The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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10/5/01. Dear Martin Williams, Thank you for your (undated) letter addressed to Michael and Merilyn Payne, Quaker Yearly Meeting Clerks, in reply to a Quaker statement regarding the Feb.16 bombing of Iraq. Your letter,was passed on to Quaker Peace and Service for reply. We noted a number of inaccuracies. First, the "no-fly zones". Although there are differing opinions as to their legality, Kofi Annan and other UN officials (as well as a number of governments) agree that there is no UN Authority sanctioning them and that they are illegal. Illegal also in that they are, contrary to the UN Charter, unilateral attacks against a sovereign state. Under these circumstances, there is no way in which UK and US aircraft can be any other than aggressors, and as such, the Iraqi air defences are perfectly entitled to act in their own self-defence. Neither, when missions are aborted to allow Turkish aircraft space to attack those same people, can it be convincingly argued that they are for the protection of the Kurdish people of northern Iraq . They do not deter the type of destruction visited upon the Kurdish uprising in the fall of 1995, which the Iraqi Republican Guard conducted in under a week without the assistance of aircraft. By halting or decreasing their flights the Allies will not be lessening their pressure on the Iraqi regime or its military, because they were never a threat to it in the first place. With regard to your comments on SCR 1284 and UNMOVIC, we suggest you study the excellent report made by the Cambridge University group CASI, "Analysis of Security Council Resolution 1284 (17 December, 1999)." In our opinion, SCR 1284 is understandably unacceptable to Iraq, so much so, that the suspicion arises that it was designed to be so. But please study the above report. With regard to your comments on the differences between the situations in the north and south of Iraq:- A fair comparison would mention that i) the Kurdish population received 19.4% of the oil revenue, i.e. a disproportionately higher amount than the population in central/southern Iraq; ii) sanctions are regularly broken in northern Iraq; iii) there is extensive cross-border trade with Turkey and therefore good income earning opportunities; iv) the UN security council does not block many contracts benefiting the Kurdish areas; v) the climatic conditions in the hilly areas of the north are more favourable. vi) the incidences of leukaemia and other DU-related cancers, and the dire shortages of medication for them, are having devastating effects in the south where DU munitions were used by the Coalition forces; vii) there are vast differences in availability of cash between the North and South. The same Secretary General's report that you quote in your letter also tells us that:- - Five applications worth $14.2 million, for the procurement of railway telecommunications and signalling equipment, are still on hold. Without the release of the holds placed on the applications for locomotives and signalling equipmnt, the system cannot operate safely and effectively: - the warehouses and health facilities lacked computers of the appropriate capacity for the effective management of the increasing number of programme inputs: - there are continuing shortages of some injectable antibiotics, anti-epileptics and drugs used in the treatment of diabetes and heart diseases. Injectable antibiotics included in tracked samples had been out of stock for over three months, while cough preparations, simple analgesics and antipyretics had been out of stock for more than six months. The number of health items that were short -supplied (partially delivered by the suppliers) and those that did not comply with the specifications of the contract increased during the period under review: - that vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, pneumonia, tetanus and hepatitis are also in short supply; anti- tuberculosis (BCG) vaccines are not available countrywide at all levels of health facilities. These shortages are exposing the Iraqi population to normally preventable infections. The lack of vaccines would mean that the 4.7 million children under the age of five countrywide are at risk. The shortages are due in part to delays in placing orders for replenishment of health items, irregular deliveries of orders, holds placed on applications and failure of some of the ordered items to pass quality-control tests. These obstacles are affecting adversely health-care delivery in the country. Equipment needed for the rehabilitation of the plants has been contracted but has not yet arrived. At present, two applications, one for tetanus and diphtheria anti-toxins and another for hepatitis -B vaccine, are on hold. As one goes through that report, the sad story unfolds of medical shortages, shortages of distribution facilities, severe power shortages, water pumping and treatment failure, etc.. All of it due to the initial Coalition attacks coupled with the effects of sanctions and essential items still on hold. We do realise that Britain is not responsible for the majority of holds. The figures in 1998 were US vetoes 80% and the UK 20%, though we know that the US is now the main offender. But when you quoted from the same report you mentioned none of these things. The Sanctions Committee in New York has blocked or delayed a range of cancer diagnostic equipment and drugs, even painkillers. Professor Karol Sikora, as chief of the cancer programme of the World Health Organisation, wrote in the British Medical Journal: "Requested radiotherapy equipment, chemotherapy drugs and analgesics are consistently blocked by United States and British advisers to the Sanctions Committee. There seems to be a rather ludicrous notion that such agents could be converted into chemical or other weapons." Professor Sikora has reported, "The saddest thing I saw in Iraq was children dying because there was no chemotherapy and no pain control. It seemed crazy they couldn't have morphine, because for everybody with cancer pain, it is the best drug. When I was there, they had a little bottle of aspirin pills to go around 200 patients in pain." Although there have since been improvements in some areas, more than 1,000 life-saving items remain "on hold" in New York, with Kofi Annan personally appealing for their release "without delay". The Secretary General has also said he would like to think that the Iraqi Government was doing all it could to cooperate in the distribution of goods. Detailed observations were made in every sector of the country and food got to every one it was supposed to get to in the country. What is the way forward? We offer you some suggestions based on a report by a Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR- USA)-sponsored delegation of Nobel Peace Laureates to Iraq. - That the US/UN economic sanctions be lifted immediately and massive assistance be made available to Iraq to heal the children and rebuild the infrastructure; - that the UN make regional disarmament a key element of its efforts in Iraq (as UN Resolution 686 explicitly prescribes); - that the international community demand that the right of the Iraqi people to life and to dignity be fully respected; - that the United Nations, United States, Great Britain, and the European Parliament assist in restoring Iraq to its rightful place in the community of nations; - and that religious leaders, and people of faith and conscience in the US, Britain, and elsewhere go to Iraq to forge friendship with the Iraqi people. The Nobel Laureates concluded that the United Nations' "Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World, 2000-2010," should begin with the immediate lifting of the economic sanctions against Iraq, ending of the US bombings, and beginning a dialogue that brings Iraq back into the world community of nations. We endorse these recommendations and add the following: - that as the bombing of the "no fly" zones is illegal, compensation for damage be paid to Iraq by those governments responsible; - that the Depleted Uranium-contaminated battlefields be cleaned up at the expense of those governments responsible for the use of DU weaponry; - that the medical equipment for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and the chemotherapy drugs held up by the Sanctions Committee in New York, be made available immediately to the Iraqi people. Finally, we ask you to remember the resolution of the COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights; Fifty-second session; Agenda item 12 (b) (i) "........ death to be a flagrant violation of the economic, social and cultural rights and the right to life of the people concerned and of international law, decided to appeal again to the international community, and to the Security Council in particular, for the embargo provisions affecting the humanitarian situation of the population of Iraq to be lifted ........." (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2000/L.32 14 August 2000). Sincerely, Tony Maturin For Quaker Peace and Service A/NZ -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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://www.casi.org.uk