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Dear friends, Last night a group of us from the anti-sanctions/peace movement were discussing what we could usefully do for Iraq after the war. We’re all struggling to come to terms with the horror of the situation, but I think it would be a terrible waste if all the energy which has been poured into campaigning for Iraq over the past decade was lost in despair. One idea which I am passionate about is campaigning for *complete* cancellation of Iraq’s debt (including the 1991 reparations). Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Iraqi people who have suffered so dreadfully for a generation could have a new start with a clean slate financially. Estimates I have seen suggest Iraq may owe about $130bn plus at least twice that amount for 1991 reparations. This debt is a result of Saddam’s aggressive wars in Iran and Kuwait and the resultant sanctions (which caused the debt to triple from interest & arrears). Even for a country with Iraq’s theoretical oil wealth this would be unpayable debt, even without the devastation and deprivation of the Iraqi people to redress. As far as I can tell very little work has been done on this issue. I’ve been able to find a few useful articles on the net (addresses below) and the impression is that the US might support partial cancellation (as with Yugoslavia) but leaving enough of the debt to keep Iraq crippled and compliant for the foreseeable future. But because the warmongers have relied so heavily on the “moral” case for this war, and drawn such a clear distinction between the regime and the Iraqi people, it would be the most flagrant hypocrisy right in the spotlight of world attention if they refused a well argued call for debt cancellation. I think a network and resources needs to be in place before the war is complete to speak up for debt cancellation. This must happen before world attention drifts away and Iraq is forgotten again for another decade. ACTION: If you're at all interested in this please get in touch. it would be wonderful if you could have a think about how we could go about this campaign. Who would be the best people to involve from the beginning? I used to be involved with the Jubilee 2000 debt campaign and and it would be dynamite to unite that lot with the peace movement, aiming eventually to get very broad based support in the style of the original Jubilee 2000 campaign (including anyone who has supported the war for humanitarian reasons). Do GIVE ME A BUZZ to discuss: 07813 137171 in the evening, or my work number 020 7654 7867. PLEASE FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO ANYONE & EVERYONE WHO’D BE INTERESTED. In Peace, Justin Alexander Links: Moscow Times: Iraq Debt Debate Already Under Way http://www.moscowtimes.ru/stories/2003/03/19/041.html A WISER PEACE: AN ACTION STRATEGY FOR A POST-CONFLICT IRAQ http://www.mafhoum.com/press4/130P511.pdf Interview with Salah Al-Sheikhly, former head of Iraq's Central Bank http://usinfo.state.gov/regional/nea/iraq/text/0812econ.htm "Oil, Sanctions, Debt and the Future" by Abbas Alnasrawi http://www.casi.org.uk/info/alnasrawi.html U.N. Estimates Rebuilding Iraq Will Cost $30 Billion http://www.iraqfoundation.org/news/2003/ajan/31_un.html US Embassy vows help for repayment of Iraq's debt to Bulgaria http://www.templetonthorp.com/en/news271 _______________________________________________ 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 email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk