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Martin Woollacott's article on Iraq (23 Feb)

Dear all

Have just sent this response to the Guardian about
Martin Woolacott's article.

All the best


Dear Sir

I should like to address directly several
innaccuracies and "sins of omission" made in Martin
Woolacott's article.

1.  If as was claimed, the initiative for air strikes
on Baghdad does not lie with Washington, where does it
lie: it cannot lie with the UN after the widespread
international condemnation of the latest round of
attacks, and even the staunchest Briish patriot cannot
believe it lies with London!

2.  The claim that sanctions have been run down but
Iraqis still suffer is made without an offer of
evidence.  It also does not follow that noraml Iraqi's
living standards would instantly return to normal, and
that they haven't is entirely Saddam's fault: the
author dangerously underestimates the effect of
sanctions that block not only short-term assets such
as food and medical supplies, but items desperately
needed by Iraq to rebuild the infrastructure destroyed
in the Gulf War; so called "dual use" items that have
been blocked include medical text books, and vital
parts for electricity, telecommunications and water
and sanitation systems.

3. The claim that no-fly zones exist to protect Kurds
and Kuwaitis is highly debatable.  Take, for example,
US Abmassador to Iraq April Glaspie's virtual green
light to Saddam Hussein, one week before the invasion
of Kuwait: "We have no opinion on Arab-Arab conflicts,
like your border disagreement with Kuwait."  Also, as
Sarah Graham-Brown has noted, the US has failed to
chllenge Turkey's incursions into northern Iraq in its
war with the Kurds, which often lead to civilian
deaths.  Are we really to believe US intentions in
maintaining no-fly zones are benign?

4. If we believe Saddam Hussein to not care for his
population, is it right to place the responsibility
for aid reaching Iraqi civilians solely in his hands,
which is what sanctions have effectively achieved?

Yours faithfully

Mark Sinjakli
Almeria, Spain

The views above are my own and do not necessarily
concur with other members of the Campaign Against
Sanctions on Iraq (CASI).

Mark Al-Sinjakli


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