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[casi] re: New FCO report about human rights abuses in Iraq

Dear Per and group

With regard to the question of 'honour killings' in Iraq, the following
might be helpful:,3605,852644,00.html
Media and political salvo hits activists
by Nicholas Watt
The Guardian , 3rd December

'Human Rights Watch also took issue with a key allegation in the report,
which was used to show that women "lack even the basic right to life". In a
section on the treatment of women, the report said: "A 1990 decree allows
male relatives to kill a female relative in the name of honour without any

'But Hania Mufti, the group's London director, said the decree was repealed
months after it was imposed. "The decree was introduced at a specific time
after the end of the Iran-Iraq war when soldiers coming back from the front
found their women had had sexual relations with other men, mainly Egyptian
workers. Lots of the Egyptians were killed. The decree was an amnesty for
these people and was repealed within months."'

With regard to the general question of the UK govenment dossier and of the
use of torture and terror by the Iraqi regime we should bear in mind that
under the circumstances the mere survival of this government is something of
a miracle. It was nearly defeated by the Iranian revolution in the 1980s,
reduced to state of destitution (which was what was behind the invasion of
Kuwait)  and then subjected to unrestrained attack by virtually the entire
world. No people or government has ever faced such a concentrated display of
force as the Iraqi government and people in 1991. Followed as we know by the
United Nations sanctions regime which prevented any possibility of
rebuilding and reduced the population to a state of starvation.

I suspect that the most terrible crimes of the Iraqi government date from
the late 80s when, with the help of the Kurds (and the Syrians) Iran was
about to crush them, and 1990-91 when they were faced with the United
Nations military buildup then massacre, which should logically have resulted
in the collapse of the country and its division into at least three parts -
Shia, Sunni, Kurd. That it didn't (and none of the 'neighbours' who had
helped bring about this situation wanted it to) was uniquely due to Saddam's
use of overwhelming terrorist force (effectively abetted by us).

The point I am making is that the situation in which overwhelming force and
terror of some sort (perhaps it didn't have to be as sadistic as it seems to
have been. Perhaps it did) had become necessary was a situation largely of
our making. And by isolating Iraq for twelve years (keeping Saddam 'in his
cage' was the charming phrase often on the lips of our ministers) while
doing everything possible to undermine the regime, we were abundantly
justifying the Iraqi government's state of paranoia while at the same time
leaving them totally free to do what they liked with the Iraqi population.
NEVER during that whole period was any effort made to provide the Iraqi
government with any incentive to improve its ways. On the contrary, the
government's policy was clearly, the worse the better.

All the best (though at the moment that seems rather a futile wish)


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