From: "SchNEWS" (
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 14:39:56 +0000
Subject: SchNEWS 196, 18 December 1998


"Our quarrel is not with the Iraqi people. It never has been." - Tony Blair announcing missile attacks on Iraq

On Wednesday night the United States and Britain launched their latest military attack on Iraq. Cruise missiles were launched from US warships and from American B52 bombers based at British-owned Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. The next night British Tornadoes joined in. So far, the casualties are not known. But one thing can be sure - it will be the poorest and most dispossessed people of Iraq who will suffer the most.

The 1991 Gulf war saw the equivalent of seven Hiroshima bombs being dropped on Iraq killing a quarter of a million people. Since then, The US and Britain have maintained crippling sanctions against Iraq. On Wednesday Tony Blair repeated the lie that these sanctions do not cover food and medicine - baby food, enriched powder milk, bandages, refrigeration for antibiotics, animal feed equipment and much more are banned. As a result of sanctions, only half of Iraq's 8,000 farms are currently operating and those that are are doing so at 20% capacity. The consequences have been inevitable - over 1,200,000 Iraqi children have died since 1991 as a direct result of the sanctions that Tony 'our-quarrel-is-not-with-the-Iraqi-people' Blair so strongly supports.

The excuse for the latest attack on Iraq is to stop Saddam building chemical and other weapons for use in the region. In fact, Britain was the first country to use chemical weapons in the middle east when Winston Churchill ordered the gas bombing of Kurdish villages in the 1930s. For years, Britain and the United States have built Iraq up as a military power, supplying Saddam with chemical, biological and other weapons. Saddam's possession of gruesome weapons was never a problem when he was a faithful local puppet of the west. There were no air strikes when Saddam gassed 45,000 Iranian soldiers during the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s or gassed the entire Kurdish village of Halabja in 1988. It is not Saddam's brutality or firepower that the US and Britain hate - it is his independence.

The attacks against Iraq are all about one thing - oil. The middle east has two thirds of the world's known oil reserves and control of these oilfields is crucial to the superpowers. Britain and the United States have traditionally dominated the middle east through their support for Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other puppet regimes. These countries have horrific records of human rights abuses, genocide and illegal invasion of neighbouring countires - but the only jets sent to these countries are the ones we sell to their airforces to control 'insurgency' amongst Palestinian, Kurdish and other democratic movements in the region.

Since this attack is supposed to be about defending potential victims of Saddam's chemical and other weapons, SchNEWS phoned the Kurdistan Information Centre for their views - if anyone has been oppressed by Saddam's regime it is the Kurds. Funnily enough, no one else from the British media had bothered to ask them what they thought.

Yado Roz of the centre told SchNEWS, "Saddam is a criminal oppressing his own people Nobody knows that more than the Kurds. He gassed 5,000 Kurds in Halabja in the 1980s and continued using chemical weapons against Kurdish villages for months. When people fled to the mountains he used gas against the caves people hid in. While all this was happening, Britain and the United States did nothing".

In the last 15 years Turkey has burnt 3,000 Kurdish villages to the ground creating three million refugees and 10,000 political prisoners. Kurds are not allowed to speak their language or show any sign of their national identity without being sent to prison or killed. But Turkey is a member of NATO and a friend of Britain and the United States so again they do nothing.

"This attack against Iraq has nothing to do with helping the Kurds. They gave Saddam the weapons and now the monster has turned against them. They only want to show that if anyone opposes the United States and Britain they will be dealt with like this. That is the message they are giving the world with this attack."


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