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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?) IF THIS LETTER IS TOO LONG THE FIRST FOUR PARAGRAPHS COULD BE CUT AND THE LETTER BEGIN 'IN ADVOCATING THAT WE SHOULD BACK ...' (with the date of the 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 lifted. Yours sincerely Peter Brooke -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk