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RE: Write to the Guardian !

Thanks Gabriel,

In response to the INC's Mr Al-Hussein's letter to the Guardian, his
statement that:

> It is disingenuous to suggest that the suffering of the Iraqi
> people is the result of UN sanctions.

prompted two thoughts:

1. there is no single cause of "the suffering" in Iraq, anymore than there
is in any country on earth.  In Iraq's case, there are a number of factors
that contribute to suffering at the national level: the Iran War, the Gulf
War, the sanctions, the current government.  But then every person, like
people anywhere else, will have their own experiences of pain or joy that
are distinct from these national events.  One hesitates to point these
things out to an Iraqi, but attempts to attribute all suffering in Iraq to a
single cause are simplistic.

2. On 19 April, 2001 Ahmed Chalabi, the leader of Mr Al-Hussein's INC,
addressed the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.  He
said that "The sanctions regime is skewed against the Iraqi people and in
favor of Saddam ... Sanctions have enhanced the ability of Saddam to oppress
the Iraqi people" and that "So long as you have no policy to remove the
regime, sanctions are immoral and cannot be
defended" (Boston Globe 20/4/1).  While he is not clear on whether sanctions
cause harm in themselves, or only when in the hands of Saddam Hussein, his
remarks do seem to differ from those of Mr Al-Hussein.

In general, though, I would recommend that anyone who does write on this be
very careful not to equate "anti-sanctions" with "pro-regime".  This is
perhaps obvious, but nevertheless is a risk faced by those concerned about
the effects of the sanctions as well as the state of the official Iraqi

Colin Rowat

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