Subject: PressInfo 50, Negotiate a Sanctions Lifting Plan With Iraq
From: Transnational Foundation TFF <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 10:33:24 +0200
P r e s s I n f o # 50 November 13, 1998
cock-fight between Tariq Aziz and Richard Butler is pathetic beyond words.
The easy argument, held by Washington and its allies and uncritically
promoted in leading media, is that Iraq must be punished for suspending
cooperation with UNSCOM albeit it continues it with IAEA. But this whole
inspection enterprise is founded on logical contradictions, and it is
intellectually and ethically flawed. After years of inspection and
sanctions, no solution is in sight, because there can be no solution down
THIS road. The West never thought of how to end this conflict, and without
a sanctions lifting plan, it's bound to produce more violence and create
ever more hate against the Western world," states Dr. Jan Oberg, director
1) UNSCOM searches not only for weapons of mass destruction but for the
capacity to manufacture them. It looks for agents, components, research,
development and manufacturing of materials necessary to produce the agents.
Potentially every corner of the Iraqi society can be inspected as alleged
chemical and biological weapons (CBW) sites are (also) civilian sites such
as breweries, hospitals, fertilizer and pesticide plants, pharmaceutical
industries, laboratories etc. It will always be debatable what is produced
for civilian and for military purposes - if the distinction can be made.
2) It will NEVER be possible for UNSCOM to declare that there is not a
single gram of material left in Iraq that can be used for (later)
production of mass destructive weapons. Biological substances in particular
can be hidden in small quantities on the ground, moved around constantly or
deposited underground. Thus there is an argument for permanent inspection,
motivated by 'assumptions', 'suspicion', 'indications' or 'reasons to
believe' that some Iraqis hide something somewhere. Furthermore, whatever
Iraq wants to hide, it can hide somewhere abroad.
3) Even if we imagine that UNSCOM would one day declare Iraq free of all
weapons, materials and capacities and even if this could be empirically
verified as true, Iraq could - and most likely would - make a decision to
start from scratch again. Expert knowledge can not be destroyed by
4) Thus, neither the UN nor the US can state clearly what the exact
criteria are for Iraq to get the sanctions lifted. On October 30, the UN
Security Council again failed to mention that sanctions could be negotiated
or partially lifted, for instance in proportion to compliance and
verification. No positive incentive, as seen by the Iraqis, exists. UNSC
resolution 687 has so many demands, also beyond Articles 8 to 13, that
something could always be brought up to prevent the lifting of sanctions.
5) According to UN reports, the sanctions have directly and indirectly
already killed more than 1 million Iraqi citizens, while the Iraqi elite
continues to live in luxury; WHO estimates that 250 to 300 people die per
day in 1998. No aim, not even the wish to prevent proliferation of of
nuclear and other mass destructive weapons, can justify this. Rather, given
the social and political structure of the conflict, sanctions has become a
mass destructive, genocidal weapon over these eight years.
6) The five permanent members of the UN Security Council are nuclear
weapons states and have no intentions to become nuclear-free. The United
States alone has some 10,000 intact warheads that will be unaffected by
START I and II which prescribe only the destruction of launchers, not
warheads. As long as this is so, there will ALWAYS be nuclear 'have-nots'
who will try to join the club.
7) Iraq has neither tested nor used nuclear weapons. The United States has
used and numerous times threatened the use of nuclear weapons since 1945.
India and Pakistan went nuclear in May and Israel is known to have all it
takes to go nuclear. India and Pakistan was punished by economic sanctions,
but President Clinton has now decided to lift most of them already,
allegedly because Pakistan faced a financial collapse and would
consequently be unable to pay its international debt. Not only will
Pakistan obtain new loans and a debt restructuring agreement with IMF,
Pentagon will also resume military training programs in both countries. So
much for the principle of equal treatment of threshold and de facto nuclear
countries by the UN and Washington.
8) What triggered off the whole crisis was Iraq's aggression against
Kuwait. Between 1945 and that event, some forty cases of aggression had
taken place, most of them without being brought before the Security
Council, including Saddam Hussein's popular invasion of Ayatollah
Khomeini's Iran. The United States a few months ago committed a unilateral
act of aggression by sending some 70 cruise missiles against Sudan,
Pakistan and Afghanistan allegedly to defeat terrorists who were one
supported by CIA. It defended the act by reference to Article 51 in the
UN Charter about the right to self-defence. It also leads the planning of
an attack against Yugoslavia in support of militant Kosovo-Albanian
secessionism. And Turkey regularly invades Iraqi territory with impunity.
9) The United States and its allies have so far been conspicuously unable
to explain convincingly their goals and priorities. Neither do they seem
willing to identified where these goals may conflict or undermine each
other: Does this whole enterprise aim to prevent Iraq forever from
acquiring mass destructive weapons? Or just delay that event? If so, why
only Iraq? Is the real purpose to topple Saddam Hussein and install some
other leadership? To which extent is the Iraqi policies a consequence of US
'management' of the Israeli-Palestine-Arab conflict - and how does
activities against Iraq vary with the Middle East 'peace' process? Is the
free flow of oil, rather, the real issue? Is this a moral crusade against a
'rogue' state, an 'evil regime'? A variation on the theme of Christianity
versus Islam? Is it part of what George Bush at the time called the new
10) Ambassador Butler and others repeatedly refer to Security Council
resolutions as "law" and that Iraq must keep what it has promised. However,
Security Council members have repeatedly chosen not to abide by these laws
or enforce them with friends when they saw fit. Furthermore, if one studies
Resolution 687 of April 3, 1991, it can certainly be argued that it was
formulated, in the heat of the moment, more to punish Iraq by stockpiling
demands and dictates than to serve as a blueprint for fair cooperation that
could lead, in the future, to Iraq's 'rehabilitation' in the eyes of the
Says Jan Oberg: "Saddam Hussein is a murderous tyrant. But this can not
forever be used as cover-up for fundamental, logical inconsistencies, lack
of policy and for so many double standards. They are
THE STUFF OUR BOMB THREATS ARE MADE OF. They give the Iraqi government
surprisingly many points in the 'debate'. And bombing a military dwarf who
can't threaten yourself is hardly a sign of statesmanship or wisdom. It's
intellectual and moral bankruptcy.
Just think of any young Iraqi boy or girl at the age of 15 or 20 today.
What will they have learnt about the United States and the West? Some of
their relatives have suffered or died, they themselves have been victims of
sanctions - and Iraqi propaganda - for a good half of their lives. Their
wish to become part of the 'modern world' has turned into hate, into
potential future terrorism. The West is producing enemies and "clashes of
civilisations" for the future. When Saddam Hussein, Bill Clinton and Tony
Blair are all gone, the rest of us will have to live with the consequences
of their deeds. Bombings will not provide the West with a better policy. It
will not make Saddam Hussein or the Iraqi people come our way. Psychology
and the world just don't work that way. And the bombing threat is not much
of a deterrent to a state that has been virtually disarmed and in which
sanctions kill 300 civilians per day - something bombings hopefully will
The profound mistake since 1991 has been to see inspection as a one-way
street. The Iraqis saw it as punishment, as dictates. But inspection
requires cooperation, mutual trust. The Iraqis must be convinced that we
are only there to halt the proliferation of mass destructive weapons AND
that we do likewise with any threshold state while striving to become
nuclear-free ourselves. But they cannot possible trust the US/West on that.
The West, on its side, must be able to trust that the Iraqis do not cheat.
We have no certainty of that and, without changing our policy, it is
unlikely that we ever will.
What is needed now is a plan that lifts some of the sanctions as a reward
for what Iraq has complied with up till now and which defines the steps for
lifting the rest. Iraq needs to trust the West AND the West is dependent on
trusting Iraq. That's where conflict-resolution begins. And from there we
can hope to achieve reconciliation between all the parties in the future,"
concludes Jan Oberg.
=A9 TFF 1998
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Dr. Jan Oberg
Director, head of the TFF Conflict-Mitigation team to the Balkans and Georgi=
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