To: TFF PressInfo recipients <>

Subject: PressInfo 50, Negotiate a Sanctions Lifting Plan With Iraq

From: Transnational Foundation TFF <>

Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 10:33:24 +0200


P r e s s I n f o # 50 November 13, 1998

N E G O T I A T E    A    S A N C T I O N S


"The US-Iraqi conflict soap-opera is becoming a civilizational tragedy. The

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

of TFF.

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

world order?

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

not do.

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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