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Foreign Views on Iraq Blockade

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A sampling of commentary regarding U.N. sanctions on Iraq from around the world:

LE MONDE, July 8, 1999:
The current discussions at the Security Council have shown the gap between the United States and Britain on one hand, and France, Russia and China on the other. They attest to the deadlock over Iraq, with nothing to suggest any swift resolution of the problem. Meanwhile, there is a growing dislocation of country and people, with social solidarity eroding, which bodes ill for the future. The U.S. may in the end have its way, but at the cost of destruction and suffering that are likely to affect the region for decades to come.

While sanctions have exacted a horrific toll on most ordinary Iraquis, there is no indication that the regime itself is threatened, nor does it seem to be disturbed by the devastation. . . . There will be no quick solution to this grim situation. If the Security Council can agree on a candidate to head the new inspection team, Iraq will comply only until Mr. Hussein feels the time is right to ratchet up the tension. If the U.N. gives in to him and sets up a diplomatic fig leaf that results in the lifting of sanctions, he will be emboldened. Mr. Hussein has made it clear that he answers to no one.

Four Canadian views to[ward] delinking the military and humanitarian objectives in Iraq:
. A Libya-like solution - the world abandons sanctions but America keeps them. Britain and Canada would be free to show solidarity with Washington. Then let. . . Iraq pump as much oil as it wants. Let it import whatever it needs, but not a single bullet.
. Maintain military sanctions until major human rights abuses end in Iraq. Lift the other sanctions but keep them on Saddam and his coterie through . . . freezing assets, restrictions on travel, banishment from international bodies . . . .
. Targeted sanctions against Saddam and his associates by putting pressure on the Swiss and several smaller offshore financial havens.
. Limit sanctions to military items, tighten export controls in Security Council countries, the principal weapons dealers.

THE FINANCIAL TIMES (London), Feb. 21:
That Iraqi society has suffered is perhaps the only issue on which both sides of the sanctions debate agree. For much of Iraq's foreign-educated middle class, the past decade has been nothing short of an economic disaster. Their professional and business prospects have disappeared as the economy stalls. . . . Some thoughtful Iraqis can be heard wondering whether their country - once the most technologically, intellectually and culturally advanced among Arab gulf states - will ever claim its prewar past. . . . Iraqis are quick to blame the embargo for all the country's ills . . . from a rising crime rate, even in one of the world's most fearsome police states, to fast-spreading corruption, a collapsing infrastructure and the emergence of a class of uneducated nouveaux riches grown fat on the spoils of smuggling, the black market and political patronage.

It has been 10 years now since the sanctions on Iraq were imposed, and as yet, no end is in sight. The latest U.N. attempt to break the impasse was doomed to fail.
Meanwhile, the West seems to be waking up to the fact that Iraq is in the grip of a serious and wide-ranging humanitarian disaster. Seventy members of the U.S. Congress have called for the lifting of the sanctions, citing a direct relationship between the sanctions and the death of more than 1 million civilians.
Their protects, however, are likely to fall on deaf ears. The U.S. and Britain have since December 1998 flown more than 18,844 missions over Iraq.
Their stated aim: removing the regime in Baghdad. Their chance of success: near zero. . . . It stands to the international community to realize the futility of their current course. . . . Enough is enough.