Whitehall (British government) officials have claimed that Britain and the USA are to reconsider their strategy on Iraq due to the hostile reaction to their recent attack from the rest of the world, including members of NATO. In a further demonstration that NATO is far from united as far as a consensus of opinion is concerned, France and Germany express their displeasure at the unilaterally-proclaimed attack last weekend on Iraq’s anti-aircraft defences by British and US warplanes. French Foreign Minister, Hubert Vedrine, said that these attacks had no foundation in international law and stated that his country wanted to end the economic sanctions against Iraq. Convinced that a new approach is needed, the British government is in favour of a two-tiered approach : “smart” sanctions, covering chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and components and also a restriction on financial operations by leading members of the regime and secondly, a “refocusing of the public debate” on atrocities committed by the Iraqi regime. The arguments for this continuation of the war of attrition against Iraq (though much softened) is based on two premises : that since the sanctions and no-fly zones have been imposed, Iraq has not attacked anybody and secondly, that anyway the bombings were carried out in self-defence. It is claimed that Iraq had tried to shoot down the US and British planes flying over its territory. Indeed, it is claimed that since January, 1999, Iraq launched 1,200 attacks on planes with missiles and artillery. Such nonsense may be believed by a gullible few but only those who wish to be deceived fall for the most idiotic of excuses. Of course Iraq has not attacked anyone because it is not at war! The only reason it attacked Kuwait in the first place was because it was provoked by Kuwait’s (manipulated from abroad) economic policies, which were ruinous to Iraq. Why? Because everyone, including western powers, had pumped Iraq so full of weaponry that Saddam Hussein became a threat to western oil interests in the Gulf. One wonders whether it was the western powers which instigated Saddam Hussein to attack the then scourge of the USA, Iran, in the 1980s. Secondly, how can countries which have invaded another and imposed illegal no-fly zones then claim to be acting in self-defence when they are attacked by the invaded nation? Such claims are so arrogant that they are ludicrous. This is the philosophy of a burglar who enters a house and shoots the owner who is trying to defend himself. The attacks against Iraq are vandalism and terrorism on an institutional scale and are utterly unacceptable. The noises towards peace may be little more than hot air. One has to be careful with certain countries these days. One day they say something and the next day, they claim the opposite. Take for example the words of Rear-Admiral Craig Quigley of the Pentagon: “If in future we think we have good information on targets that we may destroy or damage, we reserve the right to attack them”. What right and under what law? The time has come for nations, All nations, to be judged by the same weight and measure. If some nations are accountable for what they do, then all should be. Otherwise what is the use of the UNO?
John Ashtead PRAVDA.Rru London
In a weary world of endless US military interventions, sanctions, trade tariffs and chaos, let’s pause and take stock of the shining house on the hill