Letter: Blame Saddam
Saturday 20 June 1998
Sir: Your article "Baghdad stories" (ISM, 13 June), highlighting the tragic circumstances in which Iraqis are living, was poignant, but it ignores the central facts.
The Iraqi people have been in a impoverished state, with thousands being killed or maimed, for many years now, because Saddam Hussein forces them into one external or internal war after another.
He has played cat-and-mouse with the UN weapons inspectors for seven years because his aim is to keep some of his weapons of mass destruction intact. During this long period, he deliberately induced the suffering of the Iraqi people as a means of blackmail, to force the international community into removing sanctions before the UN managed to trace and destroy all his weapons of mass destruction.
The UN recognised his ploy early on. The first "oil-for-food" resolutions, 706 and 712, were ratified in 1991. Saddam responded by flatly refusing their application.
It was only when the situation inside Iraq deteriorated to the point that it began to affect the higher echelons of his system of government, and to threaten his own survival, that he finally agreed to apply the resolutions.
Saddam Hussein has so far won against the armed resistance of the Iraqi people. Please do not let him win the propaganda war by exploiting the good intentions of people like the writer of your article.
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