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Hi all In case you are interested, here are my collected recent articles on Iraq. Eric Eric Herring 'Liberate Iraq From Saddam's Debts' Written 28 March 2003 Western Daily Press Since the beginning of the war a week ago the UN has had to suspend its distribution of food and health supplies and suspend its work in every sector of the economy in Iraq, from water sanitation to housing. The need for the UN's humanitarian programme arose out of the sanctions that the UN imposed on Iraq when it invaded Kuwait in 1990. After Iraq was forced out in 1991 in a US led war, the sanctions remained in place to try to get Iraq to give up its nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programmes. Officially Iraq was always allowed to import food and medicine but the sanctions meant that Iraq was exporting nothing to allow it to earn the money to pay for these things. As a result many hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians died. In 1996 the UN and Iraq agreed the Oil for Food programme. Iraq has been allowed to export oil and the UN has controlled the funds to allow Iraq to import humanitarian goods. In the north of Iraq, the UN has run the programme itself. In the centre and south the Iraqi government has run it, with UN monitors checking that the goods are being used for their proper purpose. Some 25 per cent of the money has been set aside to pay compensation to people and companies for money lost due to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Since 1996, $25 billion worth of humanitarian goods have arrived in Iraq. This sounds like a lot but is only a little over $1,000 for each of the 22 million people in Iraq. Per person per day this is 62 cents - about 40 pence! This is not even in cash given to people to buy things in a normally functioning economy. That 40 pence has to pay for everything - food, health, spare parts, electricity, water, sanitation, agriculture, education, communications, transport and housing. This amount is only a drop in the ocean, especially when you bear in mind that the economic infrastructure was almost totally destroyed by US-led bombing in 1991. The UN's own assessments are that this programme cannot meet the humanitarian needs in Iraq and that only the lifting of the sanctions and a revival of the economy will prevent many more Iraqi's from dying. Iraqis have been kept alive during the 12 years of the sanctions mainly by Iraqi government rations from Iraq's own agriculture and with goods bought with smuggled oil. The UN's humanitarian programme has saved some Iraqi lives, but much more importantly it has legitimise the sanctions which are the main factor in the death of 500,000 Iraqi children under five between 1991 and 1998 alone - a figure arrived at by a proper scientific study by the UN Children's Fund. Saddam Hussein's cooperation with the humanitarian programme has been inadequate, but even perfect cooperation with it would not have changed the fact that it is fundamentally inadequate. We hear many times from Bush and Blair that Iraq's oil wealth will be used for the benefit of the Iraqi people. But we already know that to a greater extent this will not be true. Iraq already has a debt of about $130 billion, increasing by compound interest every year. Much of Iraq's oil money will go to pay that. On top of that, the UN Compensation Commission has awarded $44 billion of compensation against Iraq for invading Kuwait ($17 billion of it has already been paid). This adds up to $7,136 of debt per person. The current talk of reviving the humanitarian programme ignores the enormous shadow of debt and compensation that will go on oppressing Iraqis people, long after the death of Saddam Hussein. Putting the oil money in a UN trust fund does not answer the question of who will end up getting that money. Bush and Blair are not saying that they won't make ordinary Iraqis pay the debts run up by Saddam Hussein. Bush and Blair say we are at war to liberate the people of Iraq, but this must mean more than getting rid of Saddam Hussein - it must mean liberating them from Saddam's debts. The ones who should pay are the governments, banks and companies who backed Saddam. It is obvious that, unless, there is a change of policy, Iraq will be just another poor third world country after this war with most of the wealth from its resources being channelled away from the people of its country. Meanwhile, there is a desperate need to restore food distribution and re-establish access to clean water disrupted by this war of 'liberation'. Unless this is done very soon, Iraqi civilians will start dying in their tens of thousands within weeks. It is unbelievable that Bush and Blair started this war and just hoped there would be an instant Iraqi military collapse. What a gamble. Where is the plan B if Iraq fights on? Bush and Blair have no answer. Eric Herring 'A Manifesto For the Liberation of Iraq' Bristol Evening Post 28 March 2003 We are told that this is a war to liberate the people of Iraq - that is why so many people support it. People who think the war is illegal and immoral still hope that the people of Iraq will be freed. What is not being spelt out is exactly what liberating the people of Iraq involves. Bush and Blair must be held to account for every element of it. It is their war, but as taxpayers you are paying for it. Your soldiers and increasing numbers of Iraqis are being killed, injured and traumatised for it. What is needed is a manifesto for the liberation of the Iraqi people. In this column over the next few days, I will outline what I think should be in it. First, liberation for Iraq means liberation from Saddam's debt. We are told continually and correctly that Saddam has abused and oppressed his people for decades. It offends basic moral principles that Iraqis who have suffered under Saddam are also being made to foot the bill for their suffering. That adds massive insult to terrible injury. So Iraq's debt - over $130 billion - must be paid by those who sucked up to Saddam, meaning many governments, banks and companies from all over the world, including western ones. If the US and Britain can find $70 billion at the drop of a hat for a war they can find twice as much to liberate Iraq from Saddam's debt. Bush and Blair say over and over again that Iraq's oil will be used for the benefit of the Iraqi people. But it will not be if it is handed over to other people to pay for Saddam's debt. Second, liberation for Iraq means liberation from the compensation that Iraq is being required to pay for Saddam's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Ordinary Iraqis had no control over his decision, but it is they who have already paid $18 billion and still have to pay $18 billion more. In addition, the United Nations is considering further claims totalling $217 billion. Again, if Bush and Blair can find the money for war they can find it for this. If they are not serious about this, they are not serious about liberating the Iraqi people. Instead, the oppressor Saddam will have been replaced by the exploiters Bush and Blair. Eric Herring 'US Illegally Demands Iraqi Frozen Funds' 27 March 2003 Bristol Evening Post Tony Blair is in Washington today to plea for a role for the United Nations after the defeat of Saddam Hussein. Here is why he will fail. The Bush administration is the most unilateral American government we have ever seen. In other words, it is determined to decide everything for itself - working with the United Nations only has any value in giving the US political legitimacy. We can see this now in how the Americans are approaching Iraqi government money which is frozen in banks around the world because of UN sanctions. All of this money, which runs into billions of dollars, is fully and legally under control of the UN. The Bush administration is going around the world demanding that banks hand over the money to the US to spend as it sees fit. This is entirely illegal - this money is controlled by the UN, but the Americans simply do not care. The US government says that this money is to be spent for the benefit of the Iraqi people. However, it is becoming clear what the Americans mean when they say for the benefit of the Iraqi people. It means giving the money to US corporations to set up shop in Iraq. The Americans have already developed a plan in which US companies will take over Iraq's hospitals and its education services. The UN is protesting against this and the British Government has so far refused to hand over money to the US. Clare Short stayed in the Cabinet arguing that she could ensure that she was the best person to make sure that the reconstruction of Iraq would be fair. However, last weekend she returned from Washington having completely failed to persuade the US government of anything. There is no reason to believe that the Americans have changed their minds or will have their minds changed by Tony Blair today. The key fact of this entire war is that the Iraqis would welcome liberation from the rule of Saddam Hussein, but - and it is a very big but, they would absolutely and violently oppose being run as an American/British colony. Imagine the violence of Northern Ireland multiplied 100 times over. Eric Herring 'UK Taxpayers Pay for Iraqi WMD' 26 March 2003 Bristol Evening Post According to the British Government those of us not in favour of the war are morally inadequate because we are not backing the liberation of the Iraqi people. How soon we forget. Just two weeks ago the British Government was saying, to quote Jack Straw: "I don't regard Saddam Hussein staying place as optimal but it is not part of this resolution to change the regime". In other words, this was to be a war to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. The British and Americans claimed to have secret information that proved Iraq had a revived nuclear weapon programme and vast stocks of chemical and biological weapons. Already, we are being prepared for the possibility, indeed likelihood, that no serious capability of any of this kind will be found. Tony Blair yesterday said: "British security services have tried to search out weapon dumps of the IRA for 30 years not with a great deal of success." It is worth recalling that a key element of the British Government's "proof" turns out to be stolen from an American student's essay passed off as British Government intelligence. This student essay is still on the Downing Street website. Another key document which supposedly shows Iraq importing uranium from Africa has been declared fake by the United Nations weapons inspectors. One more piece of the picture which is being ignored is the role of previous British governments in contributing to Iraq's weapons programmes. Under Margaret Thatcher, Britain backed the building of chemical plants which they expected would be used to make chemical weapons. This was at a time when Iraq was gassing Iranian forces. Soon after the Iraqis went on to gas the Kurds. This deal was meant to help Britain's trade. Ironically, the Iraqis refused to pay the company involved and the British taxpayer paid that company £330,000 in compensation. It follows that you, the British taxpayer, has paid Saddam Hussein to gas people. So, we ought not to forget what this war is meant to be about - and we shall see if claims of Iraqi weapons programmes are actually justified. Of course, the liberation of the Iraqi people from the rule of Saddam Hussein is something we would all welcome, but we should not lose sight of the fact that this was meant to be a war to protect us from the threat of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Eric Herring 'The Nightmare Scenario for the US and Britain' 25 March 2003 Bristol Evening Post THE last time American forces fought the Iraqis in 1991 the war on the ground was over in three days. We are only five days into this war but there appears to be no prospect of it being over soon. Five days is certainly an extremely short period of time for a war, but it is still very different from last time. Why are matters different now? Twelve years ago, the Americans preceded the ground war with a month of air bombardment - this time there has been none of that. The coalition forces have half the number of troops that were committed to the Gulf War in 1991. The first Gulf War was marked by combat in open desert, which made it much easier to target Iraqi forces. Today, the coalition forces face combat in towns and cities. Most importantly, in 1991, the objective was simply to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait - this time the aim is to capture all of Iraq. Why did the United States launch the war in this way? It appears that they hoped for a quick Iraqi military coup to get rid of Saddam Hussein followed by surrender. They also hoped that they might kill Saddam Hussein in a missile attack. The question then is, where is the war going to go from here? There are three possible outcomes - two of which are nightmare scenarios for the US and British. The one they hope for is that there will be a sudden Iraqi coup or mass surrender. The second possibility is that they will end up laying siege to Baghdad, a city of five million people, and Basra, a city of nearly two million people. Water and electricity supplies will not survive and civilians will start dying in their thousands. This is what happened last time. Already in Basra, lack of water has put most of that city's population at extreme risk. The third possibility is street fighting to take these cities at enormous cost to both sides. They would have to fight not only the regular Iraqi army but also the elite of the Iraqi military - Saddam's Republican Guard and Special Republican Guard - which in 1991 quickly withdrew from Kuwait. The most feared outcome for the US and British governments from the second and third scenarios is that they would have to negotiate with Saddam Hussein. Eric Herring 'Why Turkey has invaded northern Iraq' Bristol Evening Post 24 March 2003 Around 1,000 Turkish troops have invaded northern Iraq, and more could follow. Why has Turkey done this? The basic answer is that it is determined to undermine the autonomy which the Iraqi Kurds have developed - not a fully independent state, just some control of their domestic affairs. Turkey does not want this to become a model for its own Kurdish minority, which it has repressed. The US State Department's Human Rights Report for Turkey details murder, disappearances and 'widespread' torture of Kurds by the Turkish state in 'a climate of impunity'; the denial of 'basic political, cultural and linguistic rights' of Kurds; the depopulation of 3,000 to 4,000 villages; and the forcible displacement of 800,000 people. Since the Gulf war in 1991, northern Iraq has formally been under the control of the United Nations and the Kurdish minority there have gradually started to run some of their own affairs. A United Nations 'safe haven' was set up in northern Iraq not just to protect Kurds from Iraqi forces but also to prevent Iraqi Kurds from entering Turkey. Although it is called a 'safe haven', the Kurds there have never been safe from Turkey. For example. Turkey invaded northern Iraq with 20,000 troops in 1992, 35,000 troops in 1995, 50,000 troops in 1997 and 10,000 troops in 2000, sometimes staying for months. The United States and Britain unilaterally declared northern Iraq a 'no fly zone' for Iraq aircraft, but did nothing about attacks by Turkish aircraft. Instead of objecting to Turkey's actions in the past, the United States and Britain armed Turkey heavily and kept quiet so that they could use air bases in Turkey to bomb Iraq most weeks ever since 1991. This bombing never received the approval of the United Nations. Since the start of the US invasion of Iraq, Turkey and the United States have been split. Turkey did not allow the United States to attack Iraq from Turkish soil, while the United States has opposed Turkey's sending of troops in northern Iraq. The Kurds have had a tragic history, betrayed and attacked by all sides. They were even bombed by Britain in the 1920s when Britain controlled Iraq. The fragile progress made by them since 1991 is now in jeopardy. I hope that, after this war is over, their rights will cease to be trampled - in Turkey as well as Iraq. Eric Herring 'The Point of Protests Now That War Has Begun' Bristol Evening Post 22 March 2003 Now that the war has started what is the point of anti-war protests? Protests can still do a number of things. They can shape the conduct of war, in particular the Government will be reluctant to allow bombing of electrical supplies which are vital for water and sanitation. If these services are lost many civilians will die. Protests can also shape what happens after a war. They can ensure the ordinary Iraqis are not forgotten. They can help ensure that American multi-national corporations do not buy up all a country's assets. They can also shape future wars and make them harder to start. In the Korean War millions of civilians were killed directly through bombing. In Vietnam civilians were killed as part of bombing for possible military gain. Now bombing civilians directly has become politically unacceptable. What about objecting to demonstrations? Why block streets? Why not just demonstrate without causing disruption to others? The principle here is that citizens feel that the normal democratic processes have failed, and that they have a right to draw attention to this by non-violent disruption of the normal workings of society. In a democracy the state is meant to serve the people. There are considerable majorities in the opinion polls against war without explicit UN backing. MPs voted in majority for this war but they were not given a free vote even though this is a moral issue. They were bullied, threatened, and in the end just ordered to vote for the war. Eric Herring 'A Closer Look at the Project for the New American Century' Bristol Evening Post 21 March 2003 The big question in many minds is what is this war about? Is it about freedom for Iraqi people, oil, terrorism or weapons of mass destruction? We must look at what has been said by the people in charge of the war - namely those at the top of the US government. They make it clear that all of these things are priorities only to the extent that they are relevant to The argument for going to war was made at least two years ago, by an organisation called the Project for the New American Century, set up in 1997, with the goal of promoting US global leadership and pre-eminence. Members of this group included the current US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, US vice-president Dick Cheney and many other leading figures in the Bush administration. In a report published in September 2000 - shortly before President Bush came to power they made it clear that the idea of an Iraqi threat would be a useful propaganda tool. The group said: "The United States has for decades sought to play a more prominent role in Gulf regional security." "While the unresolved with conflict Iraq provides immediate justification, the need for a substantial America force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein." United Nations weapons inspections had completely eliminated Iraq's nuclear weapon programme and most of its other banned programmes, and were making further progress recently. A peaceful outcome would not have served the group's purposes which is why they cut them short with this war. The issue for the US is not access to oil. What are the Iraqis going to do with their oil if not sell it? Are they going to drink it? The real issue for the Americans is control. They want to ensure that they can control the price of oil and who sells it to them. They realised that it would be hard to convince the US public and the world that US domination would be a good idea: 'the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalysing event - like a new Pearl Harbor'. With the 9/11 attacks in 2001, they got their Pearl Harbour, and now Bush follows this group's policies. Iraq is not the last of Bush's wars - global 'pre-eminence' requires many more. Eric Herring 'The Purpose of the War' Bristol Evening Post 20 March 2003 If we are going to go to war with Iraq we have to be clear about what going to be achieved by it. First of all, getting rid of Saddam Hussein has to be a good thing. He has wasted so many of his people' lives in war and done terrible things to those who opposed him. Secondly, the Iraqi population could end up with another dictatorship - but just one that is more pro-western. Thirdly, the US and British governments say that Iraq's oil wealth will be used for the benefit of the Iraqi people, but I am sceptical. Iraq used to have one of the most advanced welfare systems in the Middle East, offering free education and health care. Saddam's idea was that the way for Iraq to become powerful was to have an educated, healthy and prosperous people. This welfare system was destroyed by the United Nations economic sanctions imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 (sanctions which are still in place today) and the US-led war in 1991 to drive it out of Kuwait. Iraq is now the most indebted country in the world - it owes $130 billion. The United Nations is requiring Iraq to pay $36 billion in compensation for its invasion of Kuwait (it has paid $18 billion so far). Iraq may be required to foot the bill for this war as well, so there will not be much money left for ordinary, poverty-stricken Iraqis, who may find they will have to fund their own private education and healthcare: these are likely to be privatised under US control. In addition, this conflict is may speed up the secret development of weapons of mass destruction by those who see them as the only way to deter a US attack. This is already happening in Iran and North Korea. Equally, it is hard to see how war with Iraq will reduce the threat of terrorism - Iraq has not been a big sponsor of international terrorism. And we will have to face the fact that many Muslims will see this war as an attack on Islam and drive many towards supporting the cause of Islamic extremists in the future. So, even if the military campaign goes well, the world may still be a worse place at the end of it. At this stage attacks are targeting the Iraqi leadership: communication facilities, military command and of course possible places where Saddam Hussein might be. Air strikes will also be attempting to knock out the defences for Iraqi troops to prevent their movements over ground and encourage surrender. These tactics will prepare the way for action by American and British ground forces. They are going to be carried out on a much larger scale than during the last Gulf War. The objective in 1991 was to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Now the aim is "softening up" the whole of Iraq for invasion and occupation. This will have serious consequences for the Iraqi people. The targeting of electricity supplies in 1991 was very damaging - it meant an instant end to proper water and sanitation, resulting in tens of thousands of civilian deaths that year from water borne diseases. There are 23 million people who were utterly dependent on the United Nations and Iraq for food handouts. 1,500,000 children are at immediate risk of starvation. Unless the war is over quickly, the bombs dropping on the Iraq now will kill many more people later - in a country desperately short of vital resources. ---------------------- Dr. Eric Herring Department of Politics University of Bristol 10 Priory Road Bristol BS8 1TU England, UK Office tel. +44-(0)117-928-8582 Mobile tel. +44-(0)7771-966608 Fax +44-(0)117-973-2133 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/Politics http://www.ericherring.com/ Network of Activist Scholars of Politics and International Relations (NASPIR) http://groups.yahoo.com/group/naspir/ _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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