Letter: What now for Iraq?

Share
Related Topics
THE AGREEMENT reached over the weekend in Baghdad can be attributed to the show of force in the Gulf, unanimity at the critical moment in the UN Security Council, and the determination and skill of the Secretary General. While the immediate task is to ensure that the work of the inspectors will indeed proceed without interference, other aspects of the crisis should not be neglected.

First, the plight of the long-suffering people of Iraq. Last week, on the initiative of the United Kingdom, the Security Council agreed to an increase in the amount of humanitarian aid available to them. The citizens of Iraq deserve to be told, by all possible means, not only that they have the sympathy of the international community but that their suffering will end if their leaders now honour the promises to allow weapons inspectors free movement which they first made in 1991 and repeated last weekend.

Second, respect for the dignity of Iraq, to which representatives of the regime attach special importance. Such respect would be readily forthcoming were it not for the Iraqi regime's persistent disregard of its obligations under Article 55 of the UN Charter. This calls on member states to promote "universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all". The 16th of March will mark the tenth anniversary of the slaughter by chemical weapons of several thousand inhabitants of the Kurdish town of Halabja. Nor has the fate of thousands of Shia inhabitants of the marshes in southern Iraq following the Gulf war been forgotten. The United Nations should now pursue the search for a remedy for the inconsistency between Article 55 and Article 2.7, which precludes intervention in matters "within the domestic jurisdiction of any member state".

Third, the emphasis the United States has placed on the importance of strict compliance with UN resolutions has prompted comparisons between American attitudes to Iraq and to the deadlocked peace process between the Palestinians and Israel. The point has been made that Israel remains in breach of a number of UN resolutions. There is an opportunity here for the Prime Minister to use the UK's presidency of the European Union to promote a European appeal to President Clinton, with whom he has established a close working relationship, to adopt a more balanced policy towards the Middle East. This, he could argue, would serve wider Western interests in this important region.

Sir TERENCE CLARK

Ambassador to Iraq 1985-89

Sir STEPHEN EGERTON

Ambassador to Iraq 1980-82

Sir DONALD MAITLAND

UK Representative to the UN 1973-74; to the EC 1975-79

Sir JOHN MOBERLY

Ambassador to Iraq 1982-85

DAVID SUMMERHAYES

Ambassador to the Disarmament Committee, Geneva, 1979-82

Sir HAROLD WALKER

Ambassador to Iraq 1990-91

Bath

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: the paraphernalia of a practised burglar – screwdrivers, gloves, children

Guy Keleny
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits  

So who, really, is David Cameron, our re-elected ‘one nation’ Prime Minister?

Andrew Grice
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?