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[casi] Article submitted to ``Eclipse'' the anti-war review

Dear Listmembers,
I thought this might be useful. We mustn't forget the suffering that
sanctions cause. We can stop the invasion but if sanctions remain then
we haven't stopped the war against the people of Iraq. Does anyone know if
it would be fruitful to approach the organisers of the Feb 15th National
demo to ask if the placards they produce can also say ``End the

best wishes,

+  Fay Dowker                       Physics Department               +
+                                   Queen Mary, University of London +
+  E-mail:       Mile End Road,                   +
+  Phone:  +44-(0)20-7882-5047      London E1 4NS.                   +
+  Fax:    +44-(0)20-8981-9465                                       +
+  Homepage:          +

No War, No Sanctions

Encouraged by the massive anti-war demonstration in London on September 28th
2002, anti-war activists in the UK believe that the invasion of Iraq that
Bush and Blair so desperately want can be stopped. There is certainly
an enormous amount of work still to be done but the signs of dissent
are increasing. The fact that the BBC and Guardian are finally reporting
anti-war protests and actions means that the level of opposition is very
high indeed.

Preventing the invasion would be an extraordinary victory for
progressive people. There is hardly anything that US/UK imperialists
have ever wanted more than their military bases in Iraq and they're
using everything in their power to achieve it. If we can stop them,
the boost to progressive movements here and internationally would be enormous.

But, and it is an enormous but, even if we stop the invasion, the
sanctions on Iraq will remain unless we turn the anti-war campaign
into a campaign against the sanctions as well. And the time to do that
is now. Whenever we speak against war, we must also speak against the
sanctions and we can begin by calling the sanctions what they are:
war by another name. The sanctions regime constitutes a military
siege against an innocent population, enforced by warships patrolling
the seas and compounded by almost daily bombing.

We have known about the human cost of the siege for many years now.
UNICEF estimates that sanctions have contributed to the deaths of
over half a million Iraqi children. It is no exaggeration to call
this genocide as Dennis Halliday, former UN Humanitarian Coordinator
for Iraq, has done. It lies on all our consciences that we have
not cared enough for the suffering children of Iraq and have
allowed hundreds of thousands of them to die and millions more
to have their young lives blighted, stunted and isolated.

We now see the siege more clearly than ever for what it is politically:
a US/UK strategy for maintaining a situation of perpetual crisis with Iraq,
a crisis that can be exploited whenever the opportunity arises.
It also weakens the population who must struggle to survive from day
to day in the ruins of their collapsed economy and social structures,
totally dependent on the Government of Iraq for basic needs,
thus severely reducing the chances of any truly democratic movement
developing. Even the limited hope of being able to reconstruct their
country by themselves with no external interference may be long gone
as skilled people have either left or lost their skills after years
of unemployment and a whole generation has grown up without education.
The siege also makes sure that any vestigial military capability
the country might have had will crumble and be degraded even further,
so that it will be utterly defenceless if the US moves in to establish
its bases.

If we stop the invasion, it will be too late then to say ``oh, and we
want sanctions lifted too.'' Bush/Blair will be engaged in serious damage
limitation and the first thing they will want to do is maintain the
siege and so keep the door open to another war in the future. They
will go into propaganda overdrive about how sanctions are more necessary
than ever to ``contain Saddam''. Every year, every month, every day the
siege continues the more Iraq's infrastructure decays and the more the
suffering intensifies. The time to demand the end of the siege is now.
We must link opposition to war and opposition to sanctions. Every
``Don't attack Iraq'' poster must also say ``End the Sanctions.''
Anti-war feeling is high. Progressives can take the opportunity to
educate those who oppose the war and explain why sanctions are just as
immoral. The anti-war movement must be anti-sanctions also.

Fay Dowker 20th Jan 2003

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