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Archbishop of Canterbury: sanctions "have bitten the wrong people"

George Carey, the Archbishop of Canterbury ("the Primate of all England
and head of the Anglican community worldwide", or if you prefer, the
"chaplain to the nation") had a surprisingly good article on Iraq today in
the Times. This from a man who once called the Gulf slaughter in 1991 "a
remarkably bloodless war". The article is at:,,2001350016-2001360973,00.html

and is called "Don't repeat the misery inflicted on the Iraqis". Quotes
below. It would be good if, especially, Anglicans on this list could send
him messages of support? His press office fax number is 0207 261 1765. I
imagine further contact details are on his webpage,
<>, but unfortunately it seems to be
down at the moment. Anybody for another dreary conspiracy theory??

Best wishes, Glen.


"And if that is the case for Afghanistan, then I believe we should also
take a fresh look at the humanitarian issues in Iraq. I need no persuading
that Saddam Hussein and the regime he runs are deeply and morally
repugnant. The way the international community - through the United
Nations - has sought to hold him to account over the past decade is
through sanctions. Well, we have had 11 years of sanctions and there is no
doubt they bite. Unfortunately, they have bitten the wrong people. Those
who have suffered most are ordinary Iraqis, especially the children. It is
claimed that one in every ten babies fails to reach its first birthday.

Attempts to mitigate the humanitarian impact of sanctions through the "oil
for food" programme have had only limited success. There are arguments
about the extent to which that is Saddam's own fault and I do not dismiss
nor seek to diminish them. But the evidence still suggests that the
negative effect of sanctions is out of proportion to the good achieved.

>From a Christian perspective, shared I believe by those of other faiths,
such humanitarian considerations should become the principle informing any
sanctions policy. This suggests at the very least that they need to be
reconfigured so that they focus on those they are intended to target. That
could be done in part by concentrating on arms supplies and financial and
travel restrictions.

Moves in this direction have been pursued in recent times but have
foundered. Some will argue, no doubt, that a change in the sanctions
policy now would be seen as "going soft" on Saddam, and so send the wrong
message. But can it really be claimed that the current set-up is sending
the right message to ordinary Iraqis whose goodwill may become a precious
asset? I fear this policy will simply feed misunderstanding and deeper
resentment in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East."

Glen Rangwala

Faculty of Social and Political Sciences
Free School Lane
Tel: 44 (0)1223 334535
Fax: 44 (0)7092 330826

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