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 1, 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 paper2 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 power3 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 4, 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 USA5 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.

0 articles on “Iraq—Post 1991 Persian Gulf War/Sanctions” and 2 related issues:

Iraq Crisis

In 2003, the US and UK invaded Iraq under false pretenses (that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction ready for deployment within minutes and posed a great threat to the world, etc.), without the backing of the international community and even with large domestic opposition to war in both those countries.

Since the bombing campaign ended and Saddam Hussein was overthrown, the expected quick democracy, peace, and gratitude to the US quickly became a nightmare and disaster as major religious and ethnic factions started fighting each other and the US/UK occupation forces. The civilian death toll has been immense, with 2006 seeing almost 100 deaths a day.

This section looks into issues during the sanctions following the first Gulf War when the US forced Saddam Hussein to get out of Kuwait, which he invaded, as well as the propaganda build-up to the 2003 invasion and issues since.

Read “Iraq Crisis” to learn more.

Middle East

Read “Middle East” to learn more.

Effects of Iraq Sanctions

The UN sanctions, which the US/UK refuse to allow to be lifted, added to the death toll since 1991 and is believed to have been close to 1 million deaths with mass starvations and disease (while Saddam Hussain had remained unaffected). Top UN officials had resigned over what they have described as near genocidal policies that were imposed by the US and UK via the United Nations to carry out over the Iraqi people.

Read “Effects of Iraq Sanctions” to learn more.

Iraq Weapons Inspections and Double Standards

A major issue in the past about the Iraq crisis had been that Iraq shouldn’t complain (and rightly so) about who was on the UN weapons inspection team. However, the USA and Russia and other powerful nations were able to get away with it when the UN attempted to inspect their weapons!

Read “Iraq Weapons Inspections and Double Standards” to learn more.

Iraq Was Being Bombed During 12 Years of Sanctions

Since the US and UK imposed a no-fly zone (not a UN-enforced one), Iraq had been bombed anything from almost daily to every three days. The Pentagon said more than 280,000 sorties had been flown in the decade since no-flight zones were imposed on Iraq in the north and south of the country. There was little to no mention in the mainstream media of this.

Read “Iraq Was Being Bombed During 12 Years of Sanctions” to learn more.

Iraq Crisis in 1998

In 1998, the United States launched heavy bombardment of Iraq, even though it was illegal according to international law. It was accompanied by poor, one-sided media coverage in the US and civilian infrastructure was once again targeted, as had been the case in 1991.

Read “Iraq Crisis in 1998” to learn more.

Iraq Bombing Effects on the Environment

Depleted uranium and other new technology were used in the Gulf War. Together with the bombing of civilian infrastructure such as factories and chemical plants, the long term effects on the environment are bleak.

Read “Iraq Bombing Effects on the Environment” to learn more.

Iraq: Links to more information

Read “Iraq: Links to more information” to learn more.

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