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Yael Haran, Israel
"How possible is it that Saddam Hussein has passed on expertise and weapons to terrorist groups?"
 real 28k

Naji Al-Saidi, Germany
"Can you imagine yourself born as an Iraqi?"
 real 28k

Raad Raleigh, USA
"Don't you think now the world has a morale duty to the people of Iraq to move Saddam out of power?"
 real 28k

Fred Wilcott, USA
"Have you ever tried to enlist other groups like the Arab League?"
 real 28k

Ann Clwyd MP, UK
"Why is it that the UN Security Council has not set up a tribunal?"
 real 28k

Himmat S Ahlawat, Hong Kong
"Don't you feel people should be held accountable for the immense suffering the Iraqi people have gone through?"
 real 28k

Friday, 9 June, 2000, 09:33 GMT 10:33 UK
Is Saddam still a threat?

Nearly ten years after the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein is still in power in Iraq, sanctions are hitting hard and UN weapons inspectors are being refused access to Iraq's weapons programme.

In a new book, Richard Butler, the former UN chief weapons inspector in Iraq, claims Saddam is still trying to make biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. And he says the world has given up trying to stop him.

Do you think Saddam's Iraq is still a threat? Are sanctions still justified? What else can be done?

Richard Butler has been answering your questions on Talking Point On Air.

Clink on the link below to watch and listen to Talking Point On Air

Read what you have said since the programme

Read your comments made during the programme

Read what you said before we went ON AIR

Your comments since the programme

How can the Iraqi people overthrow Saddam when it has been determined by the UN in their own reports that sanctions tie the people to Saddam as he controls all the food, water and health care due to unfair sanctions giving him more power than before
James Clarke, Cardiff, UK



I do agree that Saddam is a threat to the world and his people. However, it does make me wonder what the UN inspection team has been doing for the last 10 years

Javed Khan, UK
Let's admit we got it wrong and put Storming Norman back on the ground to finish the job. Sanctions will only bite when Saddam himself becomes affected. Saddam has no normal feelings and is more concerned with propaganda than his own people.
Gerry Anstey, Bournemouth, England

I firmly believe that sanctions do nothing to pressure Saddam. They only punish innocent citizens. America and the other allied countries should have had the bottle to deal with Saddam at the time of the Gulf War and not embark on this long drawn out sanction process. An alternative capital, ruled by the Iraqi opposition, should be set up within the safe zone where aid and welfare offered to those who need it
Lawrence, Northampton, England

I do agree that Saddam is a threat to the world and his people. However, it does make me wonder what the UN inspection team has been doing for the last 10 years. I think sanctions must be lifted but only for medicine and food.
Javed Khan, UK



Give Iraq food, medicines and full-blown democracy then Saddam will fall

Gerry, Scotland
Iraq deserves a break. Does the West not remember that it was a draconian peace deal forced upon Germany that ignited the flames for the Second World War. Nobody wants to see their country humiliated and forced to completely capitulate and it is our insistence upon this that keeps Saddam in power. Give Iraq food, medicines and full-blown democracy then Saddam will fall.
Gerry, Scotland

To those people who blame the west for sanctions against the Iraqi people; the blame should solely be put on Saddam Hussein himself and no one else! If he is still building biological and chemical weapons then yes his neighbours like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the Western world have every right to be concerned, and yes sanctions should be imposed on them! Saddam Hussien is a powerful dictator, whom himself has violated human rights against his own people, then he fills their minds with propaganda blaming the Americans for their suffering! If sanctions were lifted in Iraq, the wealth would go only to Saddam himself and no one else, allowing the suffering to continue.
Richard, Wales



It is up to the Iraqis to determine their future with no help from outside

Abdulkadir Addow, USA
To start with every leader who leads a nation whether elected, nominated or came to power by force does not enjoy total support of his people. The reality is that Saddam Hussein a leader and should be left alone. It is up to the Iraqis to determine their future with no help from outside. It is neither up to BBC nor ABC; CNN etc. to overthrow a leader in a country whom they think does not meet their interest and should be overthrown by using their powerful propaganda. I feel sorry for the innocent Iraqi people who are suffering not because of Saddam, but corrupt and powerful nations.
Abdulkadir Addow, USA

I love "Talking Point". It allows me to see just how villainous my country is with all of our plots to control everything up to when the sun sets. It makes me wish that we were isolationists and tended only to our own affairs.... Maybe we could just concentrate on a missile defence system¿ WAIT!¿The World thinks that is evil as well! The fact is that the World's economy is inter-dependant and what happens in the World has some impact on everyone. Was Iraq a threat? If you live in Kuwait or Israel - yes. Let's not forget that if Saudi Arabia didn't believe Iraq was a threat, the US would never have been allowed to station troops in that country. Are they still a threat? Probably. Unfortunately, the penalties imposed on Iraq over the last ten years have seem to have had a more severe impact on the people of Iraq than its leaders. If anyone has an easy answer - I'm listening, but walking away doesn't seem to me to be the answer.
Paul, USA



What Saddam does within his own borders is a matter for the Iraqi people and the Iraqi people only

Ed Bayley, USA
Saddam cannot possibly be regarded as being a threat to the West. If he were stupid enough to launch even one missile at Europe or the US, Iraq would be turned to dust almost instantly as a result of the inevitable retaliation.
Why, therefore, are we persisting in the policy of starving a nation to death? It is just not good enough to say that Saddam could have averted his people's suffering by allocating resources to them instead of to the military. The truth is, we can also avert (put a stop to?) humanitarian disaster by lifting the sanctions. We are therefore 50% responsible for the Iraqi people's plight, and if Saddam is not responsible enough to care for his own people, then we must shoulder that responsibility by lifting the sanctions.
What Saddam does within his own borders is a matter for the Iraqi people and the Iraqi people only. If the Iraqis are happy living under such a brutal dictator, then that's their lookout.
Ed Bayley, USA (English)



Saddam Hussein chose to continue to allocate resources to the military, rather than securing the health and wellbeing of his citizens. The blood is clearly on his hands

Jonathan, London, UK
Iraq posed a very serious threat to Kuwait in 1991, and with it, threatened the interests of the West. The West was right to act when it did to defend its interests. While sanctions since the war have clearly not prevented Iraq from continuing to rebuild its military capabilities, or to give up its weapons of mass destruction, the suggestion that the West was in some way responsible for the deaths of Iraqi citizens by using sanctions is extremely short-sighted. Saddam Hussein chose to continue to allocate resources to the military, rather than securing the health and wellbeing of his citizens. The blood is clearly on his hands.
Jonathan, London, UK

We're now witnessing an astonishing tenth year of UN sanctions against Iraq and its people to supposedly protect the world against a "global threat". Iraq is, of course, at fault for doing what it did but aren't the Kuwaitis and leaders of other Middle-Eastern nations also responsible for taking a long-standing conflict to the boiling point that it did. What purpose do we serve as an international community by torturing the entire population of an independent nation for a crime they never committed if not to only satisfy political and economical objectives for other countries?
Alex Marcus, Melbourne, Australia

While Mr Blair and his wife enjoy their new baby, they should spare a thought for the thousands of Iraqi children, not to mention adults, who are dead or dying because of the policies supported by Mr Blair. It is not enough to say that the aim of sanctions is to destroy "His" capability to make war, and to weaken "His" hold on power. "He" is responsible in the final analysis, but "He" is not the only human being in Iraq. Try "Him", certainly but the decent men and women in the West who are acquiescing in the destruction of a people cannot escape responsibility by pleading ignorance.
Kalyan Chatterjee, State College, USA

Although Mr Butler may have done a great job, and might sound very honest and sincere, there is still a great air of doubt on his connections or contacts with the so-called American Masters.
Vijaya Baskar, Singapore



In my view it is in the interests of the West, led by the Americans, to keep Saddam in power

Mohsen Derregia, Tripoli, Libya
A country like Iraq, that has more nuclear capability at its reach than most countries of Europe, Japan and the rest of the "civilised" world will always be a global threat.
Ben Snowdon, Birmingham, England

In my view it is in the interests of the West, led by the Americans, to keep Saddam in power. Think about it this way: Saddam does not get on well with his neighbours, as is evident from invasions of Kuwait and Iran. To keep him in power guarantees access to the Gulf states and thus oil, and operating military bases in the region. The West wanted and wants him to stay in power for it to retain its forces there and get the Gulf States to help with financing that.
Mohsen Derregia, Tripoli, Libya

Over 1.5 million people have died in Iraq from malnutrition and starvation over the last ten years. This is a direct result of the embargo against Iraq enforced primarily by the US and the UK. This organised and legalised genocide is an atrocity.
Aurangzeb Agha, San Francisco, USA

Saddam is a threat to his own people and his neighbouring countries. I am very sorry for the plight of Iraqi people, but Saddam does not operate in a vacuum. If the Iraqis are really fed up with sanctions, they should rise up and get rid of him. I, as an Iranian, do not want to see my country invaded again. I say the sanctions should remain until there is no more Saddam.
Mehran, Montreal, Canada

I came away from this remarkable program convinced that Mr. Butler's main failing as UNSCOM head was his basic human decency, plus an admirable tendency to trust subordinates -- a very changed opinion of him from what I had when it began.

Even though he is obviously not a "babe in the woods," Richard Butler cannot be held responsible for dishonesty and incompetence in his own ranks. The unfortunate effect of this in-house betrayal, discussed in more detail below, was to make Mr. Butler himself seem incompetent. And I must say I was impressed and surprised by his criticism of the disgusting sanctions on Iraq, which are killing and stunting so many children, and rallying support for Sadaam Hussein.
Louis B. Massano, New Jersey

I think it shows total incompetence on the part of Mr. Butler that he could not accomplish his mission and mandate of removing the weapons he was supposed to. He has, however, managed to win the propaganda war again Saddam Hussein. If Iraq is going to re-build inspite all the sanctions, the responsibility rests with Mr. Butler and no one else.
A Javed, Canada

Mr Butler mentioned respect for international law. When, international law, as accepted by countries, is not suited to western powers, they resort to the stratagem of imposing and enforcing by military means 'evolving international law' in conformity with their self-interests on others. Ms Clwyd of the British House of Commons referred to the International Criminal Court of Justice to deal with people like Mr Saddam Hussein. But, as the USA is not a signatory to this treaty, US politicians and military personnel, whom the vast majority of the world population hold as responsible for heinous crimes against humanity on a number of occasions, will continue to enjoy immunity from globally accepted norms of justice. USA, for instance, even now considering breaking the solemn treaty entered into with the erstwhile USSR, to begin building an anti-ballistic missile system.
Mohansingh, India


Your comments during the programme

Given the vast amount of evidence that exists which involves Saddam Hussein and his henchmen in war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, why is it that the UN Security Council has not set up a tribunal, similar to that they have set up for other countries?
Ann Clwyd, MP

I'm sorry I can't give you a more satisfactory answer in that, A, I don't know why they haven't and B, I asssume the politics of the Security Council have simply prevented this from taking place. I agree with you, it is awfully important that such a move be made.
Richard Butler

Saddam is a human being, and could be exterminated by the intelligence services of the West if they chose to do so. Since assasination has (apparently) not been tried, there must be a reason. Perhaps rulers in the West fear that an initial failure to kill him would be followed by a retaliatory blow/blows. In other words, Western politicians fear risking their own lives to 'terminate' Saddam... IF there is a world leader with some courage, there is hope.
Tom Brucia, Houston, Texas,USA

If further proof were needed that Richard Butler had done an excellent job surely it lies in the fact that he was "not acceptable" any longer. Richard...come home and run your native country right now !!! You're the straightest shooter on the planet !!!!
Jack in Perth

I grew up in Kuwait during the Iran-Iraq war and I remember seeing convoys of trucks of weapons going to Baghdad as far as the eye can see and once you see you something like that you know this man is truly mad, he never gives up. Given the Iraqi regime's total paranoid attitude to the west, have you ever tried to enlist other groups like the Arab League or the Organisation of Islamic Countries to present a united front to the regime?
Fred Wilcott, Minden, Nevada, USA

There is widespread recognition in the world that Saddam is not good for the Iraqi people and is not good for the reputation in the west of Arab and Islamic peoples. I want to say this as strongly as I can, too often in the west, people make completely false judgements that all Arabs are Moslems, all Moslems are terrorists.Those views, those identifications are false. I have been deeply exposed to people in the Arab world who are moral, intelligent, sophisticated and who are very aware of what damage Saddam does to the Iraqi people, and beyond that, their reputation. If there were to be a regime change in Baghdad, one of the first parts of the world that would be applauded would perhaps be the Arab world.
Richard Butler

Don't you think now the world has a morale duty to the people of Iraq to move Saddam out of power and end the suffering of the Iraqi people? In other words, punish the guilty man and allow the innocent to live.
Raad Raleigh, NC, USA



It was never my responsibility to take the sanctions decision. It was the Security Council alone that had that responsibility.

Richard Butler
I suppose the answer is basically yes, but the problem is that it is not easy to see how that could be done or whether the international community could agree to it. One of the firm principles of the charter of the United Nations is non-intervention in the domestic affairs in any member state. There is a lot of talk of regime change, as it is euphemistically called, in other words the removal of Saddam and in some ways that would appear to be justified. There is also talk about him being indicted as a war criminal so there would be a case I think about taking action by indictment or by some other means.
Richard Butler

Can you imagine yourself born as an Iraqi, who has grown up in Baghdad, with a good education and one day you wake up to find your country decimated by two unimaginably inhumane forces working in unison. One the one side the country is being squeezed by inhumane sanctions and on the other side there is a murderous regime, which is only interested in staying in power. Then you find these sanctions are weakening the people, are weakening the Iraqis, are killing the children and making it impossible for Iraqis to get rid of the regime.
Naji Al-Saidi, Hamburg, Germany

I can imagine those circumstances, and up to a point, I have seen them. On the whole, I agree with the description of the origins of these problems but I want to say to you very clearly, I have never said sanctions must continue. It was never my responsibility to take the sanctions decision. It was the Security Council alone that had that responsibility.
Richard Butler

In this post-Berlin Wall era, how is it possible for a despot to remain in power for so long with so much international and local loathing? What kind of mechanism keeps Saddam Hussein in power?
Leonard Njoroge

I want to congratulate you on your work and your solitary struggle against probably one of the most frightening things to Israelis today. How possible is it that Saddam Hussein has passed on expertise and weapons to terrorist groups in order to win his final revenge on English, Americans and Israelis?
Yael Hran, Haifa, Israel

The word 'possible' is a slightly odd one here. How possible is it, utterly possible. Perfectly simple for him if he chose to do it. Do we know he has done that? No, we don't. There have been reports which suggest co-operation between Iraq and North Korea in the missile field and possibly with Libya and others in chemical field. We don't know what he has done that's the whole reason why monitoring must allowed back in his country.
Richard Butler

Why are we more concerned with containing Saddam Hussein than other states like China and N. Korea who are supporting and supplying terrorism worldwide?
Sam Baum, Antwerp, Belgium

We know the sanctions are not really working. Don't you feel people should be held acountable for the immense suffering the Iraqi people have gone through?
Himmat S Ahlawat, Hong Kong

The sanctions decisions were unanimous, they were taken by all members of the security council at the beginning and that unaminity was sustained for six or seven years. IT no longer exists. Today there is a division in the council wether to lift sanctions now or to wait until there a further disarmament effort has been undertaken and a monitoring system has been put in place.
Richard Butler


Your comments before we went ON AIR

When will UNSCOM release the documents it had been collecting the last year while it was in Iraq? WHY AREN'T THESE DOCUMENTS PUBLICLY AVAILABLE?
Joe Smith, San Jose, USA

How do you justify the deaths of at least 5,000 children in Iraq, per month, (according to a 1999 UNICEF report), in order to 'punish' Saddam Hussein? These sanctions are not adversely affecting Saddam Hussein to any significant extent; in fact, it is my belief that these sanctions are aiding Saddam Hussein, (Iraqi civilians are dependent upon the government for their food rations, etc, so there is an extremely weak incentive for them to overthrow Saddam Hussein and his regime). In order to get at ONE brutal dictator, your policies are claiming the lives of at least 5,000 innocent children per month. What is your justification or rationale for this?
Nadia Hussain, Calgary, Canada

Richard Butler was employed and was living for that Job. He will never say his work was wastage of money and probably would like to resume the post. He can sell the book to earn money but, inspection was and is still a stupid work to be done by the UN.
Absalom Mesril, Brussels, Belgium

It would appear that sanctions have failed to produce the results intended, namely to prevent an Iraqi military build-up and to encourage the population to overthrow Saddam's regime. I don't have any idea on how to peacefully resolve the situation, but I think it's clear now that sanctions are only hurting the people it was meant to help.
Anton Swanepoel, Johannesburg South Africa

Saddam is still dangerous, but some of the world leaders want him to be in power in Iraq, because of many reasons, he is a mad man so he keeps the Middle East unstable, and most of the Arab nations will pay a lot of money to buy weapons just to protect themselves from him. He also keeps the Persian gulf area unstable, so the oil prices wouldn't go sky high. The problem here is not only Saddam, let's not forget the people who armed him during the Iran-Iraq war.
Reza, London

Sanctions as imposed by the USA and its pet-dog Britain ("the international community") are the cruelest weapons of mass destruction and should be lifted immediately. Sanctions are not the way to remove people as Saddam from power because by blaming the West his power becomes consolidated over a cripled society.
Pieter Vervaeke, Belgium

The sanctions imposed on Iraq do not punish the ones in power but unjustly bring hardships on the poor and middle-class citizens. In my opinion the sanctions should be lifted, the United Nations needs to police and monitor fair elections in Iraq. Saddam Hussein and his generals must be brought before an International Tribunal. The United States of America must bear responsibility for crimes committed by Saddam's savage regime against the Kurdish people, the Iranians and the Kuwaitis. Let us not forget Iraq was armed, funded and fully supported by the USA during the biter Iran-Iraq War.
Bakhtyar J. Taila, USA.

That Saddam Hussein may be posing a global peace and security threat through his alleged manufacture of chemical and biological weapons is one thing (even the truth of this matter is not really certain to us ordinary folks of the world, however this is besides the point now!) but that innocent Iraqi citizens should pay the price for this is another and at that totally unacceptable!
Moyo Violet Ndonde, Arusha, Tanzania

If the west were honest about Saddam he could had been kicked off the region by the end of Gulf War. But unfortunately they need him in order to find a good substitute that can do their orders in a better way.
Hossein Kalantary, Tehran, Iran

The problem the world has with Iraq is not with the Iraqi people, it is with Saddam himself. It is obvious that after nearly 10 years of sanctions the Iraqi people have not risen up against their leader as once was hoped, so my question is why do we continue such an unsuccessful course of action? Another way must be found to fight him. This is a problem that should have been solved 9 years ago.
Martin Hosking, USA

Is it not rather perverse to be worried about civilians casualties if Saddam develops these weapons when 1/2 million innocent children are dead and continue to die due to the UN sanctions you firmly support?
T. Zaman, Birimingham, UK

Are western governments really interested in stopping evil man of middle east (Saddam)? To my opinion they are not because he is an American agent safeguarding the American interests in the Gulf. Isn't everything he did, from Iranian War to Gulf war went in American favours. Americans were instrumental in failing the coups against him and they will never remove him as his presence prolongs the occupation of West and its allies on the holy lands.
Mahmood Shah, UK



it is important to remember that it is the Western world that developed the weaponry which is demonised by the media, and who shared the intellectual property with nations such as Iraq when it was in our interests to do so.

Matthew Cuming, Australia
What hold does Hussein have over America (and the world) that allows him to as he pleases without fear of retribution or penalty? He has set an example for terrorists worldwide that despite specific rules and regulations set forth by Unscom and the world, there is no real threat of penalty for pushing and surpassing limits. He is a threat to world peace and seemingly untouchable. Is there a reason that the world repeatedly turns the other cheek to his unwillingness to comply with plans for furthering world peace?
Lynda Hollifield, USA

Any nation that has the temerity to attempt to build "Weapons of Mass Destruction" is presumed to be a threat to US global hegemony. French Gen. Gallois noted that 'even an nation unequally armed with nuclear weapons is not as easily intimidated as on possessing the ability to respond in kind." The US has threatened to use nukes nearly two dozens times but always on non-nuke nations. China and the USSR in the past, for example.
Steve Block, USA

Certainly, Saddam's reign is a threat to both the Arab and wider world; his expansionist campaign into Kuwait and the effects of the weaponry he is attempting to produce tell us this. However, it is important to remember that it is the Western world that developed the weaponry which is demonised by the media, and who shared the intellectual property with nations such as Iraq when it was in our interests to do so. Sanctions are not just useless against Saddam himself; they hurt the public who have done nothing to deserve such pain and suffering. Since the it is the West who possess the majority of Nuclear, Chemical and Biological weapons in the world today, it is also hypocritical in the extreme that we pile on these sanctions which intend to halt the production of weapons that we already hold.
Matthew Cuming, Sydney, Australia

Do you think it is right that the powerful states to to do whatever they want even if there are so many children suffering?
Deresegn, london

My wife and I visited Iraq recently, we found that the sanctions hurt the Iraqis and the government. Therefore, we think that the sanctions should be lifted at once because the purpose of the sanction is to weaken the government. I urge Blair and Clinton to think of their policies in Iraq and try to see the commons sense of the situation.
Hadi Hassan, Yorkshire/UK

I'm a member of the Exec. Committee of Iraqi Democratic Movement in GB. We are pro democracy, hence anti-Saddam. I think Saddam is, as he has always been, a threat to Iraqis and neighbouring nations. If after 10 years of sanctions, Saddam can still build a dangerous arsenal, what is the use of sanctions then? Just to harm Iraqis, I assume. I think that Mr Butler views are of no value as they are being used by US for political purposes to maintain their current lack of clear policy towards Iraq and the area. Iraq is an aeroplane with 20 million passengers hijacked by a terrorist (Saddam) and the west is trying to force him out by starving him but sending food supplies to keep the passengers alive: Saddam eats their food and still holds them hostages! Iraqis want to get rid of him today if possible, but need resources and basic life standards to be maintained. Of course Saddam will benefit from lifting the sanctions, but so will Iraqis who will build forces to overthrow him. So, LIFT THE SANCTIONS NOW.
Zaid Nuaman, London, UK

Why is Mr Butler trying to make a quick buck out people's misery and demise and how can we trust his word when his role in the weapon inspection mission was under the search lights not so long ago. I do not care much for Saddam but making money Mr UN man on the expense of innocent people has got to be some sick joke! I can forgive however as he does not have to support four families who are slowly being tortured by the Saddam regime and The even more blind policies of the UN and the biased views that portray the honourable Iraqi people as a second class nation! Wake Up UN!
Sual Hallal, UK

What are these people talking about Iraq being no threat? Has everyone forgotten that Iraq invaded Kuwait? Bombed Israel? Kept a human shield? Yes, let's lift all sanctions, maybe we could also send them a few billions in aid, so that Saddam can get himself a few more palaces and continue his nuclear programme.
Paul, London, UK



If Richard Butler thinks that Saddam is still building biological weapons, then obviously the sanctions are completely meaningless

Refaat Issa, Cairo, Egypt
Sanctions haven't inflicted much harm on Saddam and his regime. Instead, they have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent children, who lack medicine and food. If Richard Butler thinks that Saddam is still building biological weapons, then obviously the sanctions are completely meaningless.
Refaat Issa, Cairo, Egypt

Saddam Hussein is an evil man - he alone is responsible for the suffering of the Iraqi people - they were suffering long before sanctions were imposed and will continue to suffer long after sanctions are no longer in place. Why doesn't Saddam share just a tiny percentage of his own wealth/food/medicine with his people? Do you see Saddam or his Republican Army starving or having to go without medicine?

Do I think Saddam is still a threat ... of course he is still a threat, to his neighbours, the West and anyone who dares to get in his way. He has been too quiet for too long - he has something up his sleeve and as usual he will shock the World when he is considers the time is right.
Norma Harper, Wiltshire, UK



Do you see Saddam or his Republican Army starving or having to go without medicine?

Norma Harper, Wiltshire, UK
What the Iraqi people now need to do is to rebel against their military ruler. People of Iraq have suffered enough, Iraq has suffered enough. Saddam Hussein still sits on a throne, he still has his palaces and what not. If someone is suffering in Iraq, it is the people. Right now, people of Iraq blame only the West for their misery. This idea needs to be changed so that people realise that it is not the West rather, it is Saddam Hussein who is responsible for Iraq's plight.
Ahmed Haider, US

Yes, Saddam is a great threat against his own people and the whole world.
Mohammad, London, UK

Yes! Saddam's Iraq is still a threat, not to the USA & UK but to the people of his own country. The western powers don't want to dislodge him as he is serving their interests very efficiently. They also know that any other group who will replace him in Iraq is going to be deadly against USA etc. There is absolutely no justification for the sanctions as they have not affected Saddam and the ruling elite, rather they are getting fatter and fatter as each day passes. Only the poor masses of Iraq are bearing the brunt of the sanctions. The sanctions should immediately be lifted and democratic government to be installed by UNO after elections and Saddam to be tried for the brutalities he has committed on the people of Iraq.
Ram Lakan, Toronto, Canada



Hussein has shown no hesitation to use weapons of mass destruction before, and there is no reason to think that he would not do so again

Paul, Tokyo, Japan
Some of the commentators would do well to read the UNSCOM reports and details of the chemical and biological weapons systems that Iraq is suspected of holding (available on the net). Hussein has shown no hesitation to use weapons of mass destruction before, and there is no reason to think that he would not do so again - indeed there is good reason to think he would use them. The answer to the sanctions issue lies with the Iraqi regime. If they accept the UN resolutions and allow UNSCOM (or rather its successor) to do its job fully, then the sanctions can be lifted. It is not the UN sanctions that have reduced Iraq to poverty - it is Saddam Hussein.
Paul, Tokyo, Japan

I have to say, I'm a bit baffled by all the mis-information given to all sides in this. The truth lies somewhere in all the muck. I mean, one group says 500k have died, others say over 3 million?!? Which is it? I do believe however, Saddam cannot be anything other than a threat, but the sanctions are now a just a bunch of rotten bananas. Simply put, not worth the paper they're written on.
Bill S, Geenwich, USA



The UN should lift the economic sanctions, because they have not done any good, and they only make Saddam more defiant against the Western world

Ron B., Canada
Iraq is only a threat as long as Saddam remains in power. The UN should lift the economic sanctions, because they have not done any good, and they only make Saddam more defiant against the Western world.
Ron B., Canada

US policy in the Middle East has given longevity to despotic leaders like Saddam. Oil is the raison d'etre. However, we must have forgotten that Iraq has the second largest oil reserve in the world, and sooner or later, we will need access to it. I am not convinced that the removal of Saddam would bring about a democratic government. The diversity of its population (Kurds, Sunni & Shi'te) and their varying allegiances could result in a civil war similar to what we witnessed in Yugoslavia. The best approach would be to rebuild our relations with this country. We can better monitor Saddam's weapons production and capability as an ally rather than an enemy. We should lift all sanctions immediately and recognise Iraq's right to sovereignty by discontinuing the US imposed no-fly zone. If we are so concerned about the way the Kurds are being treated(and we should be), why do we turn a blind eye to Turkey's treatment of these people?
Valerie, USA



It is no excuse to say that Saddam could save his people rather than build up his power base

David Hugh-Jones, UK
If the UN reports about the vastly increased child mortality rate in non-Kurdish parts of Iraq are true, then the US and UK are committing a crime against humanity to compare with Saddam's own massacres. It is no excuse to say that Saddam could save his people rather than build up his power base. That is just not going to happen. Relying on Saddam to help Iraq's population is like relying on the fox to protect the chickens. And the Iraqi people are unlikely to depose the dictator while the West is busily returning their country to the Stone Age. Our current policy to Iraq is so foolish on its publicly avowed terms that it is hard not to suspect a hidden US agenda.
David Hugh-Jones, UK

Whether Iraq is a threat or not, is imaterial! We are now in control of the region politically (eg the peace process), its oil reserves (eg recent US pressure on Saudi to bring down the price of oil) and we have sold more arms than before to the gulf Arabs! We maintain our total control by having a massive troops presence in the region. We need to be there because we have a great deal of business there, and Iraq gives us the perfect excuse for us to argue our presence there. So, as long as he stays, we stay too. We therefore must maintain the current status-quo in order to keep our pretext going and our justification to the locals and more importantly to our democratic nations.
A Adams, Leeds, UK

Iraq is no threat to anyone. The suffering of the people of Iraq caused by the sanctions is nothing less than criminal. To believe that Saddam wanted to take over the world is ludicrous, but people believed it. Saddam was given a green light to invade Kuwait. He foolishly believed it. There is much more to the so-called Gulf War. Hopefully, it will all come out eventually, as it is little by little.
Richard, USA

Saddam Hussein is not the problem, but there is an imbalance of power in the region. Israel is allowed to have nuclear weapons, but the Arab countries are not! That just seems to be hypocritical of the west! If the west wanted to get rid of Saddam, it could easily enter Iraq and get rid of him! Does General Noureaga of Panama ring a bell? The US is using Saddam for their own interests with the region.
A. Dakhil, UK

Saddam will never stop trying to rebuild his arsenal. The folly of the West is that we claim to be preventing him while our inspectors wait for him to move his research before allowing them access to inspect his facilities.
John S, UK

Whatever Iraq has done it has done in its best interest. The British and American hypocrites would do the same if it suited them. The West follows the law of the jungle where might is right. Isn't the death of over 1 million innocent children worth anything? The West calls itself "civilised" and murdering innocent children is Very civilised. Yeah Right?
Zia Ul Haq Monim Mirza, Montreal, Canada



Ten years and still they haven't changed a thing in Saddam - he's still eating and sleeping well

Hayder, Canada
Saddam is not the one who is being punished, it's the people of Iraq. So why don't the world's greatest powers, such as the USA, stop torturing the Iraqis and get Saddam, and if they can't, then they should leave.
Ten years and still they haven't changed a thing in Saddam. He's still eating and sleeping well, but they are only punishing the kids and everyone who lives in Iraq. UN must leave Iraq, because it has proven its failure once again.
Hayder, Canada

Why do people keep trotting out the lie that sanctions have killed x million people in Iraq? Iraq can have as much food and medicine as it requires. It is Saddam who is killing his people, and he has a very effective propaganda machine to cover this fact up.
Stephen Shepherd, Winchester, UK

Why is Israel allowed to have nuclear weapons *and* violate UN resolutions with impunity, while Iraq is still targeted with useless sanctions after 10 years?
Marco Degasperi, Italy

The USA and its close allies have been telling us this for ten odd years that Saddam is a threat to this world. If there is STILL truth in it, let us all see for ourselves and accept it.
Had there been legitimate and solid reasons for keeping the sanctions, then the world would have united on keeping the sanctions. This topic of sanction on Iraq and suffering of ordinary Iraqis has come up and dwindled away so many times that all we do now is just talk politics and actually the suffering of Iraqis is buried under politics, oil crisis, Middle East politics.
Bharat Bhushan, Germany/India



Can we really be so naive or so stupid to believe that all this destruction took place to protect Saddam's Arab neighbours?

Jamal B, UAE
No! Saddam is not a threat to his Arab neighbours. He is a threat to Israel and its patron, USA. Can we really be so naive or so stupid to believe that all this destruction took place to protect Saddam's Arab neighbours?
His only crime is that he and the Iraqi people were able to threaten Israel and the West's interests in the region.
If tomorrow, Saddam signs peace with Israel the sanctions will be lifted at once. Israel is the real threat to the region and hence to the world. Israel is the one who flouts every UN resolution except the 425 which Israel had to comply with under the gun. If Saddam is criminal for the threat he poses, what does that make of the crime that US and the West practices on the Iraqi people every minute?
Jamal B, UAE

I agree. The imbalance of power in the Middle East has been a major factor contributing to not only Iraq but also the demise in stability in the rest of the Middle East. Why not a nuclear free zone in the Middle East? Why not same standards for the Arabs and the Israelis.
Why should one people be denied access while the others are provided with some of the world most advanced weapons systems. People say Israel feels threatened. I say so do the Arabs!
Sherafgan, USA



Not after 10 years of sanctions and never before sanctions, Iraq is no threat at all

Junias Kalimbo, Namibia
Not after 10 years of sanctions and never before sanctions, Iraq is no threat at all. The threat of any given country nowadays is the western powers such as USA, Britain and others. Why? They control each and every country's economy, they control every country's democracy. If you do not agree with the west, then you are their enemy.
Junias Kalimbo, Namibia

Saddam is a threat to the world. He has to been contained periodically so that he has enough arms to defend him from other Middle East powers like Iran and Turkey and at the same time doesn't threat anyone. The world needs OIL and that is a fact and we cannot allow instability in the Middle East. We need to have an arms control law similar to CTBT that prevents rogue Middle East powers from threatening others.
Arthur Ramesh, Washington, USA

If Saddam were not a threat, the US and UK would not have an excuse to keep our military in neighbouring countries (e.g. Saudi). If he were removed forcibly, our presence would no longer be required. "Better the devil you know" seems to sum up this situation.
John B, England

Saddam is no longer a threat to international security, the only reason the greedy Americans are there is for the oil. The threat from Saddam disappeared 10 years ago. The only people benefiting are the Americans and Saddam himself.
Tehseen Khan, UK



Saddam Hussein could have been stopped 10 years ago - they should have tried him and afterwards, established a democratic regime

Chris Dhondt, Belgium
Saddam Hussein could have been stopped 10 years ago. They should have tried him and afterwards, established a democratic regime.
In regards to the comment of Ayoub K. from the US: Israel is a democratic country. Do you really think they'll strike first? Their nuclear weapons are a defence, in case the Arabs managed to defeat them and would "drive them into the sea", as they claimed many times before. It's simply a deterrent.
Chris Dhondt, Belgium

There is no doubt that he still poses a danger to humanity. The regrettable fact, however, is that no one is willing to acknowledge the obvious fact, which is that he was "created" by almost all the arms-producing countries of the world.
Ubong Effeh, UK

Saddam needs to divert domestic opinion away from the truth of his regime, just as Milosevic does in Serbia. Given the chance he will start another fight with the West to make himself seem like the great protector of Iraq in the eyes of his people, who have little access to outside media. He should be contained indefinitely, but a better method should be found. Perhaps the UN should declare the regime illegal?
NC, Germany

Iraq has suffered enough. UN sanctions have failed to remove Saddam and the only ones to suffer have been the innocent civilians of that country. Inciting rebellion in the Iraqi people has not worked. Trying to alienate the Iraqi government and Saddam from the rest of the Arab world has only backfired. If he represents such a danger to the West then why isn't something direct done about it?
Sean Ryman, Denmark



Sanctions are the least effective way of attacking Iraq and Saddam - the most effective way is information

Martin Bentley, UK
If Iraq was such a huge threat to international security why wasn't it thoroughly crushed when we had the opportunity? Sanctions are the least effective way of attacking Iraq and Saddam. The most effective way is information.
If we spent the money that is at present being spent on imposing the sanctions on bombarding the Iraqi populace with the "truth" (as we perceive it in the west) with as much evidence as possible you can undermine his entire government.
Martin Bentley, UK

If we continue to ignore the threat Saddam poses to the Western world, how powerful do you think he will be in five years time, and will he use this power to attack the West with his weapons of mass destruction?
TJ, England

Why are the Americans at the United Nations putting On Hold vitally needed equipment for clearing devastated sewers and drains in Baghdad? Surely such elementary Humanitarian Aid should be let through as a matter of great urgency.
Richard Sanders, UK



Was Saddam ever a threat? If so, then why did the UK and US provide him with arms and train his armies?

Bilal Patel, UK
Was Saddam ever a threat? If so, then why did the UK and US provide him with arms and train his armies? If Saddam is a threat, why have millions died as a result of sanctions? His own people think that the US/UK are a threat to them, and rightly so.
The Gulf War was nothing more than an excuse to ensure that the region is destabilised which means the West can control it. Why? Oil of course, plenty of it, and as cheap as possible. That's what the Gulf War was about, this and an underlying anti-Semitic hatred towards the Arabs in the region.
Bilal Patel, UK



After ten years of sanctions and inspections, to whom Iraq is a threat? When will the injustice against the innocents of Iraq end?

Ata Joomun, Moka, Mauritius
I have always wondered why Israel is allowed to have nuclear weapons yet all eyes are on Iraq? Why not implement a fair rule where all countries in the Middle East give up their nuclear weapons. We already know Israel disregards any UN resolutions. What assurance do Arabs have that Israel will not strike someday?
Ayoub K, USA

The Gulf War was 10 years ago. The West has been in Iraq for 10 years. If the country is still a threat it shows what a waste of time this has been, not to mention a waste of life. Over 3 million Iraqis have died due to sanctions. I don't think Iraq is a threat at all. The "threat" is just an excuse to take control, set-up a bogeyman, and kill off Iraqis. The sanctions should be stopped and the West should get out of Iraq.
Fahad Ashraf, Detroit, USA

What threat can Saddam be after ten years? For ten years the people of Iraq have been suffering. The UN and the USA know each move of Saddam. The so-called sanctions are only a pretext to create an upsurge in the population against Iraq. After ten years of sanctions and inspections, to whom Iraq is a threat? When will the injustice against the innocents of Iraq end?
Ata Joomun, Moka, Mauritius



Everything to date has not stopped Saddam. What methods do we have left, how can we stop him?

Nigel Overton, Birmingham, England
Of course he's a threat. He is a threat to the rest of the world, to his neighbouring countries and most of all to his own people. He is responsible for the deaths of thousands of children in his country. But why the US has not tried to remove him directly by force is inconceivable to me. It is something that they should have done a long time ago.
Asim Kamal, UK

Everything to date has not stopped Saddam. What methods do we have left, how can we stop him?
Nigel Overton, Birmingham, England

I don't think Saddam is as much of a threat now as he was some 10 years ago. The Gulf War and the subsequent sanctions have broken the back of Iraq. He doesn't have as much support as he had back then, both domestically and internationally. I think it would be difficult for Saddam to repeat the mistakes irrespective of whether or not Iraq has chemical or biological weapons. But the fact is that given a chance he would raise his head again. So it's vital for the international community to keep a tab on him and at the same time provide humanitarian aid to millions of innocent people suffering in Iraq.
Vijay Rajanala, USA

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15 Apr 00 | Middle East
Iraq rejects new arms monitors


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