The people of Iraq have suffered for more than a decade from the most severe sanctions ever imposed in any nation in history. United Nations' sanctions against Iraq began in August 1990, as an attempt to force Iraq out of Kuwait. The contributors to this volume argue that the sanctions regime has failed in its most basic aims, and ask serious questions about the real motivations of the powers involved - notably the US and UK. The contributors explain how, if sanctions had been carefully applied, they could have worked. The massive bombing campaign of 1991 destroyed Iraq's social infrastructure. Sanctions should have been modified to meet the post-Gulf War environment. Also, the US and the UK refused to agree that sanctions would be lifted if Iraq complied - left little incentive to disarm, it is not surprising that Saddam Hussein did not co-operate. Why did the sanctions continue if they did not fulfil their avowed purpose?
The contributors argue that the real motives of the US and the UK were much more complex: instead of revolving around violations of human rights, terrorism and nuclear weapons proliferation, sanctions may have had more to do with political powerbroking and the danger that Iraq and Iran presented to the US hegemony in the oil-rich Middle-East. Assessing these and other related questions, the contributors put forward the idea that the current sanctions against Iraq are illegal under international law.show more