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]

re: write to the Telegraph

In response to the suggestion from Gabriel of Voices from the Wilderness 
that we should write letters to the Daily Telegraph in response to Michael
Rubin's article on the 13th August, I have just sent off the following (this
Michael Rubin is a busy little bee these days, isn't he?)

article again placed after Mr Rubin's name)

Dear Sir

Michael Rubin (Daily Telegraph, 13th August) tells us that there are Iraqis
who support the blockade we have imposed on Iraq because they are opposed to
Saddam Hussein.

The Iraqis in question are of course Kurds, from Southern Kurdistan. Mr
Rubin insists on calling them 'Iraqis' from 'Northern Iraq' despite the fact
that they have been engaged in war for many years with the aim of ceasing to
be Iraqis.

Although undoubtedly they consider Saddam Hussein to be worse than his
predecessors, they were nonetheless at war with the predecessors as well,
including the British government when we, like Saddam Hussein, tried to
impose an Iraqi identity on them. As Saddam Hussein pioneered the use of
chemical weapons against them, we pioneered the use of the aerial bombing of
civilian populations. It was against the Kurds of Iraq that Bomber Harris
cut his teeth.

In their difficult struggle against terrible odds, the Kurds take what
allies they can find. During the Iran/Iraq war (which, it should never be
forgotten, Iraq nearly lost) the Iraqi Kurds sided with the Ayatollah
Khomeini. That was the rather extreme context in which Saddam Hussein used
chemical weapons against 'his own people'. Now the Kurds are siding with us.
Their allies are never very satisfactory. We do not support Kurdish
independence. We continue to impose the blockade on them and we have obliged
them, through the Ankara agreement, to ally themselves with the Turks, who
are persecuting their fellow Kurds in Turkey using methods - destruction of
villages, transfer of populations etc - which are very reminiscent of the
methods used by Saddam Hussein.

In advocating that we should back an armed Kurdish insurgency against
Baghdad, Michael Rubin is advocating that on top of all its previous woes
Iraq should be plunged into years of bloody civil war. I think it is
unlikely that our government will agree to such a policy, not because they
lack the necessary malice but because they lack the necessary courage. It is
a policy, however, that makes a sort of sense. What does not make sense is
persisting with the present infamous blockade in the absence of any strategy
for the military overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

As Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the opposition Iraqi National Congress, put it
(quoted in the Jerusalem Post, 10th July): "So long as you have no policy to
remove the regime, sanctions are immoral and cannot be defended." Instead of
cynically using the plight of the Kurds as propaganda fodder in our
continued campaign to torture the people of Central and Southern Iraq, Mr
Rubin should address himself to the practical problem of what guarantees can
be provided for their safety and wellbeing when, finally, the blockade is

Yours sincerely

Peter Brooke
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]