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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Some time ago I wrote to Andrew Mandell privately on the same issue - that you and Abi Cox qualify as “churlish” behavior:
> I agree with you now, after having talked on the net with some other
people as well,
> that I might have better left out some of the jibes – not only the ones directed against > von Sponeck and Halliday. But I have watched their actions from very close and just > could not comprehend the way they were behaving. I was even more stunned by > FAOs Bongard while she was still in office [in Baghdad]. She was outright sabotaging > the FAO activities in Kurdistan, and recommended them to be stopped completely. > Maybe this experience reflected on my harsh judgment over others. But I am here to > learn, and to have a constructive discussion on a largely neglected aspect or focus > was and is the aim of this article. [end quote]
I am not going to continue to discuss in public Holy Cows of VITW and maybe some others in the Anti-Sanctions movement before having talked to von Sponeck and Halliday myself. This applies also to the – uninvited as far as KDP is concerned – trip by both to the Kurdistan Region, which you seem to concentrate on. Halliday has clearly misrepresented the circumstances in his statement.
“Churlish”, possibly yes, but I have never been used to kneel before the gurus, be them non-Kurdish or be them the Kurdish leaders of old and of recent. All along my involvement with the Kurds, I have been known to be outspoken and straightforward, telling a corrupt or incompetent one right into his face exactly that, not mashing my tongue as most people in Middle Eastern societies are used to. I am surprised that, in an European and American environment, I get such a ticklish reaction from you on ceremonial side issues that have little to do with the main chain of arguments.
I know, it's my fault, to have invited this, but remember, for the Kurds and the rest of the Kurdistanis the issue of sanctions is seen from a position of utter vulnerability and is a question of mere survival. They are not likely to understand, or feel sympathy for, what moves those who, from a platform total physical, political, economic security, ride high on Ethics and Morale while - certainly against their intention - being instrumentalized by possibly the most despicable regime presently on earth.
I have told Collin Rowat in private:
> Don't take the monolithism reproach on face value - I have learned a lot during
> these past days browsing and reading. So let's say the campaign I was
> tentatively accusing was monolithic in as much as it ignored widely (not
> totally) the Kurdish aspect. This qualifying of my reproach concerns mainly the
> English speaking party in the discussion. As for the Germans, I would certainly
> repeat it or make it even stronger. There seems to be no culture of civilized
> discourse amongst these indigenous populations of my own homeland, or at least
> amongst those Actions groups.
I could have written this to Abi Cox and Peter Brooke and others as well, and I would have, in some way or another, done so sooner or later. If I fell pray myself to the killing fields atmosphere amongst German groups, I apologize to everyone concerned and hurt.
So, Milan, let's get back to the discourse about the real issues which I humbly tried to rise in my article. I am looking forward to the more substantive arguments in Part II of your response.
My main points were, lifting sanctions is not the magic solution that will benefit ordinary Iraqis, the solution lies in good government or bad government and the political will to better or abolish bad governance in the interest of these ordinary and outrageously suffering Iraqis. If one expects this from the Bath regime to happen, then one should say so openly. And for the ceremonial part: worshipping Holy Cows does not help a rational discussion about policy alternatives, nor does hairsplitting.
Milan Rai wrote:
A RESPONSE TO ALEXANDER STERNBERG Part I-- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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
A shameful assault on Hans von Sponeck and Denis Halliday
Summary: Alexander Sternberg makes unjustified attacks on Denis
Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, and does not seem to know about
Halliday and von Sponeck's recent meeting with Kurdish leaders.