IRAQ: 11 Years Since the "Gulf War"
Next target of the "War on Terrorism"?
(January 16, 2002)


The "Gulf War" of 1991 proved that the US understands little about the region. The war ended with Saddam Hussein still in power and Iraq's infrastructure destroyed. Sanctions imposed on Iraq prevented the repair of civilian infrastructure such as power generators and water treatment plants.These sanctions supposedly would compel the people of Iraq to rise up and oust Hussein, a US goal but not a UN mandate. The war continues with sanctions and no-fly zones. The meager Oil-for-Food program, while purporting to ease the suffering of the Iraqi people, has not prevented the deaths of several hundred thousand Iraqis from easily treatable diseases and starvation.

The west's treatment of Iraq is only one more catastrophic example of how America's long- standing interven-tion in the region focuses almost totally on oil, and ignores the people that live on top of the oil. These policies result in the type of desperation and hatred that lead to the September 11 attacks. The way to stop terrorism is not to ransack a nation of 23 million and then prevent the repair of the facilities necessary to support the populace.

 

Memorial at the Ameriyah Bomb Shelter, struck by a US bomb during in February 1991, killing hundreds of civilians.This memorial is eerily similar to those set up for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.(photo by Joe Zito 1997)
 

 

SANCTIONS

After Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the UN established sanctions on Iraq prohibiting all exports and imports other than food or medicine. In April 1991, the "Gulf War" cease fire (UN Security Council Resolution 687) required Iraq to, among other things, dismantle its remaining nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs before sanctions would be lifted.With much of Iraq's infrastructure in ruins, the effect of the sanctions was immediate and catastrophic.

Estimates vary, but a widely respected report by Professor Richard Garfield of Columbia University states that over 350,000 children under the age of 5 have died since 1991 as a result of sanctions and the aftermath of the war. In September 2001, an article in the Progressive magazine outlined documents written by the US Defense Intelligence Agency in 1991 specifically noting that by destroying water and sewage plants, Iraq's water supply would become contaminated and thousands would die.

In 1996, the UN redefined the sanctions program to allow limited oil sales to ease the suffering of the Iraqi people. As of November 2001, this "Oil-for-Food" program resulted in UN bureaucracy that held up $4.2 billion worth of contracts to Iraq. Most items are labeled "dual-use" meaning they are items that could have civilian or military application. Most of these holds were initiated by the US. The UN will adopt a definite list before May 30, but loosening sanctions without taking action to rebuild Iraq still offers only meager relief.

 

DEPLETED URANIUM:
Low Scale Nuclear War

The 1991 war on Iraq m