Middle East


Iraq: Sanctions Are Agression, Too

Saddam Hussein’s regime has complete control over every public institution in Iraqi life, including the Iraqi media. Newspapers, television and radio stations, and the Internet are all run by the government or Saddam Hussein’s son Uday.—WPR

What purpose can there be for the United Nations Security Council to support the drafting of any new legal commitments for Iraq after the discussions that just occurred in the meeting of the council on Feb. 14? This is a pertinent question, especially since the results of the discussion verified the continuation of Iraq’s cooperation with inspectors and characterized it as active, real, and genuine. Furthermore, the discussion showed that the successful completion of hundreds of inspections of institutions and locations in Iraq—whether government agencies or private institutes, with or without Iraqi supervision—clearly pointed to the fact that the inspectors didn’t discover any evidence or indication proving the presence of weapons of mass destruction, a program for their production, or any forbidden material used in their manufacture. And this is exactly what the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, and the executive chairman of the U.N. Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), Hans Blix, verified in their report before the Security Council.

If we doubt the necessity for drafting even more stipulations on Iraq after having witnessed the comments of Blix and ElBaradei at this latest Security Council session, we must also question the wisdom of the sanctions against Iraq. For at this moment it is relevant to ask if Iraq hasn’t had weapons of mass destruction and has been cooperating, what justification has the United Nations had for the past imposition of the sanctions or their future continuance? It is unjustified to continue the brutal and inhumane sanctions that have been imposed on Iraq’s people for over 12 years and that have snuffed out the lives of more than 1.7 million Iraqi citizens, including more than 600,000 children under the age of 5, not to mention their influence and negative complications scarring all aspects of life. Iraq has fulfilled its commitments in accordance with the ordinances of Section C from Security Council Resolution 687 [passed in April 1991, stipulating disarmament], and the results that were presented to the council in its latest session to discuss the continuation of Iraq’s complete and unrestricted cooperation with the inspectors show this. This is in addition to the agreement by the Security Council’s majority, which advocated peaceful and political means for solving what remain of the outstanding issues.

Thus we say that all of this places the council in the position to reconsider fulfilling its obligations and compensate for Iraq’s commitments to its demands and propose to lift the sanctions in a complete and final manner

Today there is a new situation, and circumstances argue for change. The increasing opposition by the peoples of the world is ruining the American and British plans to threaten Iraq with aggression. International will, manifested at both the human and governmental levels, has united in confronting Washington’s plans, which are premised on its hegemony over the fates of the nations of the world. We have seen that the former campaign by protesters to lift the sanctions on Iraq has transformed into an esprit de corps of the people of the world, demonstrated by a rejection of aggression against Iraq by millions of demonstrators on all continents. As this is happening, the American Administration of Evil, comprised of arrogant criminals and warmongers who are aggressors and enemies of humanity and peace, has been cornering itself in even greater international isolation. This U.S. isolation in the face of massive demonstrations has reached the point of presenting a proper opportunity to refuse the American fleecing of the world and to stop Washington’s frantic effort to intensify its aggression against Iraq and prolong the extension of sanctions. These efforts, as we know, are a way of achieving its aggressive plans of achieving hegemony over Iraq and to plundering its oil and beneficial resources.

Rejecting aggression on Iraq and lifting the sanctions on its people are the same issue, and the situation necessitates not dividing the two. This is because in reality the sanctions constitute a page in the book of aggression. They create a condition in which their results penalize and harm the people of Iraq. The American “Administration of Evil” has used the sanctions as a weapon of social decimation and a means of achieving its political and economic imperial goals. Yet the intifada of the peoples of the world, taking the form of demonstrations of millions of humanity in the majority of the capitals and principal cities of the world, means that general international opinion has been freed from the misrepresentation by American media in the West. The campaign of slander and accusations promoted by the administration of criminals and warmongers in Washington no longer dictates the description of events to the ears of the world. In this new atmosphere, the legal and moral right of Iraq to receive an end to sanctions is exceptionally clear, as is the fact that the silence over this crime of the century has happened by Washington’s covering it behind a curtain of deceit made from a fabric of accusations veiling the truth from the international public.

From today onward, the argument must be made that the truth about Iraq’s compliance was made clear before the Security Council. The opportunities for counteraction to thwart the American assault have multiplied. All of this stipulates action and energy by the Security Council to forbid further aggression and discharge its duties and legal and moral commitments vis-à-vis Iraq. The global climate today also calls for action by the United Nations, using its mandatory powers and authority to achieve international peace, security, and justice and implementing the by-laws of the U.N. Charter and international law with respect to international relations.

Furthermore, there should be a rectification by the Security Council. It has been demonstrated that Iraq has fulfilled its commitments pursuant to Section C of Resolution 687, and there has been energetic and sincere cooperation with the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency and UNMOVIC, evidence of implementation of U.N. requirements, a certification of its sincerity, and all signs point to the fact that Iraq has completely removed weapons of mass destruction. These facts must be met by a recognition of the legal and moral rights of Iraq and be corrected by lifting the brutal sanctions from Iraq’s people and halting the human misery that has been caused by the sanctions’ continuation.