News

Iraq's Strong Reaction to the UNSC Sanctions Review

Iraq News MAY 5, 1998

By Laurie Mylroie

The central focus of Iraq News is the tension between the considerable, proscribed WMD capabilities that Iraq is holding on to and its increasing stridency that it has complied with UNSCR 687 and it is time to lift sanctions. If you wish to receive Iraq News by email, a service which includes full-text of news reports not archived here, send your request to Laurie Mylroie .



I. RCC-BATH PARTY LEADERSHIP LETTER TO UNSC, IRAQ TV, MAY 1
II. RAMADAN, THIS LETTER IS NOT FOR YEARS OR MONTHS, REUTERS, MAY 4

    Last Monday's sanctions review was preceded by numerous Iraqi 
statements to the effect that if that review did not pave the way for 
the quick lifting of sanctions, another crisis would follow [see "Iraq 
News," Apr 16, 17, 24, & 30].   

    On Fri, May 1, the Revolutionary Command Council and Bath party 
leadership issued Iraq's formal reply to the Apr 27 review.  The 
statement was issued as an open letter to the UNSC and was broadcast 
over Iraqi television.  It was very strong, also very cryptic.  Iraq is 
threatening something serious, but what is unclear.  "Iraq News" invites 
suggestions for possible scenarios from readers.

   The statement began with a Koranic verse, "Go both of you to Pharaoh, 
for he has indeed transgressed all bounds."  Islam recognizes Moses as a 
prophet, seeing Moses as a direct channel for God's authority in 
punishing injustice and illegitimate human authority-—Pharoah.  Khomeyni 
used that symbolism against the Shah, with the slogan, "For every 
Pharaoh there is a Moses."  The text of the Iraqi statement, following, 
suggests that Saddam sees himself in the same vein.

    The statement explained, "Wars in general happen primarily either 
because of a maximum feeling of injustice, making war the only means to 
remove the injustice, or so it appears to the party concerned, or 
because of a feeling of bestial power, accompanied by a feeling of the 
nonexistence of other powers to prevent it from achieving its objectives 
though armed force or something equivalent to it."

    Both cases seem, in fact, to be one.  There exists a very aggrieved 
party, Iraq, which is one cause for war; and there exists a bestial, 
unchecked power, the world's only superpower, the US, which constitutes 
another cause for war.

    "In the first case, God, the all-wise, all-powerful, often stands by 
the wronged one if he rebels against the wrongdoer, provided that he 
pursue the true conditions of revolution under the care of God, the 
merciful, the compassionate, the omnipotent, the mighty, the lord of 
power and rule, the omniscient.

  "The second case has no supporter but the devil.  In the case of Iraq, 
Iraq has been subjected to injustice of which the annals of history 
speaks of nothing similar to it.  It has been wronged by repeated 
military aggressions from 17 January 1991 to the latest and third 
aggression in 1996.  These have been accompanied by a series of threats 
supported by military reinforcements since 1991 to this very day.  Iraq 
has also been subjected to an unprecedented blockade in terms of the 
immorality and unconscientiousness of those who have been enforcing it 
for eight years. 

 "Honorable ones, you know that Iraq resisted aggression, tyranny, and 
corruption, not only because it is a sincere patriot and a faithful 
pan-Arabist, but also because it has realized from the outset that the 
despotism, which has controlled the minds of official America after the 
disruption of international balance, for its known reasons, has made 
official America lose its sense and lose its ability to see the right 
direction and right means for dealing with the world.  America was 
intoxicated by an empty, blind, reckless, and destructive desire and a 
harsh feeling against itself and others, of the importance of using 
power against the entire world so that all will kiss the hands of the 
tyrants while sitting on their chairs in the black house or, at least, 
all will submit.  This will boost the will whose directions, meanings, 
goals, and effects are determined by the black house.  The world will, 
therefore, be enslaved by America and the free ones of the world will be 
powerless and helpless."

  This is not rhetoric; it is how Saddam views America and the world, 
while he sees himself as the champion of the "free ones."  

  "Iraq has realized this and all that the free ones in the world may 
think regarding the dark future in which America wants mankind to live, 
which is why Iraq gained a great power with deep human meanings and 
effects.  This power was bestowed on Iraq by God to be blessed and 
convinced to its people [ie Iraqis] and nation [ie Arabs] and to play a 
vital role in making Iraq more capable of rejecting oppression and 
oppressors and raising high the banner of God is Greater to be seen by 
all.

  "Iraq has rebelled against the American bull, which has run amuck ... 
The oppressed Iraq faced, with God's care, the tyranny of American 
unilateral domination.  Based on this feeling and analysis, Iraqis have 
demonstrated further patience whenever Iraq faced an oppressive American 
step.  Iraq bore the burden of this oppression in the hope that the 
countries and people of the world would rebel or, at least, the 
officials in their countries would have a minimum sense of 
responsibility toward security, safety, right, falsehood, oppression, 
oppressors, the oppressed ones, tyrants, and the patient ones."  

  That is one reason why Baghdad has waited. As the RCC explained in its 
Oct 29 97 statement, expelling Americans from UNSCOM and touching off 
this series of crisis, "Regardless of the bitterness and anger embedded 
in our psyches, hearts, and consciences, and for the purpose of knowing 
the results that could be yielded by the efforts of the countries that 
have recently taken balanced and fair positions inside and outside the 
Security Council, we deem it wise to give these countries another chance 
to act upon the dictates of justice and fairness to lift the blockade." 
That is what has been done.  

  As Iraq's May 1 statement explained, "This [American] tyranny still 
insists on the crime of the embargo under the excuse that the resolution 
of the embargo was issued by the Security Council.  We and you [UNSC 
members] know the circumstances under which these resolutions that lack 
basic positive meanings and justifications were issued.  Iraqis find it 
painful to see the Security Council remain hostage to one country which 
is backed by the old colonialist English devil's policeman.  Iraqis 
suffer more when they find out that your will is not free to say the 
right thing, which should be said to the sinful one. . . ."

  Curiously, "Iraq News" has the same complaint, but from the opposite 
perspective. The US failure to back UNSCOM against the constant, 
unrelenting pressure from Iraq and its friends is clear, described most 
recently by Fred Hiatt, "Useful Fools," Wash Post, Apr 3.  Perhaps, 
Congress could usefully take up the issue?

  But it is not only the US with important interests at stake.  After 
all, little more than a month ago, the UK issued an alert about a 
possible Iraqi anthrax attack.  The danger still exists.  Why doesn't 
the British Gov't speak up about the Saddam danger, particularly as the 
prime minister is popular and could afford to take a stand on such an 
important issue?  "Iraq News" asked an informed British reader.  He 
agreed that his Gov't's position was deplorable and suggested the Gov't 
probably just felt it was easier to follow the US lead.  Asked, "Do you 
think we have any right to complain about Neville Chamberlain?," he 
replied, "No, at least Chamberlain thought he was bringing peace."  He 
agreed that if Margaret Thatcher were still in office, the situation 
would almost certainly be different.  

 The May 1 statement continued, "It is painful that those who call 
themselves big countries in the Security Council do not behave 
responsibly . . .  They beg America, sometimes with shame, to exercise 
their constant rights on the basis of the Charter.  They, at best, would 
negotiate with America over their constant rights as the weakest party, 
something that gives America the chance to accept, reject, adjust, and 
replace without shame or fear from the consequences of self-deception."

  Thus, Iraq's friends were unable, or unwilling, to advance Iraq's 
cause at the UNSC, because of their reluctance to challenge the US. 
Unsatisfactory, limited compromises ensued.

  Therefore, this "is a situation that prompts us to competently adhere 
after relying on God, to our rights, sound path, and to great jihad for 
the sake of the rights of our people, our nation, and mankind.  This 
will not push us to despair, because we are confident that after the 
tyrannical force reaches its peak, it will slide into the bottomless 
abyss."  

  What is the "great jihad"?  The statement did not say.  Rather, it 
went on to list five grievances: 1) The continuation of the embargo, 
despite the fact that "397 inspection teams and monitoring groups, 
including 3,200 inspectors have paid over 7,000 visits to Iraq since 
1991."   2) The no-fly zones in southern and northern Iraq.  They were 
imposed by coalition fiat in Mar 91 and Aug 92 and were not approved by 
the UNSC.  Thus, Iraq complained, "The entire UNSC body with all its 
members could not draw the attention of the United States and Britain   
. . . to the fact that they have encroached upon Iraq's sovereignty and 
security and to compel them to correct this condition." 

  Also the statement complained: 3) "Naval fleets and air forces are 
stationed inside and at close distance from the Arabian Gulf in a form 
of occupation under diverse and changing pretexts.  The aim is to 
colonize this world region, control the strategic oil reserves, place 
the world in the hand of the new imperialism, which is allied with 
Zionism, and threaten Iraq and other peaceful Gulf states."

  And 4) "There has been a double standard. . . . There has been a 
failure in implementing UNSC resolutions related to Palestine and other 
problems, including the promises that were given to certain Arabs in the 
wake of the 30-state aggression against Iraq.  The Zionist entity, 
Israel, has been given a free hand in threatening and using force 
against the Palestinians, Lebanon, and Syria, and other Arab states."

  And 5) "Butler, chairman of the so-called Special Commission, has not 
been replaced despite the exposure of his false allegations. . . .  He 
was not questioned seriously in order to rectify the work of UNSCOM and 
implement objective criteria on disarmament and on realizing genuine 
balance in UNSCOM's composition."  On Sunday, al-Thawra, the Baath party 
paper, called for Amb. Butler's dismissal, while another paper predicted 
his dismissal by year's end.

  The statement concluded by acknowledging its unique and unprecedented 
quality, "Honorable UNSC members, our methods may not be familiar  . . . 
We have not intended to offend any of you with our words. . . . We 
wanted to draw your attention to bitter facts about the barbarism of the 
barbarians who belong to the Security Council, the weakness of the weak, 
and the inability of those who have influence to realize their influence 
and use it as they should.  We wanted to tell you emphatically: In the 
name of God, the merciful, the compassionate: To those against whom war 
is made, permission is given to fight, because they are wronged, and 
verily God is most powerful for their aid [Koranic verse]. The inability 
of the Iraqi people to see a lifting of the sanctions after eight years 
and despite their sacrifices through their cooperation with the UNSC and 
Special Commission will lead to dire consequences.  Despite all of this, 
our moral, constitutional, and humanitarian responsibility calls on us 
to wait and see how the Security Council will behave after this message 
of ours.  The Arab nation and great Iraq, who confronted and triumphed 
over all the ancient imperial empires, and the invasions of the Moguls 
and Tartars will be able to defend their security, rights and 
sovereignty.  Let us wait and see what happens.  And so will the unjust 
assailants know what vicissitudes their affairs will take [Koranic 
verse]." And so the statement ended.

   On Sun, May 3, addressing the closing session of an Arab conference 
in Baghdad, which Iraq called, "the Arab Popular Forces Conference," 
Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, referring to Fri's statement said, 
"The age of this letter is not years or months.  It has a limited time. 
. . . Either we accept to die slowly or we fight in order to lift the 
embargo."

   Also, on Sun, Al Thawra and Babil, owned by Uday, carried articles 
referring to Fri's statement.  They said that we are ringing the "bell 
of danger" and it is the loudest we can ring it.



I. RCC-BAATH PARTY LEADERSHIP LETTER TO UNSC Iraqi Leadership's 'Open Message' to UNSC Baghdad Iraq Television Network in Arabic 1700 GMT 1 May 98 [Announcer-read report over video] [FBIS Translated Text] Leader President Saddam Husayn, may God preserve him, has chaired a joint meeting of the Revolution Command Council and the Iraq Command of the Arab Socialist Ba'th Party. The meeting was attended by the speaker of the National Assembly, the head of the Presidential Office, the foreign minister, and the minister of culture and information. The meeting addressed an open message to the president and members of the UN Security Council. The following is the text of the message. In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate, An Open Message: "Go, both of you, to Pharaoh, for he has indeed transgressed all bounds." [Koranic verse] Honorable president and Members of the Security Council, peace be upon those who follow the right path. Your institutions emerged and took shape amid the circumstances of the post-World War II and following the failure of the League of Nations in maintaining international peace and security, as was said by those who were called or called themselves the big powers and superpowers and continue to do so up to this moment. These institutions, through the principles of the UN Charter, drew the attention of the peoples of the world, for those principles were said to basically aim at a world free of tyranny, despotism, and wars. Toward that end, the UN Security Council has been authorized specific powers. It is known that wars in general happen primarily either because of a maximum feeling of injustice, making war the only means to remove the injustice, or so it appears to the party concerned, or because of a feeling of bestial power, accompanied by a feeling of the nonexistence of other powers to prevent it from achieving its objectives through armed force or something equivalent to it. In the first case, God, the all-wise, all-powerful, often stands by the wronged one if he rebels against the wrongdoer, provided that he pursue the true conditions of revolution under the care of God, the merciful, the compassionate, the omnipotent, the mighty, the lord of power and rule, the omniscient. The second case has no supporter but the devil. In the case of Iraq, Iraq has been subjected to injustice of which the annals of history speaks of nothing similar to it. It has been wronged by repeated military aggressions from 17 January 1991 to the latest and third aggression in 1996. These have been accompanied by a series of threats supported by military reinforcements since 1991 to this very day. Iraq has also been subjected to an unprecedented blockade in terms of the immorality and unconscientiousness of those who have been enforcing it for eight years. Honorable ones, you know that Iraq resisted aggression, tyranny, and corruption, not only because it is a sincere patriot and a faithful pan-Arabist, but also because it has realized from the outset that the despotism, which has controlled the minds of official America after the disruption of international balance, for its known reasons, has made official America lose its senses and lose its ability to see the right direction and right means for dealing with the world. America was intoxicated by an empty blind, reckless, and destructive desire and a harsh feeling against itself and others, of the importance of using power against the entire world so that all will kiss the hands of the tyrants while sitting on their chairs in the black house or, at least, all will submit. This will boost the will whose directions, meanings, goals, and effects are determined by the black house. The world will, therefore, be enslaved by America and the free ones of the world will be powerless and helpless. Iraq has realized this and all that the free ones in the world may think regarding the dark future in which America wants mankind to live, which is why Iraq gained a great power with deep human meanings and effects. This power was bestowed on Iraq by God to be blessed and convinced to its people and nation and to play a vital role in making Iraq more capable of rejecting oppression and oppressors and raising high the banner of God is Greater to be seen by all. Iraq has rebelled against the American bull, which has run amuck and is threatening to destroy the entire world and itself as well. The oppressed Iraq faced, with God's care, the tyranny of American unilateral domination. Based on this feeling and analysis, Iraqis have demonstrated further patience whenever Iraq faced an oppressive American step. Iraq bore the burden of this oppression in the hope that the countries and people of the world would rebel or, at least, the officials in their countries would have a minimum sense of responsibility toward security, safety, right, falsehood, oppression, oppressors, the oppressed ones, tyrants, and the patient ones. What further embitters the Iraqis, however, is that this tyranny still insists on the crime of the embargo under the excuse that the resolution of the embargo was issued by the Security Council. We and you know the circumstances under which these resolutions that lack basic positive meanings and justifications were issued. Iraqis find it painful to see the Security Council remain hostage to one country which is backed by the old colonialist English devil's policeman. Iraqis suffer more when they find out that your will is not free to say the right thing, which should be said to the sinful one who is almost drowned in the swamp of evil. It is painful that those who call themselves big countries in the Security Council do not behave responsibly and efficiently according to the conditions that justify their title and membership in the Security Council. What is worse is that America asks them to do tasks with superciliousness. They beg America, sometimes with shame, to exercise their constant rights on the basis of the Charter. They, at best, would negotiate with America over their constant rights as the weakest party, something that gives America the chance to accept, reject, adjust, and replace without shame or fear from the consequences of self-deception. Honorable ones: This is a shameful situation; however, it is a situation that prompts us to competently adhere, after relying on God, to our rights, sound path, and to great jihad for the sake of the rights of our people, our nation, and mankind. This will not push us to despair, because we are confident that after the tyrannical force reaches its highest peak, it will slide into the bottomless abyss. If examples are needed for what we have said, here are following examples: 1. The blockade has been in force for eight years and has not been lifted. Even Paragraph 22 has not been implemented in accordance with Resolution 687 itself. This is despite the fact that the so-called prohibited weapons and means of their production have been destroyed. A total of 397 inspection teams and monitoring groups, including 3200 inspectors paid over 7,000 visits since 1991; however, they could not discover or prove anything to the contrary. We firmly believe that the failure of the UN Security Council member states, particularly the permanent ones, to tell this truth, which is known to them, as strongly and emphatically as required, so that they would not be embarrassed by the US rage against them, and their inability to implement Paragraph 22 and lift the blockade, are intended to leave matters undecided, unclear, and postponed. 2. The so-called parallels [air exclusion zones] imposed in north and south Iraq and the interference in Iraq s internal affairs contradict the UNSC resolutions. The United States claims that these parallels were decided by the UNSC. The entire UNSC body with all its members could not draw the attention of the United States and Britain, who are member states and two of the five permanent members, to the fact that they have encroached upon Iraq's sovereignty and security and to compel them to correct this condition. 3. Naval fleets and air forces are stationed inside and at close distance from the Arabian Gulf in a form of occupation under diverse and changing pretexts. They put a new mask with a new color daily. The aim is to colonize this world region, control the strategic oil reserves, place the world in the hand of the new imperialism, which is allied with Zionism, and threaten Iraq and other peaceful Gulf states. 4. There has been a double standard approach in dealing with the Arab and Islamic nations. There has been a failure in implementing UNSC resolutions related to Palestine and other problems, including the promises that were given to certain Arabs in the wake of the 30-state aggression against Iraq. The Zionist entity, Israel, has been given a free hand in threatening and using force against the Palestinians, Lebanon, and Syria, and other Arab states. 5. Butler, chairman of the so called Special Commission, has not been replaced despite the exposure of his false allegations and the lies he told in all that he said and claimed. He was not questioned seriously in order to rectify the work of UNSCOM and implement objective criteria on disarmament and on realizing genuine balance in UNSCOM's composition. It was hoped that the UNSC members would end their tenure of paralysis and weakness, which afflicted some members of the UNSC. Honorable UNSC members, our methods may not be familiar, especially at a stage where many officials, not people, imagine that the United States decides matters of life and death; however, we believe that God alone decides matters of life and death, that God grants high positions to those who tell the truth and those who defend right in this world and the hereafter. The US policy is only a reckless bull, which will soon fall in the well of life and be defeated by the brave resistance of peoples after God hamstrings it and after it burns up in its own vices and guilt so that the banner of Allahu Akbar [God is great] will remain on its staff, fluttering and glorious, and the voice of justice will triumph over the voice of injustice everywhere in the world. If you see an injustice, you must right it with your own hand. If you cannot use your hand, you can use your tongue. If you still cannot do it with your tongue, then by the will of your heart. This is the weakest faith [a saying of the prophet Muhammad.] Honorable president and members of the UNSC, we have not intended to offend any of you with our words which you might think hurt your feelings. It never occurred to us to harm anyone of you personally. Rather, we mean to honor your peoples and nations. In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate, 0 mankind, we created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that ye may know each other, not that ye may despise each other. Verily, the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous of you [Koranic verses]. We wanted to draw your attention to bitter facts about the barbarism of the barbarians who belong to the Security Council, the weakness of the weak, and the inability of those who have influence to realize their influence and use it as they should. We wanted to tell you emphatically, In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate: To those against whom war is made, permission is given to fight, because they are wronged, and verily Allah is most powerful for their aid [Koranic verse]. The inability of the Iraqi people to see a lifting of the sanctions after eight years and despite their sacrifices through their cooperation with the UNSC and Special Commission will lead to dire consequences. Despite all of this, our moral, constitutional, and humanitarian responsibility calls on us to wait and see how the Security Council will behave after this message of ours. The Arab nation and great Iraq, who confronted and triumphed over all the ancient imperialist empires, and the invasions of the Moguls and Tartars will be able to defend their security, rights, and sovereignty Let us wait and see what happens. And so will the unjust assailants know what vicissitudes their affairs will take. [Koranic verse]