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]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [casi] please reply to Washington Post

Dear Tom, Colin & all
     I do not want to say, but it is a painful fact that BLOCKADE becomes
our style of life.
This article is perfect American the writer tries to say that Oil 4 Food is
a miracle, just because he saw crowds were waiting ice-cream! And saw
double-deck buses! but he did not say that 6ooo Iraqi children died in last
March because American and Britain representatives did not approve on many
medical contracts through 661 Committee.
Yes, it is true that (Step by step, economic and social life is rebounding),
yet, it is because as I said we used to blockade.
    (While U.S. officials contend that much of the money is being spent to
refit the
Iraqi military, develop long-range missiles and possibly assemble nuclear,
biological or
chemical weapons, )! He writes depending on American information, even he
did not bother himself to ask an Iraqi official or any Iraqi, so he presents
a poisoned honey. by the way, just bfore days Peter Arnet said in a meeting
with Iraqi jhournalists that the White House was and still controlling the
information about Iraq.

    (Per capita income now stands at around $2,500 annually -- double that
of Egypt,
according to the CIA World Factbook). Still, it is CIA number. 2500$ means
about 5 million ID! It is another wrong number.
    The article as I said is a poisoned honey cake. We are doing our best to
survive, to raise our children, but still the circumstances created by the
embargo is very hard. No Oil 4 Food nor UNSCR 1409 would help, but lifting
the blockade
We know if the article was really pro Iraqi nation, Washington Post would
not publish it.
Best regards
----- Original Message -----
From: " Tom Nagy, Ph.D." <>
To: "farbuthnot" <>
Cc: <>; <>
Sent: Saturday, May 18, 2002 10:38 PM
Subject: [casi] please reply to Washington Post

Dear Colleagues,

Thought someone on this list might want to formulate a response to the
following page one "news" feature in yesterday's Washington Post. It reads
to me
like a rehash of press releases from the State Department.

Sadly, in a awesome act of willed ignorance, this article is accepted by
most in Washington as god's honest truth.

Little by Little, Iraq Shows Signs of Economic Life

By Howard Schneider
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, May 17, 2002; Page A01

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- It was a breezy Monday night, and the mood in Horreya
was festive as a crowd that included college students, old men and shy young
girls gathered outside the Faqma ice cream shop to indulge.

In the Iraq of the mid-1990s, such a scene would have been impossible.
were penniless and the government strictly rationed milk and sugar to ensure
that the
country's embargoed food supplies covered necessities.

But those days are past. Step by step, economic and social life is
and the country is breaking out of limits imposed on it by the United States
Western powers after the Persian Gulf War a decade ago.

Iraq is now sufficiently flush to independently launch an oil embargo, as it
last month, suspending exports of crude as a protest against Israeli
Palestinian cities in the West Bank. That won Iraq admiration in many Arab
countries, as have its payments of $25,000 that U.S. officials said have
made to the
families of each Palestinian suicide bomber.

Many Iraqis and foreign diplomats here said the country's resurgence will
the U.S. goal of unseating President Saddam Hussein all the more difficult
And, in the meantime, the growing prosperity is allowing Hussein's political
apparatus to proclaim that Iraq was the ultimate victor in the Persian Gulf

"Many people predicted that Iraq would collapse in 1991, but we have
reconstructed our country," Oil Minister Amir Mohammad Rasheed said recently
a news
conference in Baghdad. "We know it is difficult for those without thousands
years of history to understand, but oil is not the only resource of the

Oil, however, is what's driving the rebound. Iraq is allowed to sell as much
petroleum as it wants under U.N. sanctions to buy food, medicine and other
But money is also entering the country illegally through oil smuggling and a
complicated surcharge scheme that a Wall Street Journal analysis recently
provides around $2.5 billion annually outside the control of sanctions.

While U.S. officials contend that much of the money is being spent to refit
Iraqi military, develop long-range missiles and possibly assemble nuclear,
biological or
chemical weapons, clearly some of it is improving the lives of Iraqi

Per capita income now stands at around $2,500 annually -- double that of
according to the CIA World Factbook. Iraq's gross domestic product grew
15 percent in the year 2000.

"Little by little, things are getting better. You can find everything," said
Sinan Abdul Hamid, 20, an engineering student whose chief complaint about
is that the
lasers used in his classes are out of date.

Entrepreneurs are bringing shiploads of computers, televisions, stereos,
appliances and other goods from Dubai to stock the the shelves of Baghdad's
Wealthy Iraqis can arrange long-distance special deliveries of their
foods from grocery stores in Amman, Jordan, 12 hours by car and a few bribes
from the Iraqi capital.

Farmers are buying new trucks; new double-decker buses are moving about the
capital. A few privately owned luxury cars are breaking the previous
monotony of

wobbly taxis and private cars with shattered windshields.

Even such areas as an impoverished corner of Saddam City south of Baghdad
feeling gains. There, vegetable seller Rabbia Jassim at first pointed to his
6-year-old son's dilapidated sneakers and said that for the poorest in Iraq,
many basics remain out of reach. But later he conceded there was some
His family can now afford an occasional chicken.

As part of the upturn, Iraq has again become a major force in the regional
economy. Much of its $13 billion in annual imports come from Turkey, Egypt,
Arabia, Syria and Jordan, Iraqi officials said, helping bolster economies in
region. They added that Turkey's sales to Iraq doubled in the past year, to
nearly $1
billion, while Egypt, starved for hard currency, now gets $2 billion a year
goods its sells to Iraq.

Iraqis are traveling abroad more easily, too, on the expanding network of
flights available since Saddam International Airport reopened a year ago.
Airlines offers four flights a week between Amman and Baghdad, and service
also available to the Syrian capital, Damascus, and to Moscow.

Iraqi diplomats circle the globe pressing their nation's case, while
leaders from the Arab world, Russia and Europe fill Iraq's version of a
five-star hotel, the
Al Rasheed.

The future of Iraq and Hussein has been a chief preoccupation of the region,
well as of world powers, for more than a decade now. While there is
Iraq's isolation as a nation should end, there is disagreement over whether
should happen while Hussein is still in power.

To Washington, he remains a global menace, intent on developing weapons of
destruction and likely to use them against Israel, Arab neighbors or even
United States. At a recent U.N. Security Council briefing, U.S. officials
presented evidence of new long-range missile sites, and foreign diplomats in
Baghdad cite
suspicions that Iraqi officials have stepped up efforts to acquire material
a nuclear device.

President Bush has called Iraq part of an "axis of evil" that includes its
neighbor Iran and North Korea. U.S. officials have not made a case linking
with al Qaeda
or any terrorist attack against U.S. interests. But they insist that Iraq is
developing weapons of mass destruction and say action against the country,
perhaps armed
action, is needed.

"The combination of a dangerous regime with such destructive weapons is not
acceptable," said Patrick Clawson, research director at the Washington
Near East Policy.

Among Iraq's Arab neighbors, the view is less apocalyptic. Hussein is viewed
a brutal leader, but many say he became more cautious after seeing his army
expelled from Kuwait in 1991. An international coalition might well
against any aggressive act tied to Baghdad, spelling an end to the Baath
controls the country.

One diplomat here, whose government has counseled the United States to avoid
military action in the absence of clear provocation, said the risks of
might be as great as the risks of leaving him in power.

In society here, the diplomat said, "there is a big hate for the U.S. Every
malaise is attributed to them and not the regime. The complexity of the
is that once
Pandora's box is open, are we in a more difficult position than now?"

A U.S. attack could lead to a fracturing of the country among the
quasi-autonomous Kurdish region in the north, the Iranian-influenced Shiite
populations in the
south, and the Sunni Muslims who dominate the central region, the diplomat

Some Iraqis who privately dislike the regime are also uneasy about the
of an attack. They would rather wait for the 65-year-old Hussein's natural
than risk a war or revolution. "Borders are closed, brains are closed," said
businessman, who asked not to be identified. "But it has been 20 years. What
or four more? This is what is in the heart of Iraqis."

Advisers in the president's office, meanwhile, say the government's public
bravado -- defiant, anti-American and ready for a fight -- isn't the whole
story. "What are
we going to say if [Bush] says we are the axis of evil? We fought Iran for
years. How can you just throw us in one bottle?" one Iraqi official said.
learned lessons, and we will make use of those lessons. We will try to avoid
people suffering again."

Despite the talk of war, the United States hasn't much changed the military
pressure that it has exerted against Iraq since the end of the Gulf War.
day a
panoply of U.S. planes, including high-flying U-2 reconnaissance jets and
eavesdropping aircraft, course the skies of northern Saudi Arabia and
Turkey, monitoring the Iraqi military. Warplanes stage periodic strikes
antiaircraft positions.

But some diplomats in Baghdad and analysts in Washington say that Bush's war
threats may already be paying off with the rise of what amounts, by Iraqi
to a group of pragmatists on the Baath Party's ruling Revolutionary Command

The diplomats said they believe Foreign Minister Naji Sabri has developed an
influential voice in alliance with Hussein's younger son and possible
Sabri is said to have pushed for recent efforts to mend fences with Kuwait
Saudi Arabia. At a recent Arab League summit in Beirut, Iraq went further
promising to respect Kuwait's sovereignty.

Iraq has also reopened talks with the United Nations on the possible return
U.N. weapons inspection teams, who were withdrawn from the country in 1998

before the United States and Britain launched airstrikes on Baghdad. The
now involve Iraqi scientists and generals. Before Sept. 11, Iraq maintained

inspectors would never return.

Hussein remains the ultimate arbiter, however, holding on to power despite a
record of domestic mismanagement, political executions and atrocities

Increasingly elaborate statues of Hussein continue to sprout throughout the
capital, as do state-financed mosques. The Mother of All Battles Mosque
recently. Still in progress is Saddam Mammoth Mosque, intended to be the
in the world. Along one boulevard stands what people call The Big "La,"
("No" in

Arabic), a granite symbol of the country's defiance.

Hussein is lionized in party tracts as the rightful heir of history's great
Muslim leaders, such as the 12th-century warrior Saladin, who fought the
Christian Crusaders.
The revisionism has turned the invasion of Kuwait into a "Zionist trap" that
ended with U.S. troops encircled and begging for a cease-fire.

It is unclear how many people accept that account, doled out incessantly by
Iraqi newspapers and television. But the hardships of the last decade have
and many ordinary Iraqis appear to view the recent easing as a triumph over
United States.

In their offices in the capital, Iraqi officials tried to build on those
feelings. They said that what is really behind Bush's talk of war is
refusal to follow the
recent path of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other Arab states and submit
what they perceive as U.S. dominance.

Bush "wants Iraqi oil. Saddam Hussein won't let him. He wants to put a
government in. Saddam Hussein won't let him," said Abdelrazak Hashimi, a
semi-official government spokesman. "Nobody has the right to go into another
country and change the system of government. . . . Nobody can just scratch
their calendar."

(C) 2002 The Washington Post

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]