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Saturday, 20 January, 2001, 19:22 GMT
Iraq: Should sanctions remain 10 years on?

It is now ten years since the Gulf War began, yet UN imposed sanctions on Iraq still remain.

But the sanctions regime is crumbling despite American and British efforts to maintain it. Imported consumer goods are finding their way into Iraqi shops. Humanitarian flights continually defy attempts to isolate the country.

Britain and United States insist that sanctions should remain in place until Iraq proves it has no weapons of mass destruction.

Should sanctions remain in place? Have they damaged Saddam Hussein's regime? Or have they only led to hardship for the population? HAVE YOUR SAY

We Iraqis will remember not to forget the crimes committed against us by the modern day criminals

FM Hadad, Baghdad, Iraq
We, the Iraqis don't care any more whether you lift the sanctions or not, one thing we Iraqis should and will remember not to forget nor to forgive are the crimes committed against us by the modern day criminals using a combination of bombs and the hidden bomb called sanctions to destroy a nation rich in history, values and blessed with oil by God and cursed by those who hate humanity but worship greed.
FM Hadad, Baghdad, Iraq

I think that the sanctions should be lifted because it only harms the Iraqi people and children not the persons who were responsible as they don't suffer but only their nation so these sanctions are useless and should lifted immediately.
Wafaa Youssef Eid, Egypt

Why punish the innocent people of Iraq? 10 years of sanctions, what could we, the so-called "civilized socity" gain? In my opinion, it is the most cruel action when children and poor citizens suffer from such war related actions. The international community should arrive at a more humanitarian mode of action with respect to the innocent people of Iraq. Punish Saddam if he and his govt allies are guilty, but remember: history never forgives us for each death of innocent children in Iraq. Stop sanctions at the earliest.
Shajan John, Turkmenistan

Iraq still has a powerful military force that will just get more powerful if we remove sanctions. This is something we cannot do as long as Iraq is under Hussein or any of his family. We have seen before what he is capable of and he will never work with NATO to make any real lasting peace. We are going to have to keep sanctions in place as well as having a military force based around Iraq in some sort of effort to stop that whole area falling into a war again. That is the role of NATO at this time and if sanctions are part of this then so be it.
Ed Hobday, England

We feel compassionate only when it suits us

Alex Zomaya, UK
We in the West sometimes have total disregard to the welfare and suffering of people of the Third World, we feel compassionate only when it suits us - "Live Aid" etc. No one believes that the US is the champion of democracy for the Middle Eastern region. No one also believes now that Iraq is a threat to the region, in the 80s it was with our over-generous military help that created the war machine that brought about the war with Iran and invasion of Kuwait. Enough, we should not be so vindictive.
Alex Zomaya, UK

There are no easy and tidy solutions regarding Iraq. Remove the sanctions and we'll see a resurgence of Saddam's power like the world has never seen before. Keep them in place, and the poorest of Iraq suffer. There will be a new day to bring Saddam down, but in the meantime, there is little the West can do. Now finally with the removal of Mr. Clinton from office, there is a chance for new opportunities to end Saddam's regime.
Stephen Kenney, USA

I believe that sanctions on Iraq are not only kept for political reasons. Surely the sanctions give the western world a stronger position in the Middle East, but it also removes a very annoying and important outsider from the oil market.
Hugo Milants, Belgium

I say the sanctions should stay. Saddam and his cohorts should be made to pay for what they did and what they are still doing. We should not show any form of weakness. The man has to learn.
Steven Downie, Leeds, UK

Yes! It's about time that US and European countries start living up to their so-called humanitarian" title and help end the suffering of poor people of Iraq. Enough is enough - politicians of US and UK needs to work on their long lost morals. The Gulf War just a conspiracy to get US and UK's handle on Kuwaiti and Saudi Oil, which not many people are aware of or they don't care to know.
Derek Jobs, USA

Before the Gulf War the West knew of Saddam's human rights violations but didn't care. Then Kuwait was invaded and the West's oil supply was threatened. Now sanctions have weakened Iraq so much that it has to give oil in exchange for essential food and medical supplies. Iraq only gets a fraction of what it would get for the oil normally. The West knows that exploiting Iraq like this is a cheap way to get oil. This is capitalism at its worst. Profits seem to be more important than people. The sanctions must be stopped now because innocent civilians are suffering.
Rich, UK

Sanctions against Iraq for "violating UN resolutions" should stay in place only if another major violator of UN resolutions in the Middle East- Israel - is subjected to the same. As it would clearly be unpalatable for the US to impose sanctions on one of its own allies irrespective of the crimes they commit then Iraq should be released as well.
Dave Whyte, UK

The sanctions are mostly a show put on by the US and UK - they really don't want Saddam Hussein to go, otherwise there would be no excuse to keep their troops in oil-rich, democracy-poor Kuwait and Saudi-Arabia. It's a shame though, that innocent Iraqis are made to suffer so that these two countries can play their geopolitical games.
M. M. Zaman, UK in US

Do we honestly believe that the UN could not re-impose them if he began misbehaving again

Gerry, Scotland
Saddam Hussein still lives in luxury, his people on the other hand are dying from simple, treatable diseases. In humanities sake lift the sanctions. Do we honestly believe that the UN could not re-impose them if he began misbehaving again.
Gerry, Scotland

As if living under a ruthless dictator for over 20 years, enduring two wars and continual unrest and hardship was not enough, the Iraqi people are slowly and silently being killed off by starvation, malnutrition and disease caused by the sanctions. How can they begin to overthrow the government if the only thing on their mind is whether their child will survive the next day? The sanctions are the best thing Saddam could ever hope for.
Eva Shamouel, UK

The tyrant is still very much there

Graeme, England
Andrew Ducker, in his potted history, forgot to mention that after WW2 the tyrant who started it all was dead and the new leadership had no more designs on the rest of Europe. This is not the case in Iraq. The tyrant is still very much there, and still has the same designs.
Graeme, England

Medical aide does get through to Iraq - this is not part of the sanctions. Food also gets through and is also not part of the sanctions. Sanctions prohibit the importation of any materials that may be used to develop weapons. Iraq is denying its people food and medical supplies not those countries who still uphold sanctions!!!
Jonathan Brock, UK

Are those people who are now so loudly opposed to sanctions upon principle the same people who, before 1994, demanded the toughest possible sanctions against South Africa? Just a thought...
Henry Case, UK

Perhaps some basic aid could go straight to the people?

Ben, England
I think that this is quite childish. The idea behind sanctions was that the suffering of people would force Saddam Hussein to give in. However this will not work as he does not care at all about what is going on with the people. This is just going to continue. Perhaps some basic aid could go straight to the people?
Ben, England

If the purpose of the sanctions was to destroy Iraq then this has been achieved. If the purpose was to create an alternative political system in Iraq then they have failed. Whatever their purpose, it is time to lift the sanctions.
Ahmad Kharaz, UK

How come The UN and the whole world are against Iraq because of its weapons, but no-one talks about Israeli weapons and what they have done to Syria and Lebanon?
Frank, France

On behalf of an Iraqi who was only 11 when the Gulf War started, this is his daily prayer;

'God please make me forget those days that are still haunting me now.
The loud blasts, the bombs, the horror, the dead children!'

He is now 21, no education, no goal, No-one can support him, even the West has abandoned him through sanctions. We have to help the Iraqi people by lifting sanctions so that they can have the chance to overcome evil !!
L. Tamir, UK

The time for sanctions passed years ago

I. N. Dyson, UK
The time for sanctions passed years ago. Now it's clear that innocent Iraqis are the only people being punished and not the Iraqi dictatorship. Iraqi society is being dismantled from healthcare to education. No society should be expected to accept this in the 21st century because they are unable to overthrow a dictatorship on their own.
I. N. Dyson, UK

Every country is entitled to protect itself. Would the UK or US willingly destroy its own 'weapons of mass destruction' for the advancement of world peace? I think not. The sanctions have nothing to do with what Saddam is doing and everything to do with the fact that here is a man giving the US the 2 fingered salute.
N. Akram, UK

By all means lift the sanctions on humanitarian goods, but keep them on exports, and on imports of weaponry. The Western powers are creating a problem for themselves in future years, as the people of Iraq will not forget nor forgive easily the starvation and sickness that was forced on them by the West.
Philip Mcardle, England

Most of our relatives have left Iraq. This is because life there is nowhere as splendid as it was years ago. My parents remember when living in Iraq was not as hard as it is today. I find it ironic that sanctions are being imposed and as a result basically condemning people to death. Yet the people who imposed them criticise war. A political war - that is all this is.
Rafie Hannona, Scotland, UK (originally Assyrian Iraqi)

Saddam and his cronies can easily protect themselves

Mark B, UK
Let's have a look at the position of the average Iraqi. They got bombed by the West, had sanctions imposed by the West and receive propaganda condemning the West. Even if they blamed Saddam rather than the West, they will not rebel because they know that they would get imprisoned, gassed or shot. Meanwhile Saddam and his cronies can easily protect themselves from the worse effects of sanctions and still maintain their position. Sanctions are not overthrowing Saddam, so what are they there for?
Mark B, UK

Like Vietnam and Kosovo, Iraq has proved a good dumping ground for excess US weapons to make room for shiny new ones. The sanctions have brought Saddam to his knees (where he joins the equally humble Fidel) and should now be lifted to enable important facilities to be built, such as hotels and fast food outlets. Maybe G.W. has already taken the first step and asked his advisors to find out where Iraq actually is.
Mark, Austria

I agree with Andrew Ducker, Scotland. Perhaps some of the people who want the sanctions to stay should think about nearly a whole generation of children so undernourished that their intelligence is likely to be severely restricted. Is that the point of the sanctions?
Pat Bradbury, UK

The sanctions were put on Iraq for a reason

Nadav, Israel
The sanctions were put on Iraq for a reason, a very special reason. They shouldn't be removed until Saddam is gone and someone else replaces him. Iraq is a threat to the whole world, not only the Middle East.
Nadav, Israel

Those who want to maintain sanctions should remember that, 40 years after the Cuban revolution, Castro is still in power. Are we ready to face killing innocent Iraqis for another thirty years?
Jamil Farah, France

Sanctions are an easy way for politicians to pretend they are doing something without the possible bad publicity of action. Sanctions have strengthened Saddam, the same way that they have strengthened Castro in Cuba.
DominiConnor, UK

I am firmly convinced that as long as there is a possibility of Iraq having a stockpile of germ warfare and other globally destructive arms in place, sanctions should continue.
Alfred J. Howard, USA

There is a sure way in which sanctions could be lifted immediately and unconditionally

Oliver Kamm, UK
There is a sure way in which sanctions could be lifted immediately and unconditionally. It is for Saddam Hussein to comply at last with what the United Nations requires of him and cease to threaten Israel, his Arab neighbours and his own people with weapons of mass destruction. The silence of the supposed 'peace' campaigners on Iraq's military capability speaks for itself.
Oliver Kamm, UK

Sanctions only hurt the little guy, never the ones in control. They should be ended.
David Speight, USA

Plus points: He is still not militarily capable of launching a major campaign and Israel has not yet turned into a radioactive desert despite his best efforts. The minus points are clear to see.
Alex Banks, Wales/ living in Sweden

Sanctions should remain in place

Andrew Kelly, UK
Yes, sanctions should remain in place. Iraq can sell oil in order to purchase food and medical supplies. The fact that they divert the funds elsewhere is not the fault of the UK and US governments.
Andrew Kelly, UK

After WW1 we imposed sanctions on Germany. The result was economic catastrophe, resentment and WW2. After WW2, we helped Germany rebuild and made it into a friend and partner. The result has been peace and beneficial results for all of Europe. Now, what effect do we want to have on Iraq?
Andrew Ducker, Scotland

Of course sanctions should stay in place, otherwise what was the point of going to war against Saddam in the first place? People have short memories. They seem to forget that he invaded Kuwait and would have done the same to Saudi Arabia then the Gulf States.
Tony Costello, UK

The sanctions, although absolutely necessary at the time, are now failing to achieve their initial aim. Rather they are inhibiting everyday civilians, which is causing more harm than good. Sanctions are certainly outdated at best and they should be lifted. No one seriously believes that Iraq has not developed weapons for 10 years do they?
Paul Hurst, UK

There can be little doubt that sanctions are hurting ordinary Iraqis

John B, UK
There can be little doubt that sanctions are hurting the ordinary Iraqis with whom we have no grievance and utterly failing in their stated aim of preventing Saddam from rebuilding his military might. However, to back down now would result in Saddam gaining popularity and respect in the Arab world which would also not necessarily be a good thing. If we want Saddam out so badly we should have done the job properly when we had a chance. Since we were unable or unwilling to deal with it then it is hardly fair that ordinary Iraqis are denied a life.
John B, UK

Under sanctions, the Iraqi economy has collapsed. Once a complex industrial economy collapses, the public health infrastructure goes too. Then to keep some of the people alive, you have to treat a country of 22 million people like a giant refugee camp. It hasn't worked. It's killing people - that's why the last 2 UN officials in charge of the humanitarian programme have resigned. Most Iraqis I've met hate Saddam and sanctions equally. We've got to lift non-military sanctions right now.
Chris Williams, UK

Absolutely not. These sanctions are an affront to civilisation. Saddam, whatever you think of him, remains. Sanctions have had no effect whatsoever on his grasp of power. In fact, they have only served to bolster what little popular support he has, whilst the people suffer. The sanctions are nothing but a political tool of the US, both internally and externally.
Idris Ahmad, UK

The sanctions on Iraq have only hurt the people of Iraq and especially the weak in Iraqi society like children and the elderly. The effects of the sanctions on Mr Hussein are marginal at best. He still remains the sole powerbroker in Iraq and the sanctions will not do anything about that. It would be better to lift sanctions, let the people of Iraq regain their strength and then maybe they will get rid of him.
Jose Fernandez, Netherlands

Let's judge sanctions from the point of view of the results: the Iraqi people's condition is worsening through starvation and the dictator is reinforcing his power. I have the impression that the Occidental action, under the flag of democracy, is only to hide other interests (petrol?).
Riccardo Ciavolella, Italy

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01 Dec 00 | Middle East
Eyewitness: Bitter legacy of sanctions
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