The "War against Islam"

Killing Muslim Children


Bin Laden, the US, Iraq and Afghanistan

the greatest slaughter of children that mankind has known ... the greatest massacre of children in the history of mankind." (Bin Laden December 16, 2004),

The second of the three reasons bin Laden gives for ordering Muslims to kill Americans and their allies in his 1988 fatwa is the "slaughter of Muslim children in Iraq. This slaughter took the form of higher infant mortality rates (mainly) caused by unclean drinking water. Sanctions following the 1991 Gulf War prevented purification equipment and supplies from reaching Iraq.

But how interested was bin Laden in Musilm children's lives?  The country he  lived in at the time, Afghanistan,  had an even higher infant mortality rates and it was also caused by human actors. The perpetrators were not non-Muslims or moderates but the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban, which first hindered and finally expelled international aid groups that provided the desperately poor country basic health services like vaccinations and clean drinking water. Bin Laden not only did not accuse the Taliban of slaughter, he proclaimed Afghanistan under their rule to be "the only Islamic country" in existance.

The UN Sanctions on Iraq

Bin Laden's public statements repeatedly denounce America as the mass murderer of Iraqi children.[1] As of 2005 he'd mentioned it on 12 different occasions in interviews, fatawa, communiqués, etc., talking variously of the deaths of "more than 600,000 children" (October November 1996) [1.1] "a million innocent children" (October 7, 2001) [1.2] "more than 1.5 million Iraqi children" (October 6, 2002) [1.3] calling the tragedy "a result of the US government's targeting of Muslim civilians and executing more than 600,000 Muslim children in Iraq ..." "The mass butchering of children, is the worst thing that humanity has ever known" (October 29, 2004) [1.31] ... the greatest slaughter of children that mankind has known ... the greatest massacre of children in the history of mankind." (December 16, 2004), [1.32]

The alleged slaughter is one of the three reasons given why it is "an individual duty for every Muslim" to "kill the Americans and their allies -- civilians and military ..." in his 1998 fatwa for "Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders" [1.321]http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/docs/980223-fatwa.htm

The deaths also come up in the Al-Qaeda claim that "[w]e have the right to kill 4 million Americans - 2 million of them children," asserted by Al-Qaeda spokesman Suleiman Abu Gheith. In an essay posted in 2002 on an Islamist website he explains that Muslims have the right to vengence for Muslims allegedly killed by America. The four million includes "1,200,000 Muslims ... killed in the past decade ... due to the American bombings and siege of Iraq." Muslim have a right to kill an equal number and "we have not reached parity with them." [1.33]

The calculations of a half million, or one million, or one and half million Iraqi children killed come not from body counts after bombings or combat but from higher infant mortality rates. The US had pushed the UN to sanction Iraq, the sanctions prevented Iraq from getting equipment and supplies to make weapons of mass destruction but also "food and medicine" [1.331] (more accurately equipment and supplies needed to purify water). This lowered resistance to disease and raised death rates, especially infant mortality.[1.34] The new high mortality rate was subtracted from the old and the difference was the massacre. [1.35]

The affect of sanctions on Iraq and Iraqi infant mortality was a huge issue in the Muslim world and in Europe in the 1990s.

Sanction critics complained the US and coalition bombing during Gulf War I destroyed electrical power plants and disabled vital water-pumping and sanitation systems; that the sanctions made it difficult to import what was needed to rebuild, and added hunger and malnutrition. Defenders claimed Saddam posed a danger of far larger loss of life than the high mortality rate for which he as well as the sanctions were  responsible.  [1.355]

 

Afghanistan and the Taliban and infant mortality

But how genuinely concerned is bin Laden and al-Qaeda over the deaths of Muslim children? At the same time bin Laden was raging against this loss of life he was living in a country - Afghanistan - with not only a worse health and nutrition situation for women and children than Iraq's, but one far worse than other poor (underdeveloped) countries. Infant morality was the worst in the world. A full one quarter of Afghan children died before their 5th birthday -- a rate 10x the level of the rest of the 3rd world. A staggering 1700 mothers out of 100,000 died giving birth. [2.15]

1995 Developing World
as a whole
Iraq Afghanistan
Infant Mortality (deaths per 1000 births) 70 100-110 163
Children who died before their 5th birthday 2.5% 9-11% 25%
Life expectancy (years) 61 ? 43-44
[2.1]

And these horendous conditions existed for pretty much the same reason as those in Iraq... lack of health care and safe water.

1995 Developing World
as a whole
Afghanistan
Population with "access to health care" 80% 29%
Population with "access to safe water" 70% 12%
[2.15]

Children died of simple, preventable diseases like measles and diarrhoea because there was no health facilities and no clean water.[2.15]

And like Iraq, Afghanistan this tragedy had a villain. The Taliban wasn't responsible for the destruction of infrastructure - that had been done by the Soviets and Afghan warlords during the Afghanistan Civil War - nor for the country's poverty and remoteness. But just as the UN kept out "dual use" medicine, water treatment replacement parts and essential water purification chemicals like chlorine and carbon, etc., the Taliban hindered and finally kicked out aid agencies with their expertise, food, and medical supplies.

While Iraq had the Arab Muslim world and Europe exposing the death and destruction caused - or at least caused in part - by United States' policies, the much more remote Afghanistan had little more than one Pakistani journalist, Ahmad Rashid, to sound the alarm. [2.2]

The Taliban's time in power over most of Afghanistan spans roughly five years from September 1996 when they captured Afghanistan's capital, Kabul to late 2001 when the Northern Alliance and U.S. drove them from power. Statistics covering a slightly longer period, from 1995 to 2003 show infant mortality, under 5 mortality, etc. a little worse, but more or less unchanged. [2.3](UN figures don't come out every year)

UNICEF stats on Afghanistan
Year infant mortality rate
per 1000
Under 5-years-old mortality rate
per 1000
1995 163 250
2003 165 252
http://web.archive.org/web/20050507180652/http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/afghanistan_afghanistan_statistics.html

FIND SOME CODE THAT WILL ALLOW A BOX TO BE WRAPPED AROUND ON THE WEB .... CHECK GOOGLE GROUPS!!!!!!

FIND SOURCE FOR IRAQ INFANT MORTALITY

Aid Groups and Infant Mortality

International development programs give high priority to reducing infant mortality because it can be drastically reduced much more easily and cheaply than other kinds of mortality. Vaccinations, clean drinking water, [2.4] [source: http://www.ceeindia.org/mdgs/goal_4.htm Centre for Environment Education ] and paying attention to "illiteracy, poverty, malnutrition, poor hygiene, and crippled health-care systems" all keep more babies alive. [2.5]http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/05/4a3a9c3f-5a45-4287-99e3-3f6866bb2bfd.html

While rich countries have very low infant mortality, a country does not have to be wealthy to dramatically lower its infant mortality,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Infant_mortality_vs.jpg partly because of the relatively low cost, and partly because there are international aid programs willing to do the work at no cost to the poor country's government.

Taliban and aid groups

And sure enough there were aid and development groups in Afghanistan working to reduce that infant mortality rate. Unfortunately, the Taliban continually harrassed the international aid agencies. In Summer 1997 the Taliban issued an edict "formalized previous restrictions on disallowing women from working, but it now also banned them from working for Western humanitarian aid agencies, except in the medical sector.

Women are not allowed to work in any field except the medical sector. Women working in the medical sector should not sit in the seat next to the driver. No Afghan women has the right to be transported in the same car as foreigners ... [2.6] (Taliban, Ahmed Rashid, (2000) p.106)

"During the next 18 months" following October 1996 "the Taliban tightened the screws ever further. They closed down home schools for girls which had been allowed to continue and then prevented women from attending general hospitals." They demanded "that all Muslim female humanitarian workers coming to Afghanistan be accompanied by a male relative." [2.7] (Taliban, Ahmed Rashid, (2000) p.114)

"By 1998, the Kabul Shura [the unelected city council in the capital of Afghanistan] was keen to moderate Taliban policies so that UN agencies could return to Afghanistan and greater international aid flow to the cities. Taliban leaders in the Kabul and Jalalabad Shuras were feeling the growing public discontent at rising prices, lack of food and the cut-back in humanitarian aid. However, Mullah Omar and the Kandahar leadership [the Taliban's national leadership] refused to allow an expansion of UN aid activities and eventually forced the UN to quit." [2.8](Taliban, Ahmed Rashid, (2000) p.103-4)

Proof of the effectiveness of the Taliban's harassment in keeping infant death rates high was what happened after they were driven out and agencies let back in Afghanistan. Five years after the fall of the Taliban regime, an "expansion of health clinics to rural areas" and "better coverage of the population with basic vaccinations against measles, polio and tetanus" has cut the "the number of children dying before their first birthday" to 135 per 1,000. With Afghanistan's birth rate this meant 40,000 to 50,000 fewer infants were dying every year and continued mortality delines in store. (Immunization coverage in 2003 was 19.5 percent of the child population; in 2006 it rose to 35 percent. The target is 80 percent.)

KABUL, Afghanistan, April 26 - Infant mortality has dropped by 18 percent in Afghanistan, one of the first real signs of recovery for the country five years after the fall of the Taliban regime, health officials said Thursday.

"Despite many challenges, there are clear signs of health sector recovery and progress throughout the country," Dr. Muhammad Amin Fatimi, the health minister, told journalists here.

The number of children who die before their first birthday has dropped to 135 per 1,000 in 2006 from 165 per 1,000 live births in 2001, according to a countrywide survey by Johns Hopkins University, he said.

That represents a drop of 18 percent, and means that 40,000 to 50,000 fewer infants are dying now than in the Taliban era, Dr. Fatimi said. "Thanks be to God they are celebrating, laughing and smiling," he said. "These infants are the future builders of our country." [2.9]http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/27/world/middleeast/27kabul.html

"The only Islamic country"

In attacking America and the sanctions on Iraq, bin Laden was in no way defending the Iraqi regime. Iraq's government was "socialist," and as he told his followers, "the socialists are infidels", to be allied with only if necessary and then only temporarily. [1.9]

His kind of government was the Taliban's self-styled "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan". The Taliban were not just exemplary or better than other Muslim rulers, according to bin Laden, they made Afghanistan during the five years they ruled it "the only Islamic country" in the world. [2] After they fell there were no islamic countries in the world, all governments of Muslim countries had to be fought against. [2.05]

Why the Taliban did what they did

Like the United States and the United Nations, the Taliban had reasons for what they were doing, they believed government should be limited

government offices in [the capital] Kabul and [provincial capital] Kandahar are open for only four hours a day, from 8 am to noon. The Taliban then break for prayers and a long afternoon siesta. ... nobody was available to answer queries in the ministries. [3](Ahmed Rashid, p.101-2)

They were very concerned about the goals of the UN and protecting Islam from these goals:

Let us state what sort of education the UN wants. This is a big infidel policy which gives such obscene freedom to women which would lead to adultery and hearld the destruction of Islam. In any Islamic country where adultery becomes common, that country is destroyed and enters the domination of the infidels because their men become like women and women cannot defend themselves. Anyone who talks to us should do so within Islam's framework. The Holy Koran cannot adjust itself to other people's requirements, people should adjust themselves to the requirements of the Holy Koran [Attorney General Maulvi Jalil-ullah Maulvizada in an interview June 1997,[3.1] (Taliban by Rashid p.111-2)]

And they had other priorities.

In the capital "hundereds of Taliban cadres and bureacrats were involved in a drive to force the male population to grow long beards... [3.2](Ahmed Rashid, p.101-2)

Here's one of their first edicts, a proclamation of
"General Presidency of Amr Bil Maruf.
Kabul December 1996"


[translated from Dari to English by the Taliban.]

  1. To prevent sedition and female uncovers (Be Hejabi). No drivers are allowed to pick up women who are using Iranian burqa. In case of violation the driver will be imprisoned. If such kind of female are observed in the street their house will be found and their husband punished. If the women use stimulating and attractive cloth and there is no accompany of close male relative with the, the drivers should not pick them up.
  2. To prevent music. To be broadcasted by the public information resources. In shops, hotels, vehicles and rickshaws cassettes and music are prohibited. This matter should be monitored within five days. If any music cassette found in a shop, the shopkeeper should be imprisoned and the shop locked. If five people guarantee the shop should be opened the criminal released later. If cassette found in the vehicle, the vehicle and the driver will be imprisoned. If five people guarantee the vehicle will be released and the criminal released later.
  3. To prevent beard shaving and its cutting. After one and a half months if anyone observed who has shaved and/or cut his beard, they should be arrested and imprisoned until their beard gets bushy.
  4. To prevent keeping pigeons and playing with birds. Within ten days this habit/hobby should stop. After ten days this should be monitored and the pigeons and any other playing birds should be killed.
  5. To prevent kite-flying. The kite shops in the city should be abolished.
  6. To prevent idolatory [sic]. In vehicles, shops, hotels, room and any other place pictures/portraits should be abolished. The monitors should tear up all pictures in the above places.
  7. To prevent gambling. In collaboration with the security police the main centers should be found and the gamblers imprisoned for one month.
  8. To eradicate the use of addiction. Addicts should be imprisoned and investigation made to find the supplier and the shop. The shop should be locked and the owner and user should be imprisoned and punished.
  9. To prevent the British and American hairstyles. People with long hair should be arrested and taken to the Religious Police department to shave their hair. The criminal has to pay the barber.
  10. To prevent interest on loans, charge on changing small denomination notes and charge on money orders. All money exchangers should be informed that the above three types of exchanging the money should be prohibited. In case of violation criminals will be imprisoned for a long time.
  11. To prevent washing cloth by young ladies along with water streams in the city. Violator ladies should be picked up with respectful Islamic manner, taken to their houses and their husbands severely punished.
  12. To prevent music and dances in wedding parties. In the case of violation the head of the family will be arrested and punished.
  13. To prevent the playing of music drum. The prohibition of this should be announced. If anybody does this then the religious elders can decide about it.
  14. To prevent sewing ladies cloth and taking female body measures by tailor. If women or fashion magazines are seen in the shop the tailor should be imprisoned.
  15. To prevent sorcery. All the related books should be burnt and the magicians should be imprisoned until his repentance.
  16. To prevent not praying and order gathering pray at the bazaar. Prayer should be done on their due times in all districts. Transportation should be strictly prohibited and all people are obliged to go to the mosque. If young people are seen in the shops they will be immediately imprisoned.

    "No warlord faction has ever felt itself responsible for the civilian population, but the Taliban are incapable of carrying out even the minimum of developmental work because they believe that Islam will take care of everyone." [3.3] (Taliban : Militant Islam, Oil & Fundamentalism in Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid, Yale University Press, 2000, p.213)

    As Gilles Kepel put it the Taliban saw only three functions (or functions of control) of the state: "morality, commerce and war." [3.4](p.229, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam, by Gilles Kepel)

    Why did Osama bin Laden like Taliban so much?

    Bin Laden reckoned the Taliban amir, Mullah Muhammad Omar, "is the greatest, the most honest and the happiest Muslim at this time, for he doesn't fear anyone except God." [3.5] (p.144, from Interview published in Al-Quds Al-Arabi in London Nov. 12, 2001 (originally published in Pakistani daily, Ausaf Nov. 7), shortly before the Northern Alliance entry into Kabul.) Amongst other things he made "great Islamic decisions" like "destroying idols", [3.6] ("Under Mullah Omar," Audiotape to International Conference of Deobandis, April 9, 2001, Messages to the World p.98) Smashing artifacts at the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul and most famously the two millennia-old Buddah statues carved into the mountains in the Bamiyan valley of central Afghanistan which he had blown up in early March 2001.

    Which is not to say bin Laden might not have had less elevated motives. He and his al-Qaeda network had been evicted from their base in Sudan after the attempted assasination of the President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak by bin Laden lieutenent Ayman al-Zawahiri and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Bin Laden came to Afghnistan with next to no money, his legendary fortune cut off by Saudi pressure, and with no invitiation from the Taliban.[3.7] Wright, Lawrence, Looming Tower, (2005) p.222, 226 Yet after the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by al-Qaeda that killed over 200 and injured over 4000, Mullah Omar and the Taliban refused to punish bin Laden.[3.8]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1998_U.S._embassy_bombings The Saudi government had given Taliban considerable aid, the only country besides Pakistan to do so, and the Taliban had appeared to be grateful for it. "In April 1997 Taliban leader Mullah Rabbani met with King Fahd in Riyadh and praised the Saudis effusively. `Since Saudi Arabia is the center of the Muslim world we would like to have Saudi assistance. King Fahd expressed happiness at the good measures taken by the Taliban and over the imposition of Sharia in our country.' Rabbani said. [3.9][source: AFP, "Taliban claim Saudi support", 21 April 1997] They had "copied Wahhabi practices such as introducing religious police" [4] Rashid Taliban, (2000) p.201-2

    But when Saudi Minister of Intelligence Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud and Pakistani ISI General Naseem Rana showed up in Kandahar to tell Mullah Omar that Pakistani intelligence had determined that al-Qaeda is behind the embassy bombings and remind Omar of his pledge to turn over bin Laden if bin Laden caused further trouble, Mullah Omar became personally insulting to Turki. [4.1]Wright, Looming Tower (2005), p.201-2, Rashid, Taliban, (2000), p.201-2 In turns out that bin Laden had given his oath of loyalty (Bay'a, or Bei'at) to Omar "as the leader of the faithful" in a tearful ceremony, writing:`we consider you to be our noble emir. We invite all Muslims to render assistance and cooperation to you ...` Wright, Looming Tower (2005), p.201-2 [4.2]

    But it could be that bin Laden just plain agreed with the Taliban that the aid agencies were infidels who should not be in Islamic territory whatever the cost to Muslim children or other civilians. Gilles Kepel reports that after the Russians left Afghanistan and US aid tailed off, Afghan Arabs in Peshwar Pakistan attacked "Europe and American humanitarian agencies ... trying to help the Afghan refugees." [4.3][Kepel, Gilles, Jihad, Belknap, (2002), p.218 ] This was at a time when bin Laden was describe by some as the "undesputed leader" of the Afghan Arab mujahideen volunteers who had come to Afghanistan.[4.4]Wright, Looming Tower (2005), p.145

    And the struggle continues. The Guardian reports that "Thirty-two aid workers have been killed in Afghanistan" from March 2003 to the end of July 2004. [4.5]http://www.guardian.co.uk/afghanistan/story/0,,1271197,00.html "Aid agency quits Afghanistan over security fears" Ewen MacAskill, diplomatic editor, Thursday July 29, 2004. Full disclosure: the agency quitting Afghanistan, MSF, expressed anger with the US and NATO forces for "blurring the line between military and humanitarian operations." It left because the Taliban accused it of spying for NATO.

    Another story: Source: Reuters Foundation, Date: 28 Nov 2004
    "The radical Islamic Taliban movement has declared a holy war against U.S.-led foreign forces in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai's government and local and foreign aid workers.

    More than 1,000 people, including dozens of aid workers, have been in killed in militant-related violence since August last year that has severely disrupted aid work in the south and east where the Taliban and their Islamic allies are most active." http://reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/f303799b16d2074285256830007fb33f/ac03a88182f91e74c1256f5b002ea9c6?OpenDocument

     


    NOTES

    [1]In Messages to the World, bin Laden mentions UN sanctions in Iraq on pages 31, 40, 47, 60, 96, 103-4, 117, 137, 164, 187, 240, 266


    [1.1] Interview with Australian-based journal Nida'ul Islam, "The New Powder Keg in the Middle East," October/November 1996, n.15] quoted in Messages to the World, (2005) p.40,


    [1.2] From October 7, 2001 video delivered to al-Jazeera correspondent in Kabul. quoted in Messages to the World, (2005) p.104


    [1.3] Oct. 6, 2002. Appeared in Al-Qala'a website and then the London Observer, Nov. 24, 2002. quoted in Messages to the World, (2005) p.164
    Where does bin Laden get the 1.5 million deaths? "In 1997, the Iraqi regime conducted a census, and two years later it released the data. The report stated that Iraq's population had increased from 16.5 million in 1987 to 22 million in 1997. Baghdad also claimed that had it not been for U.N. sanctions, the population figure would have been 23.5 million but that 1.5 million people (1 million of them children) had died prematurely as a result of sanctions." The problem is this represents a "ten-year growth rate of 45% - which is phenomenal and would have put Iraq among the fastest-growing populations in the world. However, Iraq was not known to be one of the fastest-growing populations in the world prior to the Gulf war. In fact, its population growth rate was about average for the region and was actually slowing down. ... In times of war and strife it is normal to see a decrease in the birthrate because men are not at home. Also Iraq had achieved significant gains in the education of women prior to the Gulf War, which invariable produced produce lower birth and fertility rates. (source: Amatzia Baram, `The Effect of Iraqi Sanctions`, pp. 196-198) In fact, previous data from the regime indicated that both the population growth rate and the birthrates had begun to decline in the 1980, indicating that Iraq was not an exception to this rule. According to unofficial U.N. statistics, Iraq's birthrate continued to decline right through 1997." (Pollack, Kenneth M., The Threatening Storm : The Case for Invading Iraq, by Kenneth M. Pollack, 2002, p.139)


    [1.31] [October 29, 2004, from "Towers of Lebanon," October 29, 2004, a video tape made available in the autumn of 2004 to al-Jazeera by "the al-Sahab Institute for Media Production - by now the major conduit for al-Qaeda's video messages," "designed as an intervention in the US Presidential elections. ... crafted for its non-Muslim audience."] quoted in Messages to the World, (2005) p.240


    [1.32] (Dec. 16, 2004) from "Depose all Tyrants," quoted in Messages to the World, (2005) p.266-7 which says: "Posted on the website of the Global Islamic Media Front and circulated widely in English translation" addressing "the fate of Saudi Arabia" and speaking "with utter clarity, abandoning" earlier "caution or ambiguity."


    [1.321]http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/docs/980223-fatwa.htm Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders World Islamic Front Statement 23 February 1998 The second of three reasons for killing civiilians and military is "the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance," the number killed exceeding "one million".


    [1.33] "In the Shadow of the Lances" on the website of the Center for Islamic Research and Studies, www.alneda.com.
    "Part II: The Blow Against the U.S. Will Come from Where Least Expected"
    "Part III: The Islamic Justification for Al-Qa'ida's Jihad Against the U.S."
    quoted in http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP38802 June 12, 2002 No.388
    'Why We Fight America': Al-Qa'ida Spokesman Explains September 11 and Declares Intentions to Kill 4 Million Americans with Weapons of Mass Destruction

    "Due to the American bombings and siege of Iraq, more than 1,200,000 Muslims were killed in the past decade. Due to the siege, over a million children are killed [annually] - that is 83,333 children on average per month, 2,777 children on average per day. 5,000 Iraqis were killed in one day in the Al-'Amiriya shelter alone. Are these statistics of military installations???!!!!"
    .....

    "If by religious law it is permitted to punish a Muslim [for the crime he committed] - it is all the more permitted to punish a Harbi infidel [i.e. he who belongs to Dar Al-Harb 'the domain of disbelief'] in the same way he treated the Muslim."

    "According to the numbers I noted in the previous section of the lives lost from among the Muslims because of the Americans, directly or indirectly, we still are at the beginning of the way. The Americans have still not tasted from our hands what we have tasted from theirs. The [number of] killed in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were no more than fair exchange for the ones killed in the Al-'Amiriya shelter in Iraq, and are but a tiny part of the exchange for those killed in Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, the Philippines, Bosnia, Kashmir, Chechnya, and Afghanistan."

    We Have the Right to Kill 4 Million Americans "We have not reached parity with them. We have the right to kill 4 million Americans - 2 million of them children - and to exile twice as many and wound and cripple hundreds of thousands. Furthermore, it is our right to fight them with chemical and biological weapons, so as to afflict them with the fatal maladies that have afflicted the Muslims because of the [Americans'] chemical and biological weapons."

    see also: http://archives.cnn.com/2002/US/07/09/alqaeda.statement/index.html


    [1.331] March 1997 interview with CNN reporter Peter Arnett, quoted in Messages to the World, (2005) p.47,


    [1.34]

    What were the UN Sanctions?

    The "sanctions" on Iraq started with "full trade embargo barring all imports from and exports to Iraq, excepting only medical supplies, foodstuffs, and other items of humanitarian need," following its invasion of Kuwait in 1991. After the Iraqi military was driven from Kuwait the sanctions were to be lifted following verification of the "destruction under international supervision of all biological and chemical weapons, and ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometers." When Iraq declined to cooperate with these weapons inspectors, the sanctions stayed but Iraq was allowed to sell some oil "to use the proceeds for humanitarian purposes". In 1995 allowing "Iraq to sell up to $1 billion of oil every 90 days and use the proceeds for humanitarian supplies to the country."
    Iraq disarmament crisis timeline 1990-1996
    Iraq disarmament crisis timeline 1997-2000
    Listof UN resolutions on Iraq from globalsecurity.org


    [1.35] A more scholarly estimation than bin Laden's done by the World Health Organization calculated the rise in mortality rate (from 63 per 1000 live births to 118 per 1000) after the Gulf War meant about 500,000 "excess" deaths of children under five to 1998. http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/cps/public/excess%20mortality%20in%20Iraq.pdf Excess mortality in Iraq : Ali, M.M.; Blacker, J.C. (2003) http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/cps/public/excess%20mortality%20in%20Iraq.pdf estimated 500,000 excess deaths.

    Later studies with further refinments had lower estimates ("A Hard Look at Iraq Sanctions", David Cortright, posted November 15, 2001 (December 3, 2001 issue) http://www.thenation.com/doc/20011203/cortright "Garfield has recently recalculated his numbers, based on the additional findings of the Ali and Shah study, to arrive at an estimate of approximately 350,000 through 2000."

    Causes included: "destroying eighteen of twenty electricity-generating plants and disabling vital water-pumping and sanitation systems. Untreated sewage flowed into rivers used for drinking water, resulting in a rapid spread of infectious disease. Comprehensive trade sanctions compounded the effects of the war, making it difficult to rebuild, and adding new horrors of hunger and malnutrition."

    "It is now conventional wisdom among American liberals that the Muslim world has every right to be enraged by our vicious policy toward the people of Iraq. In news articles about Arab anti-Americanism after the attack, The Boston Globe wrote that sanctions have caused "widespread suffering among Iraqis," and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution explained that they are responsible for "malnutrition and disease." But both these statements are false. As Michael Rubin noted in these pages ("Food Fight," June 18), Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq--which is subject to exactly the same sanctions as the rest of the country--suffers virtually no malnutrition. In fact, infant mortality rates in the North are lower than they were before the Gulf war. That's because, under revised UN sanctions, Iraq is now the world's second largest exporter of oil, and those exports provide Kurdish authorities plenty of revenue to buy medicines and food. The reason children elsewhere in the country go hungry is that Saddam resells needed supplies in order to fund his military. In recent years the United States has actually intercepted several Iraqi ships exporting food.
    from: TRB FROM WASHINGTON, Fault Lines by Peter Beinart
    Post date 09.20.01 | Issue date 10.01.01


    Why were there UN Sanctions?

    [1.355]Sanction supporters said Saddam's regime had already invaded two of its neighbors (Iran in 1980 and Kuwait in 1991) in wars that killed hundreds of thousands, and shown a willingness to use Weapons of Mass Destruction (chemical weapons against the Kurds in 1988). The very real potential that he might be able to kill many more hundreds of thousands had to be weighed against the loss of life caused by forcing him to allowed inspectors to finish their inspecting for WMDs.[1.36]

    Nor did everyone believe the sanctions were responsible for what deaths took place. The sanctions defenders, protested the critics ignored Iraq's vigourous manipulation of the media, [1.4] Saddam's pre-sanction neglect of health care in Iraq and malnutrition among Iraqi children, [1.5] waste of resources on building palaces and draining marshs where Shia tribes and insurgents held out, [1.6] and the questions of why Saddam didn't cooperate with the UN Food for Oil program or just allow UN weapon inspectors to inspect for weapons so the sanctions would be lifted, [1.7] why infant mortality actually dropped in Kurdistan when it was subject to the same sanctions, [1.8] etc.

    Nonetheless two successive United Nations Humanitarian Coordinators in Baghdad resigned in protest over the sanctions, one saying, "I don't want to administer a programme that satisfies the definition of genocide", and critics quote US government documents to show the US knew of the loss of life in Iraq caused by the sanctions. [1.82]


    [1.36] Pollack, Kenneth M., The Threatening Storm : The Case for Invading Iraq by Kenneth M. Pollack, 2002, p.257-267 According to Pollack, a former staff member of the NSC, Sadam Hussein had "...a 28-year pattern of aggression, violence, miscalculation, and purposeful underestimation of the consequences of his actions that should give real pause to anyone considering whether to allow him to acquire nuclear weapons." (p.268)

    [1.4]http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/cps/public/excess%20mortality%20in%20Iraq.pdf


    [1.5] "A study conducted by UNICEF and Tufts University immediately after the Gulf War found considerable evidence of preexisting malnutrition among Iraqi children as a result of that prior era of neglect. (source: Graham-Brown, Sanctioning Saddam, p.316)
    One Iraqi who lived through that war wrote of the situation in 1987 that `the fact was that Saddam was incalculably cruel. Thousand of men were dying weekly at the front, but their widows were waiting a year or more for death certificates that would allow them to collect their benefits. Hospitals and pharmacies were running out of basic medicines, including those for heart ailments and diabetes, while no one could leave for medical care abroad. The quality and availability of basic foodstuffs were dramatically declining; at the same time, officials... were importing millions of dollars' worth of luxury furniture.` (Hamza, Saddam's Bombmaker, p.189)
    The main difference is that at that time Saddam was determined to keep these hardships hidden from the rest of the world... because he was trying to project an image of a strong, prosperous Iraq, whereas today the regime is determined to exacerbate and exaggerate the extent of the problems." (The Threatening Storm : The Case for Invading Iraq by Kenneth M. Pollack, 2002, p.127)


    [1.6] Was lack of resources responsible for the high mortality rate?

    Post-Gulf War, Iraq has been spending an estimated $7.5 billion annually on its military and $1.5 billion on building projects. Compare this to the $2-3 billion worth of food and medicine in imported annually before the Gulf War. (source: Building Towards Crisis, Amatzia Baram, 1998)

    "Many of the fifty new palaces Saddam has built for himself since the Gulf War have gold-plated faucets and artificial rivers, lakes, and waterfalls that employ pumping equipment that could have been used to address the country's desperate water and sanitation problems. (source: U.S. Department of State `Saddam Hussein's Iraq,` Sept. 1999, p.12)

    "Baghdad embarked upon a series of costly projects to build victory monuments and palaces for Saddam (50 of them at last count), which cost Iraq as much as another $2.5 billion per year." (Source: (Sarah Graham-Brown, Sanctioning Saddam pp.162)

    "Lack of resources can explain only part of this neglect. Vast resources and precious spare parts were dedicated to the digging of colossal canals in the south, with the ostensible aim of irrigation and agricultural drainage. In reality, however, more than anything else, the "Mother of Battles River" and "Saddam's River" were designed to drain large parts of the southern marshes, from where small-scale guerrilla activities were carried out against regime targets.fn37 Ten percent of the mammoth earth works invested in these operations could have solved, for example, all the (very serious) sewage problems of Basra, a city of some one million people. Likewise, fraction of the resources earned through illegal oil products and other exports, estimate at $1.5bn in 1999,fn38 and spent on luxury buildings and on smuggling of military technology, fn39 could have helped Basra with its (very serious) water and electricity problems, and greatly improved the conditions at the hospitals there, as well as in 'Amara and Karbala'.fn40

    [Footnotes]
    37. See, for example, in al-Qadisiyya, (Baghdad) 3 February 1994; 11 April 1994; al-'Iraq, (Baghdad) 2 April 1994, reports about the "Mother of Battles River" designed ostensibly for the "irrigation of [600,000 dunam of) desert regions". The operation was entrusted solely to the Military Industrialization Organization (MIO). It included digging and dumping more than 5 million cubic meters, employing 6,000 people and using 4,000 to 5,000 trucks and pieces of heavy mechanical equipment. The "River", flowing between Dhi Qar and Basra governorates, is 108 to 120 km long and 16 m. deep and between 65 and 118 m wide. All this was achieved within six months. Even more impressive is "Saddam's River", ostensibly designed to irrigate 6 million dunams, and extending from Yusufiyya (40 km south of Baghdad) to Basra, 565 km altogether. It is 100m wide at the surface and SOm wide at the bottom. Within 180 days the project was completed in September 1992, employing 6,000 workers, 2,200 heavy digging machines, as well as "hundreds" of trucks and cranes. See, for example, Iraq News Agency (INA), 3 September 1992; 7 December 1992, in FBIS-NES-DR, 4 September, p.27; 8 December, p.31; Baghdad Radio, 7 December 1992, in FBIS-NES-DR, 7 December 1992, p. 31.

    38. For a "conservative estimate" of $1.5 billion in 1999 accruing to the regime from the smuggling out of oil products and re-exporting Oil-for-Food products see Economist Intelligence Unit, Country report 4`h Quarter 1999 - Iraq, p.7. When oil prices were lower, the regime's illegal revenues from oil sales oscillated, between $0.4-0.75 billion annually.

    39. For some details see Max Van Der Stoel as quoted in Iraqi Issues, Vol.3, No.S, January 1999, p.3. For public buildings see also the ultra-expensive Saddam International Tower built in 1994 in central Baghdad, a 300 ft tall steel and glass beauty with a Babylon restaurant for the rich at the top, and the eradication and re-building of the Flowers' Palace [Qasr al-Zuhur on al-Kindi St.], with lakes and surrounding villas, John Sweeney, "Journalist of the Year", The Observer, (London) 1 March 1998. The case of the Russian missiles' gyrostabilizers is by now well known. See also an attempt to purchase state-of-the art Tamara radar technology from the Czech Republic, Prague CTK in English, 10 September 1999.

    40. Spring 1998 saw, for the first time, potable water to Basra. Beforehand shower water quality was extremely poor [pumped straight from the river], and people had to buy drinking water. By then, the government provided only some 40 percent of the needed electricity in the south (Doug Struck from Karbala and Basra, The Washington Post, 21 April 1998, pp.1,A16. The regime's first meaningful electricity project started as late as June 1993 and was completed in mid-August 1994 (al-Thawra, 14 August 1994, p.4). By then electricity had already been provided to almost all towns in Iraq.


    [1.7] SANCTIONS ON IRAQ: A VALID ANTI-AMERICAN GRIEVANCE? By Michael Rubin
    http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/2001/issue4/jv5n4a6.htm


    [1.8]Why didn't Kurdish infant mortality rise? "It is now conventional wisdom among American liberals that the Muslim world has every right to be enraged by our vicious policy toward the people of Iraq. In news articles about Arab anti-Americanism after the attack, The Boston Globe wrote that sanctions have caused "widespread suffering among Iraqis," and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution explained that they are responsible for "malnutrition and disease." But both these statements are false. As Michael Rubin noted in these pages ("Food Fight," June 18), Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq--which is subject to exactly the same sanctions as the rest of the country--suffers virtually no malnutrition. In fact, infant mortality rates in the North are lower than they were before the Gulf war. That's because, under revised UN sanctions, Iraq is now the world's second largest exporter of oil, and those exports provide Kurdish authorities plenty of revenue to buy medicines and food. The reason children elsewhere in the country go hungry is that Saddam resells needed supplies in order to fund his military. In recent years the United States has actually intercepted several Iraqi ships exporting food.
    from: TRB FROM WASHINGTON, Fault Lines by Peter Beinart
    Post date 09.20.01 | Issue date 10.01.01


    SANCTIONS ON IRAQ: A VALID ANTI-AMERICAN GRIEVANCE? By Michael Rubin
    http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/2001/issue4/jv5n4a6.htm

    ".... northern Iraq suffered much more damage from war--though ironically mostly at the hands of Iraq’s own army--than the rest of the country. Yet that area has been rebuilt due to the sanctions system. The comparison between northern Iraq and the rest of the country puts the onus of responsibility for the humanitarian tragedy on Saddam, not sanctions. Accordingly, many opponents of sanctions actively seek to undermine this comparison.

    Some anti-sanctions campaigners argue that the north receives disproportionate income. The root of this complaint is that while the northern governorates receive income proportional to their population, the rest of Iraq is shortchanged because of Iraqi payments to the compensation committee. Indeed, parts of Iraq controlled by Saddam receive just 59 percent of the oil-for-food revenue.(67) If accounted this way, then the north does receive slightly more per capita than the rest of Iraq, but not nearly so much as some anti-sanctions activists claim. They argue that the north receives 22 percent of the total humanitarian income. Actually, the figure is closer to 14.5 percent, when one includes the population of PUK-controlled towns such as Kalar, Kifri, and Darbandikan in the Kirkuk (Ta’mim) governorate.

    A former high official in the UN’s Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq (UNOCHI) also noted that northern Iraq has started from a lower baseline, because Saddam Hussein’s government had razed 4,006 out of 4,655 villages, and forced northern Iraq to accommodate more than 800,000 internally-displaced persons, one-quarter of whom have been expelled from their homes in portions of Iraq governed by Saddam Hussein since the end of 1991.(68)

    However, even if Iraqi Kurdistan did receive disproportionate income in the early years of the oil-for-food program, the combination of the rise in world oil prices and the five percent increase in the allotment of revenue to go to Baghdad means that the portion of Iraq administered by Saddam should be doing at least as well as Iraqi Kurdistan had been. The per capita income available in Saddam’s Iraq is now far higher than it was in Iraqi Kurdistan, and yet the Iraqi government continues to either not spend the revenue available, or not spend it wisely. (69)


    [1.82]http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/2520/ March 6, 2006, "Were Sanctions Worth the Price?" By Christopher Hayes"


     [1.9] "The socialists are infidels, wherever they may be, whether in Baghdad or Aden. The current fighting and the fighting that will take place in coming days can be very much compared to the Muslims' previous battles. There is nothing wrong with a convergence of interests here, just as the Muslims' struggle against Byzantium suited the Persians but did not harm the Prophet's companions ... [Messages to the World, 2006, p.184, from audiotape delivered to al-Jazeera dated Feb. 11, 2003, five weeks before the invasion of Iraq.]


    [2] "Afghanistan is the only Islamic country [in the world]." (Messages to the World, 2006, p.143, from Interview published in Al-Quds Al-Arabi in London Nov. 12, 2001 (originally published in Pakistani daily, Ausaf Nov. 7), shortly before the Northern Alliance entry into Kabul.)


    [2.05] From a message delivered about one year after the fall of the Taliban.

    "... [T]oday this is what the mujahidin say to the scholars and preachers who love the truth and do not appease falsehood. You have raised the banner of Islam, and you know that it is in truth the religion of God's messenger. Your doing so means opposition to all Arab and non-Arab governments on earth; it means that you best men will be killed and that you will constantly be at war. If you can bear this patiently, then protect the banner and may your reward be with God." [(italics added) From 53-minute audiotape that "was circulated on various websites." dated Feb. 14, 2003. "Among a Band of Knights." Quoted in Messages to the World, (2005), p.201]

    [2.1] source: UNDP Country Development Indicators, 1995, quoted in Rashid, Taliban (2000), p.107


    [2.15] source: UNDP Country Development Indicators, 1995


    [2.2] Rashid, Ahmed. Taliban : militant Islam, oil, and fundamentalism in Central Asia / Ahmed Rashid, New Haven : Yale University Press, c2000.


    [2.3] Under 5 mortality rate 1995- 250 per 1000, 2003- 252 per 1000
    infant mortality rate 1995- 163 per 1000, 2003 165 per 1000. href="http://web.archive.org/web/20050507180652/http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/afghanistan_afghanistan_statistics.html">http://web.archive.org/web/20050507180652/http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/afghanistan_afghanistan_statistics.html


    [2.4] [source: http://www.ceeindia.org/mdgs/goal_4.htm Centre for Environment Education


    [2.5] http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/05/4a3a9c3f-5a45-4287-99e3-3f6866bb2bfd.html


    [2.6] Rashid, Ahmed, Taliban, (2000), p.106


    [2.7] Rashid, Ahmed, Taliban, (2000), p.114


    [2.8]Rashid, Ahmed, Taliban, (2000) p.103-4


    [2.9]http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/27/world/middleeast/27kabul.html
    "Afghan Infant Mortality Declines, Signaling a Post-Taliban Recovery " By CARLOTTA GALL Published: April 27, 2007
    "according to a countrywide survey by Johns Hopkins University ... Research was conducted by visiting 8,000 households around the country - with 4 of 34 provinces excluded because of poor security - from September to November 2006, said Benjamin Loevinsohn, a health specialist from the World Bank."


    total number of births in Afghan in 1994 was 1,395,000 according to UNICEF (www.unicef.org/infocountry/afghanistan_afghanistan_statistics.html)

    for other information on post-Taliban aid work see: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/afghanistan_background.html


    [3] Rashid, Ahmed, Taliban, (2000) p.101-2


    [3.1] Rashid, Ahmed, Taliban, (2000) p.111-2)


    [3.2] Rashid, Ahmed, Taliban, (2000) p.101-2


    [3.3] Rashid, Ahmed, Taliban, (2000), p.213


    [3.4] p.229, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam, by Gilles Kepel


    [3.5] Mullah Muhammad Omar, "is the greatest, the most honest and the happiest Muslim at this time, for he doesn't fear anyone except God." (p.144, from Interview published in Al-Quds Al-Arabi in London Nov. 12, 2001 (originally published in Pakistani daily, Ausaf Nov. 7), shortly before the Northern Alliance entry into Kabul.)


    [3.6] Amongst other things he made "great Islamic decisions" like "destroying idols", ("Under Mullah Omar," Audiotape to International Conference of Deobandis, April 9, 2001, Messages to the World p.98)


    [3.7] Wright, Lawrence, Looming Tower, (2005) p.222, 226


    [3.8]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1998_U.S._embassy_bombings


    [3.9] source: AFP, "Taliban claim Saudi support", 21 April 1997


    [4] Rashid Taliban, (2000) p.201-2


    [4.1] Wright, Looming Tower (2005), p.201-2, Rashid, Taliban, (2000), p.201-2


    [4.2]Wright, Looming Tower (2005), p.201-2


    [4.3]Kepel, Gilles, Jihad, Belknap, (2002), p.218


    [4.4]Wright, Looming Tower (2005), p.145


    [4.5]http://www.guardian.co.uk/afghanistan/story/0,,1271197,00.html "Aid agency quits Afghanistan over security fears" Ewen MacAskill, diplomatic editor, Thursday July 29, 2004. Full disclosure: the agency quitting Afghanistan, MSF, expressed anger with the US and NATO forces for "blurring the line between military and humanitarian operations." It left because the Taliban accused it of spying for NATO.

    Another story: Source: Reuters Foundation, Date: 28 Nov 2004

    "The radical Islamic Taliban movement has declared a holy war against U.S.-led foreign forces in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai's government and local and foreign aid workers.

    More than 1,000 people, including dozens of aid workers, have been in killed in militant-related violence since August last year that has severely disrupted aid work in the south and east where the Taliban and their Islamic allies are most active." http://reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/f303799b16d2074285256830007fb33f/ac03a88182f91e74c1256f5b002ea9c6?OpenDocument


    [4.6]

    [3a] NOTE: p.118-119, Messages to the World, Statements of Osama bin Laden, 2005

    [4]

    [5] note: p.118-119, Messages to the World, Statements of Osama bin Laden, 2005, October 21, 2001 interview with Taysir Alluni

    Example of falling birth mortality rates:

    Did the Taliban kill children also?

    The Taliban were driven from power by the US and Northern Alliance in late 2001 and UN stats from 2003 show infant mortality, under 5 mortality, etc. a little worse, but more or less unchanged from its 1995 levels. http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/afghanistan_afghanistan_statistics.html

    In the mean time other countries had improved.

    Decline in infant mortality

    Developing World as a whole

    Southern Asia

    Latin America and the Carribean

    Southeastern Asia

    1990 105 126 54 78
    2005 88 90 32 46
    [source: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Progress towards the Millennium Development Goals,1990-2005, http://unstats.un.org/unsd/mi/goals_2005/goal_4.pdfhttp://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:jxH7Rgd7CXIJ:unstats.un.org/unsd/mi/goals_2005/goal_4.pdf+%22Millennium+Development+Goal%22+infant+mortality&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=usl]