Global Policy Forum

The United States is Settling Scores


By Mohammed Sid Ahmed
December 14, 1999

It's clear in the latest crisis with Iraq that the Arab World feels very differently to the way it did in 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait. In countries like Egypt which supported the effort to expel Iraq from Kuwait, there's now a very strong feeling that there should be no further force used against Iraq. Why is that?

Because the situation is totally different. I mean Iraq at the time was seen throughout the Arab world as an aggressor, or at least for many Arab regimes including Egypt, as an aggressor against a brother Arab country. Whatever the justification given by the Iraqis this was not at all convincing for many Arabs at the time. But this is not at all the situation now. Then (in 1990) Egypt and Iraq were together in a common council, a common organisation which was the Arab Co-operation Council, including Jordan as well and Yemen. So Egypt assumed a certain responsibility for violations of the international system committed by Iraq.

This is not at all the situation now. Now there is a feeling that the people of Iraq have been suffering quite a bit. That there is unfinished business in these sanctions. There is a feeling, that I mean, that the United States is settling old accounts and that the measures that are being taken could have been viewed otherwise. When you see, for example, Israel getting away with its nuclear arsenal, and nobody whatsoever talking about this issue, taking it for granted that Israel is authorised to have nuclear weapons.

While another Arab state (Iraq) whether it has it or not, or whether its behaviour on this issue is very different to many other near nuclear states around the world. It's as if they're saying 'this country, we've had the opportunity to get it to its knees so let's squeeze it to the end.

The main victim in the last analysis is not the Iraqi regime with all its defects, but the people of Iraq, the youth of Iraq, the children of Iraq, which seem to be condemned for this generation and the next generation - for the next 30 or 40 years to come.

I mean these issues, Arabs feel them. And it's not only Arabs who feel them now. There are three powers in the Security Council - France, Russia and China - who have come to see this aspect. They've taken this crisis as a signal that the time has come to reconsider this way Iraq is being treated rather than to see it in a bridge which should be justification for still more sanctions.

More Information on Iraq Sanctions


FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.