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Re: Iraq - 11 years on. By Omar Al-Taher

Dear CASI members,
Firstly, I am not British, so I’m not going to apologise for “chiming” in!!!
Secondly, please, PLEASE, note that the piece I sent to CASI by Omar Al-Taher was an OPINION piece. 
This, obviously, means that it is his opinion and everyone is free to agree – or disagree.
I find it sad that Colin is “bothered” by this piece because it is full of “stereotypical – and 
incorrect claims about the sanctions” and would like to ask Colin to please let us know what 
opinions he would like us to have about the sanctions, so that we can therefore forever agree on 
everything and not carry on these “intellectually careless” discussions. I wonder, do Colin and/or 
CASI have some sort of copy right or monopoly on what is and what is not “intellectually” 
acceptable here at CASI?
I would also like to ask Colin to please let us know how he “sympathise(es) entirely with the 
author’s sentiments” as he put it. Frankly I find this remark distastefully patronising.
Colin’s remarks about 600,000 deaths, are neither here nor there, as Felicity and Abi have pointed 
out. If the author chooses to use these figures to back his argument, then let him! It’s that 
simple. Again – this is an opinion piece, and we are free to agree or disagree. By sending it to 
CASI I am not implying that we cast our intellect to the wind and accept the author’s every word as 
the ultimate truth. I am merely trying to open up new avenues of research, as Felicity put it. If 
that isn’t being “intellectual”, then I don’t know what is.
I am also completely, totally, and utterly bewildered and baffled as to why Colin is so surprised 
about this article coming from Jordan. An explanation here would be greatly appreciated.
As for the spelling of the names, I’ll take your word for it Colin, and agree that, if you are 
correct, then it is sloppy journalism.
Al-Taher writes “Almost everything is denied the people of Iraq, including food, clothing and 
medicine” and Colin writes: “I don't know what this sentence means”. Well, let me explain it to 
you, it means, almost everything is denied the people of Iraq, including food, clothing and 
medicine. Again, quite simple really. Furthermore, it’s what this whole anti-sanctions campaign is 
all about. If food, clothing and medicine are not being denied the people of Iraq then what, pray 
tell, are we campaigning against or for??? The “extent” to which they are “denied”??? Oh please!!
Well, I could go on and on, but I think you get the gist of what I’m trying to say. If anyone is so 
repulsed by this article, then I would suggest you send in a letter to the editor, rather than tell 
us what to read, what to quote and what to think.
I would now like to expand on my arguments, and the articles I have been sending in. It has often 
been said that CASI is to remain focussed on lifting the sanctions. While this should indeed remain 
our prime goal, I think it would be extremely beneficial, if not urgently necessary, to consider 
the broader picture developing since the Sept. 11 attacks. Namely, that the Bush administration’s 
response has been to declare a war on its definition of terrorism, with attacks on Iraq, a 
possibility. In this respect we need to follow developments more closely in other Middle East 
countries, esp. Israel. While we all agree (or perhaps some of us might disagree!) that the 
sanctions were imposed because of Iraq’s oil wealth, I presume we also all agree that Iraq was 
targeted for sanctions because it posed a serious threat to Israel’s hegemony in the region. I for 
one, would welcome more articles, thoughts and discussion on this connection.
In my earlier posting, Hans von Sponeck wrote: “The US 'case' for an attack against Iraq is 
therefore nowhere convincing, not even in Britain. The list of those who warn against military 
action grows day by day. Bundeskanzler Schroder recently warned in the German Parliament that 
choosing new targets in the Middle East would backfire and 'could explode in our faces'. Leaders in 
the Middle East among them King Abdullah of Jordan, Presidents Mubarak and Assad, Dr. Amr Moussa, 
Secretary-General of the Arab League, the former Saudi intelligence chief Turki Ibn Faisal and even 
the two Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq, Barzani and Talabani echo this concern. The US 
authorities can not ignore these apprehensions.”
I agree, and would like to submit that, here at CASI, we too cannot ignore these apprehensions.

Salwa de Vree,
Leiden, The Netherlands.


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