INDEPENDENT NEWS

Unease as Yemen/Syria Insist Sanctions be Lifted

Published: Wed 19 Sep 2001 11:50 PM
by Selwyn Manning
Yemen and Syria have called for the international community to lift sanctions against Iraq. The two countries are also eyeing a chilling ceasefire between Palestinians and Israeli forces, issuing a warning that the west must insist that Israel cease killing Palestinians.
The demands are levelled at western countries, namely Britain and the United States, and they clearly lay down a tapestry of expectations should Arab and Islamic nations be called upon to join in the west’s “War against terrorism”.
Yemen and Syria issued a joint statement with a list of demands ranging from:
· lifting “unjust sanctions off Iraq and putting an end to Iraqis’ suffering”
· affirming that both Yemen and Syria condemn any act that endangers Iraq’s sovereignty and unity.
Both Yemen and Syria also ‘categorically condemned’ the aggressive acts committed against Palestinian people by Israeli defence forces. They called on the international community to stop the Zionist aggression on Palestine, and urged the Arab and Islamic countries to support Palestinian Intifadha.
The statement demonstrates unease within Arab Middle Eastern countries that should NATO and the United States wage a war in the region, that it would escalate, and that Iraq would likely be attacked.
It also signals that should this happen, at the very least Yemen and Syria would come to Iraq’s aid.
The official Iraqi government news agency reported India also calling for sanctions against Iraq to be lifted.
Iraqi News reported: “Head of Indian Janta Party, former Minister, Sobar Amaniam Swami describing Iraq’s struggle for lifting the sanctions as legitimate and just. “We all in India agree to support Iraq,” Iraqi News reported him saying.
Iraq has been seeking diplomatic co-operation, if not support, from a number of countries in the greater Middle Eastern region.
Egyptian officials have affirmed a need to strengthen ties between Iraq and Egypt. Egypt welcomed Iraq to the opening of its Cairo exhibition. Iraq says this reflects a “developing level of relations” that will occur after a free trade zone agreement is implemented.
The closer economic relationship that is developing between Iraq and Egypt draws Iraq another step closer to re-joining the trading world. It also offers it a respectability that has been refused it since it invaded Kuwait in 1991.
Jordan is also among other countries that have entered into diplomatic talks with Iraq. Arab nations are far from unified. The west has support of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and now possibly, in a limited capacity, Pakistan.
India is also edging to play a part, but with tensions high between it and Pakistan, with border clashes in recent years and even threats being exchanged of war, followed by nuclear tests, it remains unclear where India’s alliances will rest.
There is a common thread of thought emerging however, and that is that the United States must exercise due caution, consideration, and present to the world the substance of fact, the evidence, that causes it to target individuals and nations in this uniting “War against terrorism”.
Selwyn Manning - Scoop Auckland
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