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Kuwaiti Paper: Lift Sanctions

Agence France Press
January 21, 2001

A Kuwaiti newspaper called Sunday for the lifting of "sanctions on the Iraqi people", saying the UN embargo in force since Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait had only served the leadership in Baghdad.

"We say, motivated by Kuwait's conscience, lift the siege on the Iraqi people, and target sanctions directly at the ruling elite," said the liberal-leaning Al-Rai Al-Aam in a rare Kuwaiti call for an end to the sanctions.

It said in a front-page editorial that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's government had "greatly benefited from the international sanctions."

"The regime won't fall if it is not targeted directly," the paper said, adding that the decade-old sanctions had provided Baghdad with "a fortress in which to use Iraqis as human shields."

Al-Rai Al-Aam said that "the Iraqi regime must be punished, and the Iraqi people must be liberated," taking up the theme of 'smart sanctions' to target the leadership in Baghdad.

"There is no point in allowing the (Baghdad) regime to plant hatred in generation after generation" of Iraqis, who blame the West as well Kuwait for the continued sanctions," it said. "We, in Kuwait, are the first to realize this fact", the paper added.

The call for a lifting of sanctions was expected to stir a heated debate in Kuwait, where people have little trust in Iraq, following its seven-month occupation which was rolled back by the US-led coalition 1991 Gulf War against Saddam Hussein's regime.

It came a week after the 10th anniversary of the start of the conflict and followed Saturday's swearing in of US President George W. Bush, whose country imposed the sanctions and has been fiercely opposed to lifting them.

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