The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
Dear Elga & List, Following discussions on this list, it has become evident that it is useless to try to make any interaction with the IPO group, let alone think that it could be "a constructive one". This is simply because the IPO group is not interested in engaging in any dialogue. To start with, they are a group "without an ideology" as one of its founders publicly stated... Their tactics is to post their "analysis" of the news, promote war against Iraq, and ridicule any and all differing opinions, labeling people as Ba'thists and Saddam's apologists… That has been the MO of their group. The last message from Sama even included unfounded allegations that look part of the US/UK propaganda machine... Sama states that her friends "were personally stopped from using large quantities of stock till the sell-by-date.." I find that absolutely false. I am not a friend of Saddam or his regime, but I have been to Iraq many times since 1991 and have seen with my eyes the situation, and honesty and objectivity demands that one tells things as they are... I don't get my information from others whose judgment may be influenced by personal or political motives.. First of all, from 1991 until 1996, GOI supplied a food basket and medicine for the Iraqis without the UN and fully financed by it. During those years, opposition groups in the West accused Iraq of smuggling oil and demanded that it be stopped…There has been a shortage of supplies since 1990, and that is because of the sanctions and after that the criminal actions of the Sanctions Committee, of which we are all aware. Second, on numerous occasions, the medicine companies have shipped medicines to Iraq with a very short life, sometimes even expired... In known cases, Insulin was allowed, but the cold storage trucks to transport it were not allowed. Anesthesia was prohibited for many years, as was Angised... There were occasions when medicine or supplies were kept for extreme emergencies: a case I witnessed in the Alawiyah Children's hospital, where on a Thursday afternoon they had only two x-ray films to last them until Saturday at least. The doctor had to decide when to take an x-ray and when not in order to save it for an extreme emergency. We all know how Iraqis are used to taking antibiotics for the simplest illnesses, including the common cold. And so it could be that there was an order to limit the use of medicines, but it is being presented here out of context... A visit to the web site of IPO will reveal an amazing fact: there is no reference to sanctions in their site! It simply does not exist!! It is not important to that group of "sectarian" Iraqis.. the only important thing is revenging the suffering of their families by removing Saddam.. And if thousands of Iraqis die in the process, it is alright. They are "collateral damage" as one of them put it... And so when Sama states that she has been campaigning against sanctions for years, she is clearly being less than truthful... I have not seen a single statement from Sama to support that claim. There is something of importance that has to be pointed out here: of the four people heading IPO, only the Chairman could claim any close contact with Iraq. Sama and Yasser left Iraq as new born, while Abtehale was born in Kuwait. They have all been raised in the West with no physical contact with Iraq; not even a visit there. How could they know what sanctions mean to Iraqis? Sending money doesn't make you "feel" sanctions, just like it doesn't make you feel hunger when you give aid to the hungry… The claim that OFF is or was mismanaged is refuted by the UN personnel in charge of the program. They have all praised Iraq's cooperation and its execution of the program. But like Elga said, the program was temporary and supposed to supplement, not provide fully for Iraqis. It is very easy to forget, now that Saddam has been demonized, how things improved in Iraq during his rule: education, economy and health care were the best in the whole Arab World. No two disagree on that, just like no two disagree that there was political oppression and opposition was not tolerated. But is opposition tolerated in Syria, or Egypt or Iran or Saudi Arabia? Not only food and basic commodities were subsidized, even consumer electronics and electrical equipment were subsidized, to the limit that Kuwaitis used to come to Iraq to buy and take back to Kuwait… What surprises me is the contradictions in the behavior and statements of IPO's members and their selective thinking. Let's take an example: In a message posted to CASI on Tue, 27 Mar 2001, Ahmed Shames (the current Chairman of IPO, who left Iraq in 1996) gives information of a march against sanctions on April 8th. His Mission Statement included the following: "We demand an end to the suffering of the Iraqi people, caused primarily by the economic sanctions imposed on the country by the UN for the past decade. ...Britain remains publicly supportive of the US’ hardline policy, in spite of this growing chorus of criticism. It also routinely accuses sanctions opponents of sympathy for the Iraqi regime We completely condemn the oppressive Iraqi regime, which has contributed to the destruction of an entire people and catalysed the destructive effects of the sanctions on the innocent population. However, this does not make Britain's support for the economic sanctions any less criminal." So does IPO see sanctions differently now than 2001? While Ahmed accused the UN and US/UK, Sama now accuses Saddam… Is IPO going to demand bringing the British officials, who imposed and supported sanctions into the same court which they are demanding for Saddam?? We also have public statements made by Bush Sr. and US officials that sanctions would not be lifted until the regime was changed. That has been the policy since 1991. So Sama's and her friends' claims that "Saddam brought the sanctions on to the Iraqi people to further oppress them" is not only wrong, it contradicts what the Americans themselves say… But it has become clear that IPO's members believe that the ends justify the means, so twisting facts becomes acceptable as part of those means… Elga wrote: "..please give the (known) facts a chance. For the sake of your integrity, for the sake of your self-respect - and for the sake of the Iraqi people." I am posting some facts on "integrity" and IPO: 1) On their website, the following information is given by IPO: "Abtehale Al-Hussaini - Born in Kuwait after mother's family was deported." " Sama Hadad - Born in Baghdad, forcefully deported 12 hours following her birth" On the Carte Blanche Interactive website (http://www.mnet.co.za/CarteBlanche/Display/Display.asp?Id=2152) (Iraq - to war or not to war?) on 02 February 2003, Sama Hadad was described as follows: "Twelve hours after she was born, Sama Hadad and her parents were thrown out of Iraq on simply the suspicion that they belonged to an opposition party." The fabrications are clear... Saddam DID NOT deport members of the opposition... If their parents belonged to an opposition party, they would have been imprisoned. Having been deported means their birth certificates stated they were of Persian stock, and those were suspected of loyalty to Iran. They were deported NOT because they belonged to the opposition, but because they were of Persian origin. I am not saying that I approve of that action, but that is not the issue here. The issue is being honest and truthful… 2) On April 6, 2002 Yasser Alaskary said during a march in London (http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_561060.html?menu=): "We are not against any sort of military action that would be targeted directly at Saddam Hussein. But we oppose any aggression against the Iraqi people, such as during the 1991 Gulf War." And (http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_561355.html) "Bush has made the world into black and white, saying you're either with Saddam Hussein or you're with us. We're saying we are with the Iraqi people. Whatever is in their benefit we would support. We want concerted effort against Saddam Hussein directed at him - only at him - and not at the Iraqi people. We won't give Bush a blank cheque." Yet we read the following from the same site above (http://www.mnet.co.za/CarteBlanche/Display/Display.asp?Id=2152) Yasser: “How many have died in Afghanistan? How many have died in any such war? Thousands have died. If we keep Saddam, millions will die and are dying. It’s the lesser of two evils.” An estimated half a million people could die in a war on Iraq - many of them civilians. Sama: “My family along with many others in Iraq - as we know they’ve said - are willing to be collateral damage as long as Saddam is removed.” IPO, for some unexplained reason, has decided to give GWB a blank cheque. I wonder who gave IPO the right to talk in the name of all Iraqis… HZ __________________________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Platinum - Watch CBS' NCAA March Madness, live on your desktop! http://platinum.yahoo.com _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk