Iraq: April 6, 2000

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American and British warplanes hit targets in southern Iraq, in response to Iraqi guns firing on US aircraft over the northern no-fly zone. Iraq reported that US air raids in the south killed fourteen and wounded 19 civilians. Iraq makes these claims regularly, without any proof. These press releases are picked up by media hostile to the US, especially in the Arab world. Lies, repeated often enough, attain an aura of truth. A similar strategy has been Iraq's repeated claims that the UN embargo is killing Iraqi children. There has been an increase in deaths among Iraqi children, but only in areas where Iraq is in charge of distributing medical and food aid. In northern Iraq, the Kurdish region, the UN supervises this task and the health of the local children is much better than in the south. What it comes down to is a situation where a dictator is killing his own people in order to break the blockade. Iraq receives ample food and medical supplies, but deliberately withholds them from populations hostile to him (primarily Shiia Arabs.) Two birds with one stone, as he terrorizes people who have often rebelled against his rule, and then blames his actions on the UN blockade. In the UN, most members realize what is going on, but many now feel that there is no way out other than invading Iraq, which is politically difficult, or lifting the blockade.

 

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