Iraq—Post 1991 Persian Gulf War/Sanctions

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  • by Anup Shah
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When asked on US television if she [Madeline Albright, US Secretary of State] thought that the death of half a million Iraqi children [from sanctions in Iraq, during the 1990s after the first Gulf War] was a price worth paying, Albright replied: This is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it.

John Pilger, Squeezed to Death, The Guardian, March 4, 2000

While the US/UK-led military campaigns of the Gulf War in 1991, the bombings of 1998, and 2003 have ended, that is not the end of the story for the people of Iraq.

  • Iraq was bombed regularly by the US and Britain as part of a no fly zone enforcement during the sanctions regime.
  • An estimated one million people had died since the sanctions enforced by the UN Security Council after the Gulf War ended.
    • Most nations wished to lift the sanctions, but the US and UK continued to oppose any such calls.
    • As this paper shows, the sanctions themselves are illegal and have had gross consequences for the people of Iraq.
  • The brutal Saddam Hussain, whom the US helped to bring in to power decacdes earlier, remained unaffected while the Iraqi people suffered.
  • Iraq used to have one of the best measures in the world for standards of living. Now it is in the bottom twenty percent. In just 10 years of sanctions.
  • Basic medicines were not available as children died from treatable diseases.
  • Even chlorine had been blocked and that is needed for disinfection of water that has already been contaminated from the allied bombing.

    Just before Christmas [1999], the department of trade and industry in London blocked a shipment of vaccines meant to protect Iraqi children against diphtheria and yellow fever. Dr Kim Howells told parliament why. His title of under secretary of state for competition and consumer affairs, eminently suited his Orwellian reply. The children’s vaccines were banned, he said, because they are capable of being used in weapons of mass destruction. That his finger was on the trigger of a proven weapon of mass destruction—sanctions—seemed not to occur to him.

    John Pilger, Squeezed to Death, The Guardian, March 4, 2000
  • Cancer rates have shot up, believed to have resulted from the use of depleted Uranium by the allied bombing—which was cleaned up in Kuwait, but not Iraq.
  • Iraq was bombed in 1998 partly because it complained about who was on the weapons inspections teams. No-one bombed the USA when they rejected weapons inspection team members who were from Cuba or Iran.
  • Saddam’s regime was finally toppled in 2003, but admist a lot of controversy.

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  • by Anup Shah
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