While many are wishing to walk the plank at Chilcot and point the finger of blame over Britain’s actions inside of Iraq, its been noticed that few questions have been asked into the credibility of the evidence, that was initially provided and prompted the 2003 invasion.

The main allegations given at the time, seemed to change each day, as every government argument buckled under the failure to provide credible evidence, especially relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction, which if Blair was to be taken seriously, would have wiped us all out in 45 minutes, eight years ago.

But neither Britain or Iraq’s neighbours were exterminated by weapons, built in some secret lab and the reason for this lies not in the answers Blair has given at Chilcot but in the fact that the answers were already in the public domain and not in some shock “WikiLeaks” revelation.

The British Government have so far spent over £2.7 million looking for answers at the Chilcot Inquiry, with Britain having spent millions of pounds already chasing after Weapons of Mass Destruction, when a basic Google search would have first drawn Parliaments attention to the 1997 essay “De-Linking sanctions: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” by US activist Sara Flounders.

After the Gulf War in the early 1990’s, the UN imposed a sanctions regime upon Iraq, where the country’s ability to import and export, was put into the hands of a New York based committee, where according to Flounders, “the U.S. has already justified some of the most harmful sanctions by calling them necessary to prevent Iraq from developing any "weapons of mass destruction".

Unbeknown to the £2.7 million Inquiry in London, is that the UN sanctions committee had “banned pencils for school children because these pencils contain graphite, which is also a lubricant. It has banned batteries, X-ray machines, ambulances because they could be used in battles, computers, and even enriched powdered milk, which supposedly could be used in germ warfare.”

Sara Flounders also demonstrated how thousands of Iraq’s children, who perished under the sanctions, died as a consequence of impure drinking water, in comparison to life before the Gulf War, where over 96% of the population had a potable supply, but the destruction to water supplies in 1991 and the subsequent efforts to prevent Saddam from building his stockpile of weapons, caused the United States and UN to take the following measures;

“Washington defines chlorine as a dual-use item, as it does the pipes that would be used to carry water. The U.S. government considers these and a thousand other items as having some possible dual use, i.e. that could be used to assist the Iraqi military” and so even if sanctions had been ‘de-linked’, into categories of humanitarian and military, these prohibited items would have been placed in the dual-use category under ‘military sanctions’ and there-fore denied.

It can almost be treated as an irony, that in 2001 Andy Kershaw of the Independent included the statement, “Tony Blair, on numerous occasions, has misled Parliament and the country (perhaps unwittingly)” over Iraq, in the highly acclaimed article “A chamber of Horrors near the Garden of Eden”.

Kershaw asked the following questions, which Chilcot has conveniently brushed aside, that the severity of the UN imposed Sanctions had brought about such destitution across Iraq, did Blair seriously expect Saddam Hussein to wage war with "beef extract powder and broth"? Or did the Sanction Committee expect him to turn on the Kurds again by spraying them with "malt extract"? Or to send his presidential guard back into Kuwait armed to the teeth with "pencils"?

It seems that twenty years after the first Gulf War, both Tony Blair and the Chilcot Inquiry still haven’t heard of UN Security Council 661 Committee. If they have, then as Kershaw pointed out “they keep quiet about it“ because as the Independent revealed in 2001, “This committee, which meets in New York and does not publish minutes, supervises sanctions on Iraq. The country's requirements have to be submitted to 661 and, often after bureaucratic delay, a judgement is handed down on what Iraq can and cannot buy“.

So while people sit at home, watching the Chilcot Inquiry and reading the press reports over the allegations against Anthony Blair QC, just remember the ghost of Gertrude Bell is now haunting the corridors of Parliament and whose voice will forever echo in the ears of those who walk them, if only to serve as a warning to Britain, “You may rely upon one thing — I’ll never engage in creating kings again.”

By Hussein Al-alak, chairman of the Iraq Solidarity Campaign.


Michael said...

During today's proceedings Blair said "I believed that he would, once he was abreast of the British but most of all the US negotiating history, conclude that 1441 meant what it said: Saddam had a final opportunity to comply, failure to do so was a material breach, and that revived the earlier resolutions authorising force.''

But this is a blatant lie, besides the fact there would not have been an attempt by the UK & USA for a second Resolution if 1441 in itself had authorised the use of force. The reality is Resolution 1441 had been obtained under false pretences mostly on the back of comments made by Colin Powell concerning Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and their ability to attack the west. It was so full of untruths that Powell himself at a later date apologised claiming he was mislead.

But Resolution 1441 did not include the critical words "all necessary means". They are important words because they are the formula used by the UN to indicate that the use of force is authorised. They were the words used to justify military action against Iraq in 1991 and, subsequently, when the security council authorised intervention in Rwanda, Bosnia, Somalia and Haiti.

Nevertheless Blair claims that Resolution 1441 itself gave authorisation for this illegal war. But if you look at the relevant part of 1441 it says that "the Security Council decides …to afford Iraq, by this resolution, a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the Council; and accordingly decides to set up an enhanced inspection regime…" It also says that non-compliance "will be reported to the Council for assessment" and directs the Security Council "to convene immediately" on receipt of the weapons inspectors’ report "in order to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all of the relevant Council resolutions." Resolution 1441 further "Recalls, in that context, that the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations."

That’s it. To anyone vaguely familiar with the English language this can only mean that it is the responsibility of the Security Council as a body -- all fifteen members including each of the Permanent Members with a veto -- to decide whether and to what extent there has been compliance and what to do about it. It’s not the American or British government that has to be "convinced" ,according to 1441, it’s the Security Council.

Indeed if you look at comments made by members of the Security Council during the debate regarding its approval, it's clear that all of the Security Council, obviously with the exception of the US , specifically stated that Resolution 1441 should not be used an an authorisation for an invasion. It is clear therefore that the USA did not only lie in an attempt to get a second Resolution but they also lied to get Resolution 1441 approved.

Michael said...

These are the comments made by various Ambassadors to the United Nations made at the time 1441 was approved.

The representative of France welcomed the two-stage approach required by the resolution, saying that the concept of “automaticity” for the use of force had been eliminated.

The representatives of China and the Russian Federation stressed that only UNMOVIC and the IAEA had the authority to report violations by Iraq of the resolution’s requirements.

JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom )said there was no “automaticity” in the resolution. If there was a further Iraqi breach of its disarmament obligations, the matter would return to the Council for discussion.

ADOLPHO AGUILAR ZINSER (Mexico) said "Those who had advocated the automatic recourse to the use of force had agreed to afford Iraq a final chance, he said. Iraq was now obliged to fully comply with its international obligations. The resolution had eliminated “automaticity” in the use of force as a result of material breach.

RICHARD RYAN (Ireland) said that the unanimous adoption of the resolution was a strong statement of the Council’s unity. The resolution was about disarming Iraq without the use of force.

SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) He emphasised that the resolution did not contain any provisions for the automatic use of force and underlined that the sponsors of the text had affirmed that today.

FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) His country had voted in favour after having received from the United States and United Kingdom, as well as France and the Russian Federation, reassurances that the resolution would not be used as pretext to strike Iraq and did not constitute a basis for “automaticity”.


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