United Nations faces Western accuser
Re: United Nations sanctions on Iraq
To the Editor:
The UN sanctions imposed on Iraq have caused the deaths, due to malnutrition and preventable disease, of over half a million children. Over one-third of the children are stunted and deformed by malnutrition. The starvation conditions caused by the sanctions have continued for six years due to U.S. pressure and may lead to one million children starving to death this year. The UN sanctions on Iraq have claimed far more lives than the deadly Gulf War did in 1991.
After the Iraqi army was defeated and the sovereignty of Kuwait restored, there was no case to be made of a threat to world peace, which would justify any action under Article 41. China has been occupying Tibet (an act in violation of The Charter) and Israel is occupying Palestine and other Arab territories in violation of the Security Council resolutions, without incurring any sanctions.
Evidence printed in mainstream Israeli and U.S. press, moreover, indicates that the U.S. and Israel are not unhappy with the continuing rule of Saddam Hussein. Security Council members, including permanent members Britain, France, Russia and China, have clearly indicated by statements, official visits and signatures of agreement with the Iraqi government, that they are willing to resume trade with the Hussein regime once sanctions are lifted.
The true aim of the sanctions thus appears to be not to punish an individual and his police state, but to destroy any attempt by the Iraqi nation to become an economic (and military) power in the Middle East, which might challenge western control of the region and its resources. For such an aim to succeed, it is necessary to impoverish the Iraqi people and block its economic, social and technological development and prevent true democracy.
This is why the western alliance inflicted such extensive damage to the Iraqi infrastructure, including power stations, water purification installations and the productive capacity of the country in the Gulf War, a devastation which had no direct military advantage and was thus unrelated to the aim of liberating Kuwait. This is why the trade sanctions against Iraq also include educational materials such as school supplies, textbooks and scientific journals.
The Iraqi people as a whole have not requested from the international community any assistance to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein. One of the reasons is that the Iraqi regime, although very repressive, has brought significant benefits to the general population, such as free primary health care, a relatively good education system, electrification of most of the country and some affluence.
The technical development of Iraq can be gauged to some extent by the fact that Iraq had nuclear ambitions. Iraq, therefore, represented a potential military power in the Middle East and, for many Arabs, a symbol redeeming Arab honour and pride. This explains why it is, and has been, so important for the United States and Britain, who control the oil of the Middle East, to bring the Iraqi nation to its knees, block its development, and destroy its potential. An authoritarian regime, compliant to western demands, such as Saudi Arabia, is much preferable to the city and Wall Street financiers than a truly democratic Arab regime.