washington and London of overreaching their power and
showing disregard for civilians. 

The strike distanced the United States from nearly all of its Middle East
allies, with only Israeli and Kuwaiti officials commenting indirectly on
the the operation. But thousands of Palestinians marched in Tulkarm and
Hebron in the occupied West Bank to oppose the attack on Iraq, even as at
least two more Palestinians were shot dead for protesting continuing
Israeli occupation. 

Some of the toughest criticism came from Russia, whose Middle East envoy
Alexander Saltanov said on a visit to Syria that "the strikes will not
produce any positive results." 

In Moscow, defense ministry official General Leonid Ivashov said the
attack "leaves Russia in no doubt" that Washington is seeking to
"monopolize the role of being a world policeman." 

"What the American military is in the process of doing, at the beginning
of the new US administration, is a threat to international security and
the entire international community," Ivashov told the Interfax news

Belarus, a close ally of Moscow said in a statement from its foreign
ministry that "Such actions should be regarded as an open violation of
international law which undermines the U. N. system of maintaining
international peace and security. Such actions can only aggravate the
situation on the regional and global scales." 

China, whose embassy in Belgrade was bombed and destroyed in a U.S. attack
in 1999 also strongly criticised the Anglo-American action. Foreign
ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said "We condemn the air attacks launched
by the United States and Britain against Iraq, and express deep regret
over the deaths and injuries of innocent civilians resulting from the

France, the other permanent member of the UN Security Council, also
criticized the air raids, with a foreign ministry spokesman saying Paris
has several times expressed "incomprehension and disappointment" at the
strikes. France stopped participating in US and British air patrols in
southern Iraq in December 1998, citing humanitarian concerns. 

Middle East condemnation of the raid was led by Iran, where official Radio
Tehran denounced "signs of the adventurism of the new administration of
George W. Bush, ... (who) is seeking to demonstrate his strength against
Saddam Hussein." 

In Cairo, Arab League secretary general Esmat Abdel Meguid said the
attacks had "no justification" and provoked "angry sentiments and
discontent in the Arab world." 

The Egyptian parliament declared its "condemnation of any aggression
against the Iraqi people." 

Anger over the raids fed passions in the Palestinian territories, where
thousands of demonstrators held up Saddam portraits and set ablaze the US,
British and Israeli flags and pictures of Bush. Some protesters clashed
with Israeli troops, although no one was injured. 

Many Palestinians considered Saddam a hero during the 1991 Gulf War, when
Baghdad fired Scud missiles at Tel Aviv, Israel's largest city. 

Warplanes raiding Baghdad flew out of Kuwait, whose Foreign Minister
Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah stressed that "the victims of the
oppression of the Iraqi regime are the Iraqi and the Kuwaiti peoples." 

But Kuwait, which Iraq occupied from August 1990 until a US-led coalition
drove it out in the Gulf war, tried to keep a low profile, saying it "has
never and will never interfere in Iraq's internal or external affairs." 

There was no immediate reaction from Saudi Arabia, where US and British
planes are also stationed. But Turkey, the base for the planes enforcing
no-fly zones over northern Iraq, expressed regret "that civilians were

"Ten years after the Gulf War, there is still no peace and stability in

... Therefore, the new US administration should review with Turkey the
Iraq question at first opportunity," Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said. 

In Jordan the main dailies which usually reflect government thinking
strongly condemned the attacks as "cowardly" and featured prominent photos
of civilian victims. Jordan, a key US ally which also has close ties to
Iraq, more than 200 people demonstrated their support outside the Iraqi
embassy, while Foreign Minister Abdel Ilah al-Khatib said Amman "never
condones the use of military force against Iraq." 

"Anything related to Iraq's military capability should be handled within
the context of the Security Council resolutions," Khatib said. 

He was speaking alongside visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister Thorbjoern
Jagland, who called the raids "unfortunate" but called on Saddam to "now
comply with all UN resolutions so that one could suspend the sanctions
against Iraq." 

Opposition to the Baghdad raid also united India and Pakistan, which both
insisted the operation was in violation of international resolutions and
caused civilians unjustifiable suffering. 

Cuba called the raid part of a "long series of criminal and hostile
actions which various US administrations have carried out against Iraqi

One rare voice in support of the raids was Canada, where a foreign
ministry spokesman said Ottawa backs "all means necessary to ensure that
the military forces under the regime of Saddam Hussein do not resume their
assaults on the Kurds in the north of Iraq and the Shiite population." 

But in Britain George Galloway, a deputy of the ruling Labour party and a
vociferous critic of the government's policy on Iraq, was Saturday flying
out to Baghdad to assess the damage done by the attacks. 

He condemned the bombing raids and said they were neither legally nor
morally legitimate. He added: "At a time when around 7,000 Iraqi children
a month are dying because of sanctions, this is a cruel and criminal
attack on the ordinary people of the country." 

Deputy Tony Benn, a respected veteran of the Labour party's left-wing,
denounced the bombings as illegal and called for their immediate halt. 

And as The Guardian noted: "Some MPs in all parties, even thoughtful
Tories, will agree with him that Blair's Britain is over-eager to prove
itself as macho and as loyal to Washington as Margaret Thatcher." 

The paper concluded the operations would "again remind Britain's EU
partners that if forced to choose between Europe and the open sea, the UK
will instinctively choose the open sea... and America beyond it." 

Australian Arabic Council chairman Roland Jabour said in Melbourne that
air strikes will not get international support. "It is quite evident now
that they have failed to achieve their objective, their aim and all they
are doing is causing further suffering by the innocent Iraqi citizens," he

In New Zealand, Disarmament Minister Matt Robson said the strikes were an
arrogant use of power, which the UN should address. 

He said the bombing was a setback for world peace initiatives and moves to
lift UN-imposed sanctions against Iraq. 

He would raise the issue at Monday's cabinet meeting "so New Zealand
diplomats are given a clear set of instructions". 

Robson said the US was motivated to create a climate in which it is easier
to push through its controversial Star Wars missile defence project and
undermine growing world opinion that the sanctions against Iraq should be


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]