From Mrs Ann Clwyd, MP Sir: I read with interest Patrick Cockburn's article "The face of Saddam's new terror" (13 January). For every one of the 15 years in which Saddam has held total power in Iraq, he has systematically and ruthlessly waged a war of terror on his own people and created a regime with one of the most unenviable human rights records in the world.

We are familiar in the UK with the genocidal campaigns against the Kurds and Iraq's marsh Arabs. What is less well reported is the way in which Saddam continues to oppress the mass of the Iraqi population. The "mutilation decrees" of which Mr Cockburn writes are but the latest instance of this.

It was with regret and astonishment that I learnt on the same day as your report that various major British companies, supported by the Department of Trade and Industry, will be forming a trade delegation to Iraq for 15 February.

In London, the DTI supports trade with Iraq. Meanwhile, in New York, our own Ambassador to the United Nations opposes the lifting of sanctions because of Saddam's appalling human rights record and his refusal to comply with Security Council Resolution 688. Is this straightforward incompetence, or is it the expression of rather more cynical manoeuvrings?

Yours sincerely, ANN CLWYD MP for Cynon Valley (Lab)

House of Commons London, SW1

13 January The writer is Chair of the Campaign against Repression and for Democratic Rights in Iraq.

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