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13 February 2011


Jim Keaton

How can you be so sure that Saddam would have been ousted in the way Mubarak has? The House of Saud is still in place, as are the Iranian clerics, Assad in Syria, and pretty much everyone else. Why would Iraq have succumbed to revolution when these countries have not?

joe kane

Western sanctions strengthend the Saddam regime as they undoubtedly strengthen the current Iranian regime and encourage it to internal repressive measures.

If the West was so concerned about democracy in Iran then it really shouldn't have destroyed it in 1953, replacing it with a brutal sadistic dictator whose reign of terror and repression was supported by the West until it was finally brought to end by the people of Iran in 1979.

By the same token, Western support for its favourite corrupt Middle East dictators undoubtedly keep them in power too.

Here is Prof Chomsky with his usual interesting observations about western foreign policy, on Iraq -

"Saddam Hussein was authorized to suppress, brutally, a 1991 uprising that might have overthrown him because "the best of all worlds" for Washington would be "an iron-fisted Iraqi junta without Saddam Hussein" (by then an embarrassment), which would rule the country with an "iron fist" as Saddam had done with US support and approval (NYT chief diplomatic correspondent Thomas Friedman). The uprising would have left the country in the hands of Iraqis who might not have subordinated themselves sufficiently to Washington. The murderous sanctions regime of the following years devastated the society, strengthened the tyrant, and compelled the population to rely for survival on his (highly efficient) system for distributing basic goods. The sanctions thus undercut the possibility of the kind of popular revolt that had overthrown an impressive series of other monsters who had been strongly supported by the current incumbents in Washington up to the very end of their bloody rule: Marcos, Duvalier, Ceausescu, Mobutu, Suharto, and a long list of others, some of them easily as tyrannical and barbaric as Saddam. Had it not been for the sanctions, Saddam probably would have gone the same way, as has been pointed out for years by the Westerners who know Iraq best, Denis Halliday and Hans van Sponeck (though one has to go to Canada, England, or elsewhere to find their writings). But overthrow of the regime from within would not be acceptable either, because it would leave Iraqis in charge. The Azores summit merely reiterated that stand."

On Iraq
Noam Chomsky interviewed by Michael Albert
ZNet, April 13, 2003

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