Iraq gives Washington a soap box
Wednesday 12 August 1992
In a well-coordinated effort by Washington's allies, the Security Council set the scene for President Bush to humiliate publicly the Iraqi leader with a warning that further human rights abuses against the Kurds, and in particular the Shia, will not be tolerated.
By switching attention from the confusion of Bosnia to the relatively uncomplicated issue of Iraqi human rights abuses, the Council provided the US with a convenient and timely soap box, to articulate a forceful policy abroad.
The choice on offer to President Saddam is a stark one of readmitting the hundreds of humanitarian aid workers and UN guards who have been forced to abandon their work and leave the country because of threats to their lives and government obstructiveness, or to face the prospect of allied military action to protect the Marsh Arabs.
There are only 225 UN guards left in Iraq, and 120 of them are due to be rotated out next week as their tour of duty ends. But because Iraq has refused to conclude a new agreement with the UN for new guards to be deployed, they are expected to remain, helping to prevent human rights abuses by their very presence.
The UN human rights rapporteur on Iraq, Max van der Stoel, the former Dutch foreign minister, said in an interview yesterday that alarming human rights abuses were taking place in the country and that action was needed. 'I find it really very difficult to swallow the idea that the world would remain passive while there would be some kind of repetition of the 'Anfal Operations' in the north against the Kurds,' he said. These operations, in the late 1980s, saw entire Kurdish villages relocated to barren desert areas.
Mr van der Stoel's findings of grave human rights abuses against the Marsh Arabs and the Kurds have provided the US and its allies with sufficient reason to renew military action against Iraq, diplomatic sources said. The US and Britain are consulting on a new UN resolution to draw attention to the human rights abuses, but diplomats believe that military action can already be justified on the grounds that Iraq has broken the terms of the ceasefire.
Mr van der Stoel gave the Security Council details of what he said was a deliberate policy of targeting the Marsh Arabs who for centuries have made their home under tall reeds in the marshes formed by the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers north of Basra.
Mr van der Stoel said that there was documentary evidence that Iraq was intent on wiping out the Shia Marsh Arab culture. The Baghdad regime considered the Marsh Arabs to be 'inferior and 'un-Iraqi people',' he said.
'The most blatant violations of human rights being perpetrated by the government are constituted by the military attacks against the civilian population,' he said, with 'indiscriminate bombardments of civilian settlements'.
- 1 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 2 Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media
- 3 Israel-Gaza conflict: The myth of Hamas’s human shields
- 4 Amy Winehouse unpublished 2004 interview: ‘Ten years from now I’ll be 30, so I’ll maybe have one baby’
- 5 Dutch paedophile club to fight their ban at the European Court of Human Rights
Lana Del Rey: 'I have slept with a lot of guys in the industry'
Peaches Geldof cause of death: 'Heroin addict' socialite had taken fatal dose of drug, inquest concludes
Peaches Geldof inquest: Tragic final moments of socialite's life reveal she lied to husband about failed heroin tests
Israel-Gaza conflict: The myth of Hamas’s human shields
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Was a Russian-made missile really parked in this quiet square?
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...
£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...