WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With only six months left before the start in earnest of the United States presidential election campaign, the U.S. and Britain are preparing for a large scale operation against Iraq reports Agence France-Presse.
More than 500 U.S. air strikes this year alone, and $97 million to his opponents, have failed to topple Iraq's president Saddam Hussein. On August 19 U.S. warplanes for the first time since December struck positions outside the no-fly zones set up by the allied forces in northern and southern Iraq. International lawyers argue that these no-fly zones have have not been sanctioned by the UN as claimed by the U.S.
Meanwhile, pressure has been growing to ease the sanctions on Iraq. A UNICEF survey released earlier this month found that "between 1984 and 1989, there were 56 deaths of children under 5 per 1,000 live births compared to 131 deaths per 1,000 live births from 1994 to 1999." More than 1.5 million are reported to have died as a result of U.S. forced UN sanctions on Iraq.
The Associated Press reports that the head of the UN's humanitarian program, France and other members of the Security Council have expressed desperation with the United States for placing on hold hundreds of aid contracts worth millions of dollars.
Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark in his August 29 letter to the UN Security Council says,
"The UN is inviting a world ordered by the diplomacy of cruise missiles and
economic strangulation, governance by deadly high tech military assaults which
are indefensible, and foreign imposed hunger and pestilence. The Superpower
scofflaw responsible for both crimes is the same deadbeat that refuses to pay
its UN dues, directs the creation of ad hoc UN criminal tribunals not authorized by UN Charter to pursue its chosen enemies and refuses to participate in an International Criminal Tribunal created by treaty approved by 120 nations for fear that it might be held accountable under the rule of law."
At a mid-September meeting of the UN Security Council Britain is expected to submit a US-backed resolution on Iraq which will provide the U.S. and Britain with a new legal tool to take measures against Iraq reports AFP.
The British proposal calls for the creation of a so-called "United Nations Commission on Inspection and Monitoring" (UNCIM) to replace the current weapons inspection committee. Iraq calls the proposal "monstrous" charging that it is aimed at increasing restrictions on the country.
Meanwhile, despite objections from the U.S. Department of State, five staff members of the U.S. House of Representives, accompanied by Kathy Kelly of Voices In the Wilderness, and Phyllis Bennis of the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies, are on their way to Iraq to assess the situation first hand. The staff members work for Reps. Sam Gejdenson, D-Conn.; Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga.; Earl Hilliard, D-Ala.; Danny K. Davis, D-Ill.; and Bernard Sanders, I-Vt.
The U.S. is also concerned about Pope John Paul's plans for a series of pilgrimages to holy sites in the Middle East as part of the millennium celebrations, says the BBC. The U.S. is urging the Pope to drop his plans to visit the ancient Iraqi town of Ur, where the Bible says Abraham was born.
Copyright © 1999 The Wisdom Fund - All Rights Reserved. Provided that it is not edited, and author name, organization, and URL are included, this article may be printed in newspapers and magazines, and e-mailed to others.