Letter: Blame Saddam for Iraq's sanctions plight

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The Independent Online
Sir: The letter "Need to reassess Iraqi sanctions" (20 January) blames United Nations sanctions for the suffering of the Iraqi people. Their plight results directly from Saddam Hussein's callous and belligerent rule.

The UN has reacted with humane understanding in softening sanctions' sometimes blunt force although Saddam Hussein has turned a deaf ear to his people's cries. UN Security Council Resolution 986, offered to Saddam in April 1995 but only implemented this December because of his intransigence, permits Iraq to export $2bn of oil over 180 days on a renewable basis to pay for food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies, with the stipulation that this aid be equitably distributed.

Sanctions against Iraq are justified by the threat Saddam Hussein's regime continues to pose to international peace and security. The UN has established a Special Commission (Unscom) under Security Council Resolution 687 to investigate Iraq's weapons programmes. Saddam has frequently denied the inspectors free access to sites. Because Saddam Hussein has not allowed Unscom to fulfil its mandate, sanctions continue to be enforced.

The Iraqi leader holds the key to free his people from their unnecessary affliction. An attempt to attribute the Iraqi people's anguish to United Nations sanctions lets Saddam Hussein off the hook.


Executive Director, UN Watch