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Sunday, 17 December, 2000, 17:21 GMT
Should UN sanctions against Iraq be lifted?

In a row with the UN, Iraq has suspended oil exports, demanding a surcharge to be paid into an Iraqi-controlled bank account.

The United Nations, which allows Iraq to sell oil to purchase food and medical supplies, says this would contravene sanctions imposed after the Gulf War 10 years ago.

Iraq has become increasingly confident over the past few months amid widening cracks in the sanctions regime, with an increasing number of countries resuming flights to Baghdad.

Should sanctions remain in place as long as the dispute over weapons inspections is unresolved? Or have they only led to hardship for the population?

This Talking Point is now closed. A selection of your e-mails are posted below.

Continue sanctions

Steve Smith, UK
Continue sanctions. It is up to the people of Iraq to rid themselves of the most evil dictator in recent times and then get back into the twenty-first century.
Steve Smith, UK

Lift the sanctions. The UN intervention was complete hypocrisy in the first place, serving US foreign policy. US friendly countries and countries foolish enough to have no oil reserves can behave as badly as they want.
Jonathan Clough, Scotland

I think the sanctions should be lifted ASAP because it's the people of Iraq who are suffering not Saddam Hussein. Let the people of Iraq begin a new life, a life without sanctions.
Abdisamad, USA

I hear time and again about how the ordinary Iraqis are suffering while Hussein and his Baath party sycophants live in luxury. I have a question? If it is SO bad in Iraq why don't the people rise up over throw Hussein?
Bill Brady, UK

Why do so many people blame America for the sanctions against Iraq? They were imposed by the United Nations. I think there is enough money in Iraq for the people to have a decent life, But the Iraqi government spends it on other things. Does anyone remember when they gassed their own people, and when they invaded Kuwait? I think the sanctions should stay until Saddam is removed.
Scott Wylie, UK

They serve no purpose

Sepher Irani, USA
The United States and many Western countries protected and gave Iraq the weapons they now call "weapons of mass destruction", but now they are all against it. I am just wondering why didn't the UN put sanctions against Iraq when they actually used the weapons against Iranian soldiers and the poor Kurds. The sanctions should stop because they serve no purpose, except killing poor Iraqis and helping Saddam.
Sepher Irani, USA

First off, sanctions don't work. They didn't work in Cuba, and they aren't working here. They are just making innocent Iraqis suffer and starve, and creating more animosity towards the US. To think that my government takes money out of my pay-check every week to bomb and starve a whole generation of innocent children makes me ill to my stomach. They can blame Saddam all they want, but he is living in luxury, and the US has to take the blame for helping him create his war machine in the first place. Lift the sanctions and let our Iraqi brothers and sisters live as human beings.
Dean S, United States

After 10 years of sanctions, Saddam is still there

Bakr, Finland
After 10 years of sanctions, Saddam is still there. Now his regime is even more stable, with people's anger directed mainly at the US in particular, and the West in general. 10 years later, Saddam will be replaced by worst Saddams, a generation of Saddams. We all know that Iraq will get away with much more that it has been able to do so far because world oil crises do not permit any more escalation.
Bakr, Finland

The sanctions are still there because of the economic benefits for the USA and UK. No one cares about the suffering of the Iraqi people.
Mike Decelles, USA

The whole Iraq affair has been a farce from start to finish. If the Americans wanted Saddam out, he would be out. However, he currently serves a purpose so that the American public can put a face to so-called Islamic fundamentalism and he also ensures America's presence in the region!
Lysandros, UK

I think the sanctions should be lifted. Why should innocent people die whilst their evil leaders rule?
Isabella Muhamad, UK

Saddam Hussein is a frightened man

Chris (ex-UK), Germany
Saddam Hussein is a frightened man. By constantly defying the world and defying his people, he stands the only chance of survival. He cannot permit the truth to be seen in Iraq, therefore he must withhold all revenues for his own protection, control all state media, and then blame the West.
Chris (ex-UK), Germany

If the purpose of sanctions was to prevent Iraq from producing weapons of mass destruction, it has proved to be ineffective.
Bass Taani, USA

Indeed a great injustice has been committed against the people of Iraq. The time will come when history will repeat itself and America and its allies might be at the wrong end of the stick. Do unto others as you would have them do to you. American never learn though.
Nabeel Hasan, Canada

Yes. It's time to lift the sanctions against Iraq on humanitarian grounds. The innocent people of Iraq should not be punished anymore - 10 years of sanctions is too much.
I.V.Rama Raju, Kuwait

The whole Gulf war was not for the freedom of Kuwait nor was it for the destruction of Saddam's power. It had two main objectives: control the oil resources in the Gulf, and make the Arab world fall in debts to the western countries; destroy a strong military power which may endanger Israel in case of war between Israel and the Arabs. The sanctions are still there because of economical benefits for the USA and UK. No one cares for the suffering of Iraqi people. That is the democracy and human rights principles of western countries.
Ahmad Mokhtar, Lebanon

He does not have to suffer them

Fawaz, UK
It is ok for the likes of "Sayyid Baqir, USA" to call for the sanctions to remain in place, he does not have to suffer them. Nearly ten years of sanctions have done nothing but add to the misery of the Iraqi people, those who don't like Saddam can take their quarrel straight to him, but stop torturing the Iraqi people they have enough to put up with as it is.
Fawaz, UK

Sanctions should be imposed fairly and equally to all errant states irrespective of their relation with USA. If this fairness cannot be achieved, then by definition the sanctions lose their importance and value. Invasions and occupations of land of other counties should be treated the same way as in the case of Kuwait and as such, we should see similar sanction imposed on other well know errant countries some of them so close to the USA.
AG, Japan

What most people seem to forget is that Iraq was such a prosperous country with very high standards of education, health etc. I know because I lived there. This was achieved when Saddam was in power and the world was turning a blind eye on his actions. So why is it his fault now when those standards have deteriorated? Surely the sanctions have something to do with it! I think those sanctions will never be lifted by the so-called UN. Iraq will just have to find a way to break them.
Basil Ghannam, UK

Even without sanctions, the people of Iraq, were dying

Sayyid Baqir, USA
As an Iraqi living in exile, I believe that the sanctions should firmly remain in place. Even without sanctions, the people of Iraq, were dying because of Saddam and his ruthless henchmen. Saddam is the one who is butchering us, please look at the conditions in Northern Iraq. Since the 1991 uprising, Northern Iraq has remained Saddam free, and currently its infant mortality rate, as well as the overall nutritional intake, is greater than it ever was, even before the Gulf War. REMOVE SADDAM and let the Iraqi live in peace and prosperity!
Sayyid Baqir, USA

Sanctions, we are told by the anti-militarists, are preferable to armed conflict. However, in this case, sanctions have done far more harm to the civilian population than would have been the case had the western-led armed forces finished the job when they had the chance. It seems to be another example of avoiding taking tough decisions, preferring instead a more pacifistic response that has ended up hurting the very people it was designed to protect.
Steve, UK

Sanctions should be lifted. The US is upset that someone stood up to them, so children and the sick have to suffer.
John Andersen, Australia

Not only should the illegal sanctions be stopped, but we should also help Iraq clean up all of the depleted Uranium or the Iraqi people may never recover from the war. On a colder note, the U.S. knows that we need allies and stability in the Middle East. The current combination of our alliance with Israel and the toll of the sanctions may do much to shake this New World Order.
Angela, USA

By all means lift the sanctions...As long as Saddam steps down.
Paul Kendrick, England

It's only the Anglo-Saxon alliance of the USA and the UK which, in keeping with the practice of its politicians, refuses to ever admit that it has made a mistake. The USA and UK should agree to end sanctions now before the sanction-busting actions of its allies, including those in the Arab world, make them a laughing stock.

I think it's time to end these sanctions

Laith, Canada
The combination of the Gulf War and the subsequent UN sanctions has meant more than one million Iraqi deaths in the last decade. Over 600, 000 Iraqi children have died, largely due to a lack of clean drinking water, malnutrition, and lack of medicine ("on hold" at the border for its potential use in creating "weapons of mass destruction"). These children continue to die at a rate of between 150-250/day. 70% of Iraqi women suffer from anaemia, resulting in a significant increase in underweight births.

There has been a 4 to tenfold increase in the number of spontaneous abortions, congenital malformations, and leukaemia and other cancers. This probably has something to do with the 300-800 tons of uranium dropped on Iraq during the war. Of course, we cannot be certain since scientists are prevented from testing the ground. Dennis Halliday, ex-coordinator of the UN humanitarian program in Iraq, referred to the oil for food programme as a "policy that satisfies the definition of a genocide." Yes, I think it's time to end these sanctions. They have not weakened Sadam's dictatorship as they were meant to.
Laith, Canada

Yes I think we should keep the sanctions imposed. In fact I don't think they are severe enough. Just because they have the highest infant mortality in the world, they have to learn that if you step out of line with the new world order, you get punished. It also helps to demonstrate to other countries how ruthless we can be, so they also do as they are told.
Daniel, Leicester, England

Never too late to do the right thing. Lift the sanctions now.
Saad Mukhtar, USA

The suffering of the Iraqi people is a terrible thing, but what is at stake here?

Sheila, USA
The suffering of the Iraqi people is a terrible thing, but what is at stake here? I have read the opinions of other readers that the US/ The West has a lot at stake here which is why the sanctions are not being lifted. I hardly call 5% of the fuel consumed by the West, large stakes. How can the US be hoarding oil supplies for a rainy day when it is common knowledge that we only have a 35-day reserve supply? What makes me angry is that the Iraqi people are so brainwashed by Sadam they cannot see who is responsible here. For Sadam to hold back oil is another ploy to see how far he can push the envelope with the West by trying to show the world how evil we are. Isn't the timing a little suspicious with the possibility of G.W. Bush becoming President?
Sheila, USA

I am originally from Iraq. Although, I know just how hurtful the sanctions have been, one must recognise that Sadam could be doing a great deal more to improve conditions in that country. A friend of mine told me that medicine bought through the oil-for-food programme is kept in warehouses until it expires. Another story circulating around is that Uday, Sadam's son is making a fortune by selling this medicine on the black market. Nevertheless, sanctions have to be removed at least to stop Sadam from being able to point at the West and tell the Iraqi people "they are the source of all your pain".
Hassan Abdulrazzak, London, UK

We should take a look at history to see where sanctions have really worked, The US sanctions on Libya, Cuba and Iraq have done nothing but keep these dictators in power while secret meetings are held between those Western power and their dictator friends. Stop killing the young children of the world and lift the sanctions now.
Tony Famurewa, Nigeria

Let us not forget that Sadam and his cronies started the conflict

Mr Alvin Gordon, Jamaica
Let us not forget that Sadam and his cronies started the conflict. He is also in a position to solve this problem. He must never be allowed to get away with what he has done as there are other potential dictators waiting to see if they can also defy the civilised world and get away with it as well.
Mr Alvin Gordon, Jamaica

The UN sanctions should be lifted. The people who are currently suffering are the needy. The UN should not lower itself to the level of Sadam Hussein, but lift the sanctions. If he causes problems again, this time, "finish the job against him", but not against his suffering people.
Phil W, UK

I would like to correct a misimpression repeated here and many other places. UN Resolution 1284, passed last December, does not ease sanctions. It temporarily suspends them for brief intervals. Each suspension must be independently passed by the Security Council where the veto of one of the permanent members can prevent the suspension. No standard for such a veto is included in the resolution; it can be entirely political. Oil extractors will not be eager to invest in Iraq under these conditions of uncertainty.
Carolyn Scarr, USA

Sanctions aren't hurting the people as they allow for food and medical expenses. Sadam is pulling in more money today than before the sanctions went into place. He has the funds and the means to spend them on his people. If his people are suffering, Sadam's to blame, not the sanctions. Asserting that the sanctions are harmful to the people demonstrates remarkable ignorance.
Thomas, USA

Yes, sanctions affect the people and this is unfair. However, Saddam Hussein can lift them at any time by co-operating, or the people could rise against him. Either way, they have a choice. There is also no alternative. How else can we stop Hussein?
Mike, England

I find it laughable that the UN and USA is so obsessed with the so- called military capability of Iraq. Let's not forget that Pakistan became a nuclear power a couple of years back. If I remember correctly the USA said it was "concerned" at this latest nuclear escalation when Pakistan conducted their first nuclear test. What about the potential threat of a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan over Kashmir? That's a more real possibility than the impoverished Iraq posing a threat to anyone.

Sanctions on Iraq imposed by the UN have only succeeded in causing the suffering of innocent people while Iraq's military power has long since been extinguished.
Tim, France

Are we still waiting for a death tally that is high enough to "move" us westerners?

Somi, Manchester, UK
It is time that the sanctions were lifted, or are we still waiting for a death tally that is high enough to "move" us westerners? Saddam may be bad but his people are not, so they like every other citizen in every other country in the world should NOT pay the price!!! YES his people support him, any wonder? The so-called peace promoters, are doing "sorties" on them, hardly a way to win the hearts of an already weak population!

Finally, we all tend to condemn the fact that Saddam "may" (note please) use nuclear warheads etc but correct me if I am wrong, there is only ONE country is the world that has ever done so, and Oh if it isn't America, who surprisingly are at the forefront of this ongoing battle!
Somi, Manchester,UK

Even after World War II, Germans with all their atrocities were not starved to death, then why Iraqis. I really can't see my Iraqi brothers and sisters die just because they lived under a wrong leadership.
Sundar, India

I am against sanctions on Iraq and am truly sorry for the suffering they are causing on the common people in Iraq. You would think that after seeing sanctions fail in ousting Cuba's leader after all these years the US government would get a clue.
Steve Kinniburgh, USA

Iraq was, ten years ago, the most modern nation, the most economically and militarily, advanced nation, in the Arab world - a nation that was becoming a real challenge to the Western ruled regional economic order and especially the orderly politics of oil. For this, above all, she paid the price. About five thousand children still die a month, from malnutrition born illnesses, and contaminated water, and Iraq's progressed civilization now systematically and determinedly, pushed back many years.

So what have sanctions served, except to make the sanctioned nation more determined to be a formidable power? The U.S., to save face, is allowing the sanctions to be broken, bit by bit, but 10 years of growing hate will not be broken. GET CIVILIZED AND LIFT THE SANCTIONS NOW
Angie Carlson,U.S.A.

Two wrongs do not make a RIGHT

M Kamal, UK
We are going to stop that Saddam from using weapons of mass destruction against his people by ummmm... using sanctions of mass destructions against his people! Two wrongs do not make a RIGHT.
M Kamal, UK

The sanctions are having an appalling effect on innocent Iraqi civilians, but I don't see what else the West can do. I am prepared to consider ways that sanctions could be rethought to ease the situation, but wholesale lifting of sanctions is not the answer. If only we'd got rid of Saddam nine years ago, this would never have happened.
CNS, Durham, England

The USA has perpetrated the myth of Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction" in order to consolidate it's military power in a politically and economically strategic region. The USA is governed only by self-interest, and the establishment of total hegemony over the world and its resources. As a result the people of Iraq must suffer and die until the rest of the world wakes up and lets go of the coat-tails of the US. I would suggest that we have more to fear from the weapons of mass destruction amassed by the USA.
Sahida Riaz,UK

This is another human shield to allow weapon development to continue

Chris, Britain
I agree with Ahmed, an Arab life worth no less than any other but it is Saddam who must recognise this. This is another human shield to allow weapon development to continue and it is clear that Sadam knows the backlash the suffering he allows will evoke
Chris, Britain

I think we should lift the sanctions and just let nature take its course. Of course the rest of the Arab world will be asking us to come back when SCUDs loaded with anthrax start landing in their countries. Personally, I think we should stay out of it.
Dave, USA

Sanctions must stay in place until Iraq is certified in having abandoned weapons of mass destruction. The peace of the region depends on it.
James Connell, USA

During the early Bush years, Saddam was "our kinda guy". Under the Reagan and Bush administrations we sold Iraq weapons and mines and supported Sadam in his war on Iran. He was our kinda Arab, doing what we wanted, and everything was fine. Now, he is an enemy and a world threat. How can he be a threat when he couldn't even defeat Iran with US and Russian backing? The Gulf War was a slaughter. Sadam isn't a danger, except at the gas station. Our "National Interest" is at stake here, i.e. oil. That is the real reason we bomb Iraq every week and all this talk about the US and the UK being there to protect regional security is propaganda.
Benjamin Harkema, USA

Stop the genocide!

Ornella Sangiovanni, Italy
Yes, sanctions on Iraq must be lifted immediately and without conditions. No more killing of innocents in the name of the UN. Stop the genocide!
Ornella Sangiovanni, Italy

The biggest mistake in this whole scenario was when the allied forces did not get rid of this maniac. Sanctions are a tool in the hand of the US to contain Sadam but the real tragedy is that ordinary people are suffering. The Western powers have a game to play and at this point as per their calculation Sadam is still needed.
Unknown, USA

Yes, and no. It's true that sanctions are a blunt instrument and that the Iraqi people as a whole are suffering from them. However, they are also thwarting the ambitions of that repellent regime which is now clearly desperate to get them lifted. Suspending their own oil exports shows just how desperate they are. One has to adopt schoolboy tactics and language when dealing with this regime - it is incapable of responding to anything else.
Simon, Norway

Iraq has recently been allowed to sell oil again for the purposes of obtaining humanitarian goods (medicines, food etc) which in any sensible country would be put to good use. Lifting sanctions would merely allow money to flow into the Iraqi coffers from where it would be spent on rebuilding the Iraqi war machine. If Sadam really cared about his people he would use every penny on improving conditions for them inside the country and not on nuclear, biological and conventional weapons research. Also, lifting the sanctions now would send the signal that the international community has accepted Iraq back into the fold - this is not the kind of message we should be sending to a murderous, unscrupulous and unstable regime.
Matthew Salter, London, UK

The USA has perpetrated the myth of Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction" in order to consolidate it's military power in a politically and economically strategic region. The USA is governed only by self interest, and the establishment of total hegemony over the world and it's resources. As a result the people of Iraq must suffer and die until the rest of the world wakes up and lets go of the coat-tails of the US. I would suggest that we have more to fear from the weapons of mass destruction amassed by the USA.
Sahida Riaz, UK

The genocidal sanctions against Iraq have proven itself, with the death of thousands of innocent civilians, far removed from the actions of their President Saddam, a stooge to the West! The lifting of criminal sanctions is long overdue!!
Nurah, South Africa

There will only be peace in gulf when Americans (CIA) will be out. They create problems and then solve them their own way.
M Khalid Khan, India

What people forget is that the sanctions on Iraq have led to the deaths of thousands of innocent children. As John Pilger pointed out in a recent documentary even morphine which is essential for the treatment of pain in cancer cases is banned ! Even the old apartheid regime in Pretoria did not have to put up with such excesses ! The Iraqi people have suffered enough. It is time for the U.N, and more specifically two members of the 'big 5' in the Security Council (USA & GB) to forget their so called 'special interests', both political and economic, and start having a special interest in saving the lives of innocent people and start re building their country. While we're at it could someone please remove the power of veto from the big five altogether!
Nikki Squires, Australia

Scott Ritter, the US Marine officer who headed the UNSCOM inspection team in Iraq has condemned the sanctions as a cruel, ineffective, and unnecessary policy which punishes the innocent children of Iraq. Denis Halliday and Hans Von Sponeck who headed the UN Oil-for-Food program in Iraq both resigned in protest at the cruelty imposed on the Iraqi children by the sanctions policy. Russia, France, Jordan, and other Middle Eastern Arab countries have defied the UN imposed sanctions. Does the US and Britain need more proof than this.
Ralph Sato, United States

Sanctions should only be lifted when Saddam Hussein proves that he has no nuclear or chemical weapons

M. Bailey, Belgium
However sorry we feel for the Iraqi people, lifting sanctions might well put the whole of the rest of the world in danger. Sanctions should only be lifted when Saddam Hussein proves that he has no nuclear or chemical weapons. What is he waiting for?
M. Bailey, Belgium

There has been no change in Saddam's position since the end of the war, and therefore there is no reason to lift the sanctions. If the people are suffering then it is their responsibility as citizens to protect the interests of their country and rise up against the person who is responsible. After all, 'people power' has worked in most of Eastern Europe in recent years, and most recently in Serbia - Why not Iraq?
Jonathan, London, UK

The sanctions are a disgrace. They are nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction (the US being the only country in the world ever to have used any). The only point of them is keep the US supplied with cheap foreign oil (while it stock piles its own resources). Denis Halliday in charge with administering the UN policy resigned claiming he could no longer administer an 'immoral and illegal' policy. The UN, perhaps the greatest international organisation ever to have been set up is being consistently abused by the US who have no desire to see any democracy or equality in the world which threatens their power and influence.
James Bason, UK

The sanctions have never proven their effectiveness on the intended goals. Only the economy and the people suffer, while the leaders are still enjoying their lives to the fullest.
Ahmed Hariri, UAE

It's a pity millions of people suffer because of this New World Order

M.Saqib Aftab, Kuwait
USA could not have a better friend in this region than Saddam Hussein. Used him first to stop Islamic revolution in Iran from spreading across the Gulf countries and then to finally gain control over the Gulf countries by establishing military bases in the name of saving these countries from Iraqi aggression. It's a pity millions of people suffer because of this New World Order.
M.Saqib Aftab, Kuwait

Absolutely yes. Three cheers for France for sending a passenger jet to Baghdad along with humanitarian aid. I hope this sets a precedent. Are they the only people on Earth who realize sanctions on Iraq are torturing the innocent Iraqi civilians and do nothing to promote peace and safety in the region?
Steve Woodruff, USA

Would it not hurt the government more if sanctions were lifted, so they couldn't blame the West for it's problems?

Peter Keating, UK
As has already been said sanctions hurt the people not the government, would it not hurt the government more if sanctions were lifted, so they couldn't blame the West for it's problems, eventually allowing the people in their own time to revolt when they are good and ready and confident enough.
Peter Keating, UK

The sanctions only affect the people, specifically the children of Iraq, while Saddam lives in his luxury palaces. It is quite clear that sanctions hurt the poor masses in Iraq. They should end now.
Mohammed Khan, UK

Why should 22 million people pay for the mistakes of one person? If Saddam's policies are not compatible with that of the USA, should the innocent Iraqi people pay for it? or are these the rules for the so called new World Order: You either play along and bow your head to the USA or have your country bombed! Starving the Iraqi people is a crime against humanity and the sanctions should be lifted immediately.
Sally Hadad, New York, USA

The sanctions that were imposed on Iraq did not achieve anything except killing innocent people. The sanctions did not harm the Iraqi regime at all. So what is the purpose of these sanctions? Is it to punish innocent people?
Nenos Shemoon, Australia

It is the only instrument we have, short of war, that can be deployed to force change on a despotic regime

Mark M. Newdick, USA/UK
The purpose of sanctions against Iraq is neither hegemony for its own sake or sanctimonious posturing by the West; it is the only instrument we have, short of war, that can be deployed to force change on a despotic regime. It is ironic that when trouble flares, everybody dials "911/999" for the West to come running (financially, militarily or simply diplomatically), but then complain about the noise of the siren! You can't have it both ways ... our blood, riches and effort can be willingly and generously put to your aid, but we're not setting ourselves up to do it forever! Only resolve and unity will rid us all of the Saddam Husseins of this world.
Mark M. Newdick, USA/UK

Yes, sanctions must remain. Yes, the people suffer. Yes, the people of Iraq follow Saddam Hussein like lost sheep. If we don't like Blair we get rid of him, just as we found out with Major during the last election. End of story.
Gareth, UK

After the gulf war the people of Iraq would have overthrown Saddam if the US had not allowed Saddam to fly his helicopter. The US needs Saddam in power so that it can stay in the gulf region and get cheap oil. The US doesn't care about the children or the people of Iraq, its main goal is to get its hand on cheap oil. The US will always try to keep some sort of sanction/restriction on Iraq so that it can justify its troop presence in the region. The only way out of this for the Iraqi people is when there is a revolution in the region especially in Saudi Arabia and the Americans are thrown out.
Ali Raza, Pakistan/USA

Sanctions don't work

William Robertson, South Africa
Sanctions don't work. While the legacy of apartheid is still with us, the damage sanctions did to the country is too. Lift them.
William Robertson, South Africa

There is a big conspiracy behind all these. Saddam Hussein is made a scapegoat. How long will the people suffer? The sanctions are not working. It has become a prestige matter for the so-called Western hegemony to remove Saddam. They are not worried about the people. It will set a bad precedent among the developing nations.
Vishwasbr, India

President Clinton claimed that the sanctions specifically target military developments, and moreover, that Saddam Hussein is starving his own children to incite international sympathy. Can anyone back this up or correct it?
Thomas Brownback, USA

The West should lift the sanctions and begin to realise that an Arab life is worth no less than an American or European life

Ahmed, USA
The sanctions were enforced not to punish a dictator or to limit his power, but rather, to destroy the strength of and demoralise a strong Arab nation. Saddam Hussein could have been taken out of the picture long ago. The West should lift the sanctions and begin to realise that an Arab life is worth no less than an American or European life.
Ahmed, USA

The UN has failed to maintain a neutral role with regard to arms inspections in Iraq. The embargo should have been lifted long ago. Half a million Iraqi children and women died of the embargo. I must say it is a slow and organised genocide planned by the security council of the UN.
Monirul Q. Mirza, Bangladesh/Canada

Whenever we have bad leaders the ones who suffer are the people. So I think it is the time to lift the sanction for the sake of the people.
Ahmed Alinur, USA

The sanctions should be lifted at once, and a comprehensive arms embargo should take their place

John M. Jackson, United States
The United Nations sanctions against Iraq are the first genocide of the 21st century and should be halted at once. The sanctions have already killed over 1.7 million civilians without doing anything to weaken the Saddam Hussein / Baath Party dictatorship in Iraq. The sanctions should be lifted at once, and a comprehensive arms embargo should take their place. All third world dictatorships are dependent on a few industrialized and semi-industrialized nations for their armaments. If the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China would stop exporting arms, the world would be a much better place. Unfortunately, the governments of these nations have always put profits over people, and as long as this continues the world will be plagued by war.
John M. Jackson, United States

The Sanctions have been in effect for ten years now and Saddam is still in power. Obviously, the sanctions are not working. How much longer should the people of Iraq suffer, before the west realizes this.
Ramzi, USA

The ordinary Iraqi people have suffered enough as a result of the sanctions. I think it is time to lift them.
Ahmad Kharaz, UK

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See also:

01 Dec 00 | Middle East
Iraq halts oil exports
01 Dec 00 | Middle East
Analysis: Saddam steps up defiance
26 Sep 00 | Country profiles
Country profile: Iraq
01 Dec 00 | Media reports
Oil exports: The Iraqi statement
30 Nov 00 | Middle East
Iraq rejects new arms inspectors

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