"sanction", the Cambridge Encyclopedia reads "penalties imposed
by one state against another to force compliance with international
law or the fulfillment of treaty obligations. Retorsion is a lawful
act designed to injure another state, such as the withdrawal of economic
aid. Reprisals are acts ordinarily illegal." Embargoes and sanctions
have been used by powerful states throughout history usually to cripple
other weaker nations but their use has become systematic from the
part of the US Government ever since Castro took over Cuba in 1959.
From then on, the US Government has imposed unilateral embargoes and
sanctions against well over a dozen countries and threatened as well
a countless number of other nations that might have sought to trade
nonetheless with these US-targeted countries.
Iraq's case, sanctions were imposed on August 6, 1990 by the United
Nations Security Council in order to try to force Saddam Hussein out
of Kuwait. An air and naval blockade had
actually already been imposed by the US Air Force and Navy barely
a few hours after Saddam's forces crossed into Kuwait. However, despite
Saddam's forceful eviction from Kuwait and a cease-fire on February
28, 1991, the sanctions against Iraq have never been lifted. Their
purpose have evolved though, from evicting Saddam from Kuwait to forcing
him to comply with a UN-sanctioned disarmament policy. Now that most
weapon-analysts and UN inspection team members agree that Iraq doesn't
pose any immediate threat anymore (as opposed to other aggressive
nations in the world that keeps building up offensive stockpile of
mass-destruction weapons with the clear intent of using them some
day), the sanctions against Iraq remain in effect by the sole will
of the only government in the world that has ever used nuclear bombs
against civilian populations. (Hiroshima and Nagasaki)
throughout Iraq gives a first-hand idea of how the sanctions work.
Non-stop convoys of thousands of trucks keep bringing all sort of
goods that benefit the Iraqi elite supporting Saddam Hussein's regime,
the latest Mercedes and BMW cars can be seen in Baghdad while 99 %
the Iraqi population live now in obscenely miserable conditions deprived
of the essential staples of modern life in a country that used to
be the wealthiest and the best organized of the region prior to 1990.
Today, the UNICEF estimates that about 5,000 Iraqis die every month
as a direct result of the sanctions, primarily the very young and
the elderly who bare the harshest brunt of the food and medicine restrictions.
It has been proven by facts time and time again, elite can always
circumvent sanctions because they have the power, the contacts, the
influence and the means to do so. An economic embargo such as the
one still strangling Iraq only affects the men and women in the streets.
Under the pretext of preventing Iraq from rearming, the Iraqi population
is being deprived by supposedly civilized nations of new schoolbooks
for students, of even the most basic medicine, of imported staple-food,
of imported clothes, even toilet paper doesn't make it to Iraq.
"Hidden Wars of
Desert Storm" depicts with no concession and sometimes
gruesome images the day-to-day reality of living in Iraq and
weighs the reality of this silent, distant and monstrously hypocritical
war waged on a civilian population against the strategic and economic
gains of a handful of individuals living comfortably thousands of
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