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Urgent Alert: War against Iraq

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The Islamic Human Rights Commission is deeply concerned by the expansion of the war against terror to Iraq. Any military actions against Iraq would have catastrophic effects and dire implications for human rights. Islamic Human Rights Commission
September 11, 2002

Urgent Alert: War against Iraq

The Islamic Human Rights Commission is deeply concerned by the expansion of the war against terror to Iraq. Any military actions against Iraq would have catastrophic effects and dire implications for human rights.

Introduction
Since September 11, 2001, President Bush and other senior government officials have asserted that the threat of international terrorism will remain as long as Iraqi president Saddam Hussein is in power. They have maintained that the Iraqi leader is developing weapons of mass destruction and regards him as a strategic threat both to its interests in the region, to US allies in the Arab world and to Israel.

Who supports the USA?
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the USA's staunchest ally, continues to support any US action but faces strong opposition within his country. The Israeli government supports any action against Iraq.

Who opposes the imminent war?
Senior government officials in France, Germany, Spain and Russia have said that the U.S. needs to provide stronger grounds for a pre-emptive attack. Saudi Arabia has said it opposes any military action and will not allow U.S. forces to wage war from Saudi soil. Incidentally, Secretary of State Colin Powell has argued against waging war on Iraq.

This strong opposition contrasts sharply with the more than 30 nations allied with the U.S. during Desert Storm in 1991. Today, the U.S. has no Arab allies.

Why Iraq?
The USA has for the past decade pursued a policy of containment. However the new Bush administration saw the reunion of many that had served the previous President Bush that had waged war in the Gulf in 1991. Those opposing the war argue that there is no real reason to go to war, and that the new Bush administration seeks to deal with unfinished business.

Another reason for the imminent attack on Iraq is that since September 11, the USA has adopted a policy of pre-emptive attacks rather than reacting to events that happen.

Many skeptics believe that hegemonial and economic interests motivate the war on Iraq, since there are many countries that have also violated UN resolutions and international laws such as Israel and India. However these US-friendly states do not suffer the same fate.

Is this a part of the War on Terrorism?
The USA has tried to hint at connections between Iraq and Al-Qaeda and justify the attack on Iraq as part of the war on terrorism. Further, the US State Department has deemed Iraq as a sponsor of terrorism, stating in a recent report that Iraq has \"continued to provide training and political encouragement to numerous terrorist groups...\"

However, there is no apparent connection between Iraq and Al-Qaeda and the events of September 11. It is part of the US policy to deal with whoever it sees as potential threats.

US and UK action against Iraq since the Gulf War
After the end of the Gulf War in 1991, the UN imposed economic sanctions against Iraq on various pretexts of preventing Saddam Hussein's regime from developing its chemical warfare capacity. Ironically it was the powers on the UN Security Council in particular the USA and UK, who had supplied Saddam with this capability to fight with Iran. Indeed such weapons were used against the Iranian army, Iranian civilians and Kurdish civilians.

The result of these sanctions in terms of damaging Saddam Hussein has been negligible. The results for the Iraqi population have been catastrophic. Nothing short of genocide has taken place against the ordinary people of Iraq.

The US and UK currently patrol over two \"no-fly zones\" over northern and southern Iraq. They maintain that the northern one is to protect the Kurds and the southern the Shia from any air attack by Saddam Hussein. The legality of these zones continues to be contested by Iraq who regards it a violation of its sovereignty. Although it remains largely unreported by the mainstream media, the allies frequently carry out air attacks against Iraqi targets.

What are the military options?
It is contemplated that an attack limited to certain crucial targets may remove Saddam Hussein without the need for a full-scale war. However, it is most likely that a full-scale invasion of 250,000 troops may be used mainly through Kuwait.

How imminent is war?
War seems inevitable. President Bush will seek approval from the US Congress which is due to adjourn on 4 October. He may also ask the UN Security Council to demand the re-admission of weapons inspectors and possibly to set a deadline for their return.

For a major scale operation, it may take till the end of the year to get troops and equipment ready, although a smaller strike could be mounted more quickly.

What will be the effects of war?
It is highly likely that other Middle Eastern countries will be drawn into the war. This would undoubtedly result in destabilizing the region as well as further fuel anti-western sentiments.

War would inevitably cause serious civilian suffering and loss of lives, particularly of a nation crippled by a decade of sanctions. Current conditions of living are severe and will deteriorate drastically. As experienced in the Gulf war and Kosovo, current shortages of food and medicine, and severe disruption of water, sanitation, electricity etc resulting from damage to physical infrastructure through bombing campaigns will escalate to a further humanitarian catastrophe.

Requested Action
The IHRC calls on campaigners to send the following letters to Prime Minister Tony Blair and your local MP to urge them not to go to war with Iraq.
Please forward us copies of any answers you receive, so that further material can be prepared.



Your name…………………………
Your address……………………...
………………………
………………………


Date………………………



Rt. Hon. Tony Blair MP
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London
SW1A 2AA


Dear Mr. Blair,

Re: The war against Iraq

I am deeply concerned and horrified at the prospect of another war against Iraq, and am appalled by the policy that the British government has adopted in blindly following the United States without question.

The sanctions of the past decade have crippled Iraq and have led to what can only be described as genocide of the people. Any renewed military action will undoubtedly lead to massive civilian casualties and loss of lives, and will escalate the current humanitarian crisis to unprecedented level.

I strongly urge you to cease British support for this campaign. No evidence has been presented to confirm that Iraq does in fact possess weapons of mass destruction. Nor has there been any intelligence to suggest that the UK is under threat from Iraq.

Your government's actions can only confirm people's worst fears that the coalition against terror is in fact happy to terrorise more innocents as revenge. This is morally unacceptable. I hope to hear from you shortly confirming that British forces will not be taking part in any military operations against Iraq and that you will be urging the USA to stop its ill thought out attack.


Yours sincerely,


Signature







Your name…………………………
Your address………………………
………………………
………………………


Date………………………



Name of MP…………………..
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA


Dear ……………………..


Re: The war against Iraq

I am deeply concerned and horrified at the prospect of a war against Iraq, and am appalled by the policy that the British government has adopted in blindly following the United States without question.

The sanctions of the past decade have crippled Iraq and have led to what can only be described as genocide of the people. Any renewed military action will undoubtedly lead to massive civilian casualties and loss of lives, and will escalate the current humanitarian crisis to unprecedented level.

I strongly urge you to oppose any such campaign against Iraq, and hope that you will use your influence to persuade Tony Blair and others not to proceed with this course of action. No evidence has been presented to confirm that Iraq does in fact possess weapons of mass destruction. Nor has there been any intelligence to suggest that the UK is under threat from Iraq.

The government's actions can only confirm people's worst fears that the coalition against terror is in fact happy to terrorise more innocents as revenge. This is morally unacceptable. I hope to hear from you soon with regards to the stance you have taken against the proposed war against Iraq.


Yours sincerely,


Signature

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