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[casi] THE WORLD MUST STAND BY IRAQ - SAY NO TO BUSH



Thanks to Sandeep, Campaign to End Iraq Sanctions, Ireland.


The Times of India Online
Printed from timesofindia.indiatimes.com > Editorial


LEADER ARTICLE
Say No To Bush


SIDDHARTH VARADARAJAN

TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2002  12:00:44 AM ]

THE WORLD MUST STAND BY IRAQ
SIDDHARTH VARADARAJAN


Here's a simple quiz to mark the anniversary of 9/11. (a) Who is
threatening to use aeroplanes to attack civilians and civilian
installations like water treatment plants and power stations? (b) Who
is refusing to rule out using nuclear weapons in his `holy war'? (c)
Who is using television for a messianic propaganda campaign
justifying this plan-ned terrorism? (d) Who is saying his fatwas
count for more than international law? The correct answer to all
these questions is not Osama bin Laden but George W Bush and the US
administration.


One year after terrorists killed more than 3,000 innocent people in
New York and Washington, the world is waiting nervously not for
another murderous strike by Al-Qaida but for the bombs the US plans
to drop on the equally innocent people of Iraq.


Regardless of the scripted dissension within, the Bush
administration's drive to open the Iraqi front in what is wrongly
called the `War on Terrorism' has crossed the point of no return.
Massive US-UK air attacks have already taken place at al-Nukhaib, al-
Baghdadi and the `H-3' air defences in western Iraq. The war is
already on.


And if you don't believe the nukes threat, consider the August 27
interview given by the ranking US official on `arms control', John
Bolton, to Fuji-TV. Question: Is it possible that nuclear weapons
will be used against Iraq? Bolton: Since there's no decision on the
use of military force, there's no decision on exactly how it would be
carried out.'' Washington says the `crisis' has been provoked by
Saddam Hussein's failure to allow UN inspectors to certify Iraq has
rid itself of all proscribed weapons. `News' is leaked to scare the
world into believing Iraq has nuclear arms. At the same time, Mr Bush
openly talks about `regime change' as if it were the God-given right
of the US to decide how the Iraqi people are to be governed.


Even on the weapons issue, the dishonesty of the US stand is self-
evident. UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution 687 mandates Iraqi
disarmament, and for more than six years the UN Special Commission
(Unscom) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visited
suspected weapons sites in Iraq to ensure compliance. On April 13,
1998, the IAEA certified that Iraq had compiled a ``full, final and
complete'' account of its previous nuclear projects and that there
was no evidence of any prohibited activity. In December 1998, Unscom
volun-tarily pulled out of Iraq on the eve of the US attack codenamed
`Operation Desert Fox'. In its last month of inspections, according
to Unscom head Richard Butler, the commission carried out as many as
427 inspections and reported Iraqi non- cooperation in only five of
these. The truth is the US has never been interested in an objective,
UN-run disarmament programme for Iraq. Washington deliberately pushed
the limits of Iraqi tolerance by using Unscom inspections for
espionage. Rolf Ekeus, a former head of Unscom, told Swedish Radio in
July 2002 that at times, intrusive inspections were deliberately used
by the US to create a crisis that could possibly form the basis for
military action. Scott Ritter  a US marine who was part of Unscom
and later admitted the CIA used him to spy against Iraq  has written
that Iraq no longer has chemical and biological weapons programmes.
``In all of their inspections, the (Unscom) monitors could find no
meaningful evidence of Iraqi circumvention of its commitment not to
reconstitute its biological weapons program'', he wrote in Arms
Control Today in June 2000.


Eleven years after Iraq was evicted from Kuwait, the country is
subject to the tightest regime of economic sanctions ever imposed on
any country. Despite the so-called `smart sanctions' introduced by
UNSC resolution 1409 in May this year, Iraq's capacity to provide
clean drinking water, electricity and sanitation is hampered by US
objections to machinery imports. If food imports and the public
distribution system are disrupted by a full-scale US attack, there
will be a massive food shortage in Iraq.


Every UN resolution mandating Iraqi compliance with disarmament also
explicitly states that Iraq's sovereignty has to be respected. The US
flouted these resolutions to establish illegal `no-fly zones' over
Iraqi airspace and has bombed the country hundreds of times in the
past dec-ade. In March this year, Iraq submitted a list of 19
questions to UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. Among these were (i)
Can the UN guarantee the elimination of the two no-fly zones? (ii)
How do you explain the stance of a permanent member of the Security
Council which openly calls for the invasion of Iraq? Baghdad has yet
to receive an answer.


The world has a right to demand that Iraq comply with its disarmament
obligations but it must not legitimise US contempt for international
law. Iraq has said it will allow UN weapons inspectors back provided
they do not indulge in espionage and work according to a time-bound
plan, and also provided there is synchronicity between the degree of
Iraqi compliance and the phased elimination of sanctions. This is a
reasonable proposal. The US, for its own domestic economic and
political reasons, wants to press-gang the world into war. The UN
must not allow its mandate of ensuring peace and security to be
subverted by Washington. Under no circumstances must it be pushed
into providing a `multilateral' cover for US aggression.


svaradarajan@indiatimes.com



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