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Sender: owner-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 98 16:38:27 CST
From: Ronald Bleier <rbleier@igc.apc.org>
Organization: Desip
Subject: Organization for Democratic Action Statement on Iraq
Article: 28552

Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998 12:30:42 +0000
From: odaa <odaa@p-ol.com>
Organization: oda
Subject: ODA Statement on Iraq

In face of American aggression, we stand unequivocally with Iraq: The fate of Palestine and Iraq is one

Statement by The Organization for Democratic Action (ODA), 20 February 1998

Iraq today is facing an aggressive American-Israeli coalition which is threatening to drag the Middle East into a nuclear catastrophe. The Arab peoples, with the Palestinians at their forefront, are taking to the streets in a new wave of anti-Imperialist sentiments. The fate of the coming showdown between the U.S. and Iraq will determine the outcome of the struggle for development and self-determination in the Middle East.

All the American talk of peace in the Middle East over the last seven years has now been shown to be a red herring, which the U.S. used to camouflage its real interest in the region: consolidating its control over the oil-rich area.

The United States is trying to instigate hysteria in international public opinion by turning Israel into a potential victim. For an isolated America, any excuse is good enough for launching this war.

Richard Butler, the chairman of the UN special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) made a ridiculous propagandistic statement to the effect that Iraq has enough biological weapons to destroy Tel Aviv. In fact, to keep the record straight, it was Israel who introduced the region to nuclear weapons, thus forcing the Arab side to equip itself with a defensive answer to this threat.

Iraq does not threaten any country in the region. Even in 1991 it would have been possible to solve the crisis peacefully, but the United State opted for war. Today, not even the pretext of Kuwait exists. Apart from Britain, the whole world today is against an American attack on Iraq. Russia, France and China, three of the five permanent members of the UN security council, have voiced their opposition to the impending war.

Notwithstanding its high-faultin' talk on UN resolutions, the U.S. is neglecting that international body. When it comes to Israel it gives it full support despite Israel's regular breeches of international law.

Clinton accepted UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's mission to Baghdad as a ploy to demonstrate America's flexibility. In fact, he hopes the mission will fail, and is meanwhile pushing aggressively for a military outcome.

America is finding it very difficult to convince anyone of its purported motives in this matter. It is not as interested in finding weapons of mass destruction as it is in Saddam's head. For seven years Iraq has been under a severe regime of international inspection. It has agreed to all the UN's decisions but demanded, not unreasonably, that a date be set for an end to this humiliating inspection of outsiders in the country; neither would any other sovereign country tolerate such a gross violation of its internal affairs. The hunger, the death of innocents, and lack of development imposed on Iraq by the U.S. is well-known. The U.S. has also imposed a quota on Iraq's sale of oil to preclude the country from reconstructing its deteriorating economy.

All this leads to the only reasonable evaluation of American policy: A brutal attempt by the superpower to re-impose its unequivocal hegemony on the region and the world. In light of the world's growing economic crisis, which could result in the collapse of the pro-American regimes in East Asia -- as well as a dangerous stalemate in the Middle East -- new reassurances are needed for capitalist pipe dreams.

America's brutal sanctions on Iraq are now being followed by its plan to launch a full-scale war on the Iraqi people. Through this war America hopes to replace Saddam Hussein with a leader who will bow to American dictates and assist the U.S. in its drive for a monopoly over world energy sources. Such conduct is a dangerous precedent in international relations. We stress that the nature of the Iraqi regime is an internal Iraqi issue.

In light of the clear American aggression, and its policy of double standards concerning the Middle East, the distinction made by some opponents of the war between supporting the Iraqi people and supporting Sadam Hussein should be rejected. In face of a military showdown, this position amounts to shooting the anti-war movement in its own foot.

Clinton and Albright are also trying to portray themselves as the saviours of the Iraqi people from their reckless leader.

The Palestinian people are standing at the forefront of support for Iraq in anti- American and Israeli demonstrations, in spite of Arafat's orders to retrain public shows of support for Iraq. Even media commentary supportive of Iraq is being suppressed by the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinians' identification with Iraq has a concrete justification. In 1991 they paid the price of the Iraqi defeat, as embodied in the Madrid and subsequently the Oslo process. Their leadership switched sides and joined the American axis, leaving them with no gains. The Palestinian Authority is a direct product of the Oslo agreements and its Israeli Labor Party architects. The PA derives its legitimacy from the Israeli occupation - all under the auspices of a new American regional order. The Palestinians, therefore, have a direct interest in the outcome of the events in the Gulf. A brave Iraqi stand will force the U.S. to retreat and will weaken the US chokehold over the Arab people and their natural resources. On the other hand, an Iraqi defeat would enable Israel and the US to impose a final settlement the Palestinians that would not even meet the most minimally just demands for a full Israeli withdrawal and the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state.

We call on all democratic forces, both in the region and abroad, to stand unequivocally with Iraq and against American aggression. We condemn any attempts by the PA or other Arab regimes to stifle Arab solidarity with Iraq and its leadership.