Hands off Iraq
Statement of the South Movement
Feb 7 1998

The government of the United States is openly planning still another military attack on the people of Iraq and seeking Australian assistance for this. Once again, the most powerful military machine in history is to be turned against helpless civilians, whose murder will again be referred  to on television as "collateral damage".

There is no chance that such an assault will not kill innocent civilians and constitutes a Crime of Aggression, specifically prohibited by the Nuremberg Charter of 1945.

There is something particularly hypocritical in the US claim of a right to prevent destroy Iraq's ability to create "weapons of mass destruction" -- and using the latest high-technology weapons of mass destruction to do so. The US government is still the only one in world history to have used nuclear weapons against another country, and it has used chemical and probably biological weapons in its wars against national independence struggles in the Third World.

The case against Iraq is always presented as a possibility of Iraq having chemical or biological weapons, and then these unproven statements are used to build a whole scenario about what could happen if Iraq uses these weapons. We should not forget that most UNSCOM information is built on mere speculation from CIA sources and unproven remarks from disenchanted exiles.

Anatoly Kuntsevich, chemical weapons adviser to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said on Wednesday the United States and its allies "have no targets in Iraq that justify destruction."

Iraq now has no stocks of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, nor the means to produce them, Kuntsevich said, according to the Russian Interfax news agency and relayed by Agence France Presse on Feb 4.

What is not speculation is the immense suffering the people of Iraq have been enduring due to the sanctions. During the past seven years, more than one million Iraqi civilians have died from insufficient food and medicine. According to an UNICEF 1997 report, one million Iraqi children under the age of five are suffering from severe malnutrition.

Pope John Paul II has "uneqivocally condemned" the sanctions against the Iraqi people saying that "the weak and the innocent cannot pay for mistakes for which they are not responsible." There is no justification for continuing the blockade, let alone renewing US military attacks.

"Hands off Iraq!" should be the demand of non-aligned countries and progressive people around the world.