Iraq: The Human Cost of History by Tareq Y. Ismael and William W. Haddad
The people of Iraq have suffered for more than a decade from the most severe sanctions ever imposed on 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 reveal why 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 the 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 with little incentive to disarm, it is not surprising that Saddam Hussein did not cooperate.
Why did the sanctions continue if they did not fulfill 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 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.