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[casi] Jutta Burghardt: "No Light at end the of the Tunnel"

        "Iraq does not consist of Saddam Hussein alone. Iraq is
        made up of about 25 million people, not just this one
        person. And in the siege of Iraq it is not just one
        person that is under siege, but a whole population,
        who is being deprived of the basic needs to survival."
        [Jutta Burghardt, Aug. 2001 - transl. from German]

Dear List,

Of the three people who resigned in protest over the
suffering caused by the sanctions, I have been drawn
especially to Jutta Burghardt. I admire all three for
their courage, but she has a way of taking everything
into account that appeals to me.

In an interview with a non-mainstream German paper, Jutta
Burghardt spoke about the effects of what she considers the
"blockade" of Iraq. ("There is no light at the end of the
tunnel", Junge Welt, August 26, 2001)

The interviewer went straight for _cooperation_: "We here
believe that the Iraq Government's lack of cooperation is the
reason for the catastrophic conditions in Iraq". "You mean
cooperation in the disarmanent process?", asked Burghardt.
"Well, first of all one has to know the history of this
embargo." It's a blockade like that of a fortress in the
Middle Ages, she believes. Besieged is a whole nation. And
she elaborates - mentions also the continuous bombing in
the no-fly-zones. And then she refers to SCR 1284: "Iraq
is unwilling to work with the UN under this resolution.
Its conditions mean a step backward for Iraq."

"Was the Government willing to cooperate in other areas,
you could judge?", was the next question. Yes, said Burghardt,
"the government was absolutely willing to cooperate in all
areas of food supply [for the population]". And again, she
elaborates. And as far as the distribution went, the cooperation
was also "excellent". "The operation carried out by the Iraqi
government is probably one of the most efficient I have ever
witnessed on this globe - in spite of the great restrictions
imposed by the embargo", she said.

"And how was the atmosphere while you worked there? Were
you able to move about freely and express your opinions - also
to western journalists? (Clearly the interviewer was thinking
of restrictions imposed by the Iraqis.) "Well, said Burghardt,
I was muzzled by headquarters, the WFP in Rome. Nevertheless I
tried to give the press background information - especially
to German reporters. But I very soon realized that it was
practically impossible to place an objective account in the
German media. The media currently presents a one-sided view
of Iraq that focuses entirely on military aspects and on the
person of Saddam Hussein."

(I was surprised by the muzzle from the WFP but it makes
sense. And it would also explain the differing views on her
stance to 1284, presented by the press immediately after her

In a final comment, Burghardt explains why she considers
SCR 1284 a "step backward for Iraq": it does not offer a
"fair treatment" and the "actual lifting of the sanctions".
Unlike SCR 687, 1284 provides for a suspension only - even
if the Iraqi leadership cooperates one hundred percent. And
suspension, according to the US definition, means that the
money from oil sales will still be withheld. And this,
Burghardt concludes, "inevitably widens the UN mandate and
further restricts Iraq's sovereignty. So what incentive is
there for cooperation?"

Although events have now overtaken Burghardt's assessment
of 2001, I think assessments such as hers will be needed to
get a (fairly) clear historical record.


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