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[casi] FW: [no-sanctions] Pilger: Diplomacy?

Thanks again to Sandeed Vaidya of Campaign Against Sanctions, Ireland.

From: "vaidyasandeep2000"
Date: Sat, Sep 21, 2002, 1:35 pm


If you want to know how George W Bush will go about getting
international support for war, look at how his father did it 12 years

by John Pilger; New Statesman; September 19, 2002

The making of a United Nations fig leaf, designed to cover an Anglo-
American attack on Iraq, has a revealing past. In 1990, a version of
George W Bush's mafia diplomacy was conducted by his father, then
president. The aim was to "contain" America's former regional
favourite, Saddam Hussein, whose invasion of Kuwait ended his
usefulness to Washington.

Forgotten facts tell us how George Bush Sr's war plans gained the
"legitimacy" of a United Nations resolution, as well as a "coalition"
of Arab governments. Like his son's undisguised threats to the
General Assembly, Bush challenged the United Nations to "live up to
its responsibilities" and condone an all-out assault on Iraq. On 29
October 1990, James Baker, the secretary of state, declared: "After a
long period of stagnation, the United Nations is becoming a more
effective organisation."

Just as Colin Powell, the present secretary of state, is busily doing
today, Baker met the foreign minister of each of the 14 member
countries of the UN Security Council and persuaded the majority to
vote for an "attack resolution" -  678 -  which had no basis in the
UN Charter.

It was one of the most shameful chapters in the history of the United
Nations, and is about to be repeated. For the first time, the full UN
Security Council capitulated to an American-led war party and
abandoned its legal responsibility to advance peaceful and diplomatic
solutions. On 29 November, the United States got its war resolution.
This was made possible by a campaign of bribery, blackmail and
threats, of which a repetition is currently under way, especially in
countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia. In 1990, Egypt was the most
indebted country in Africa. Baker bribed President Mubarak with $14bn
in "debt forgiveness" and all opposition to the attack on Iraq faded
away. Syria's bribe was different; Washington gave President Hafez al-
Assad the green light to wipe out all opposition to Syria's rule in
Lebanon. To help him achieve this, a billion dollars' worth of arms
was made available through a variety of back doors, mostly Gulf

Iran was bribed with an American promise to drop its opposition to a
series of World Bank loans. The bank approved the first loan of $250m
on the day before the ground attack on Iraq. Bribing the Soviet Union
was especially urgent, as Moscow was close to pulling off a deal that
would allow Saddam to extricate himself from Kuwait peacefully.
However, with its wrecked economy, the Soviet Union was easy prey for
a bribe. President Bush sent the Saudi foreign minister to Moscow to
offer a billion-dollar bribe before the Russian winter set in. He
succeeded. Once Gorbachev had agreed to the war resolution, another
$3bn materialised from other Gulf states.

The votes of the non-permanent members of the Security Council were
crucial. Zaire was offered undisclosed "debt forgiveness" and
military equipment in return for silencing the Security Council when
the attack was under way. Occupying the rotating presidency of the
council, Zaire refused requests from Cuba, Yemen and India to convene
an emergency meeting of the council, even though it had no authority
to refuse them under the UN Charter.

Only Cuba and Yemen held out. Minutes after Yemen voted against the
resolution to attack Iraq, a senior American diplomat told the Yemeni
ambassador: "That was the most expensive 'no' vote you ever cast."
Within three days, a US aid programme of $70m to one of the world's
poorest countries was stopped. Yemen suddenly had problems with the
World Bank and the IMF; and 800,000 Yemeni workers were expelled from
Saudi Arabia. The ferocity of the American-led attack far exceeded
the mandate of Security Council Resolution 678, which did not allow
for the destruction of Iraq's infrastructure and economy. When the
United States sought another resolution to blockade Iraq, two new
members of the Security Council were duly coerced. Ecuador was warned
by the US ambassador in Quito about the "devastating economic
consequences" of a No vote. Zimbabwe was threatened with new IMF
conditions for its debt.

The punishment of impoverished countries that opposed the attack was
severe. Sudan, in the grip of a famine, was denied a shipment of food
aid. None of this was reported at the time. By now, news
organisations had one objective: to secure a place close to the US
command in Saudi Arabia. At the same time, Amnesty International
published a searing account of torture, detention and arbitrary
arrest by the Saudi regime. Twenty thousand Yemenis were being
deported every day and as many as 800 had been tortured and ill-

Neither the BBC nor ITN reported a word about this. "It is common
knowledge in  television," wrote Peter Lennon in the Guardian, "that
fear of not being granted visas was the only consideration in
withholding coverage  of that embarrassing story." When the attack
was over, the full cost was summarised in a report published by the
Medical Education Trust in London. More than 200,000 people were
killed or had died during and in the months after the attack. This
also was not news. Neither was a report that child mortality in Iraq
had multiplied as the effects of the economic embargo intensified.
Extrapolating from all the statistics of Iraq's suffering, the
American researchers John Mueller and Karl Mueller have since
concluded that the subsequent economic punishment of the Iraqis has
"probably taken the lives of more people in Iraq than have been
killed by all weapons of mass destruction in history".

Today, the media's war drums are beating to the rhythm of Bush's
totally manufactured crisis, which, if allowed to proceed, will kill
untold numbers of innocent people.

Little has changed, and humanity deserves better.

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