Iraq – a Green/EFA position paper

Adopted on 6 November 2002

  • The governments of the United States of America and of Great Britain threaten with a unilateral attack on Iraq without the authority of the United Nations in order to topple the Iraqi leadership on the ground of allegations that Iraq continues to build up its arms of mass destruction and represents a threat to world security.
  • The majority of Western experts agree that no evidence exists to suggest that Iraq is engaged in the production of nuclear weapons.
  • Iraq has the second if not the largest and best quality oil reserves in the world; and the US interest in an attack on Iraq appears to be primarily motivated by its desire to protect its secure access to oil, particularly since the social and political situation in Saudi Arabia looks increasingly unstable.
  • Two thirds of the Iraqi territory has been declared non-fly zones. Unfortunately, US and British forces have taken advantage of this situation to bomb those areas for years for reasons that have nothing to do with the protection of the population and which are therefore contrary to international law.
  • No doubt exists about the long-standing and persisting gross violations of human rights and democratic principles, perpetrated by the Iraqi dictatorship – with support by its Western allies for many years – which has inflicted much suffering on the peoples of Iraq. Included are crimes against humanity such as the use of chemical weapons against the Kurdish population.
  • UN organisations as well as specialised NGOs have come to the conclusion that the UN embargo against Iraq in its present form has served the purpose of limiting effectively Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, while it has contributed much to aggravate the suffering of the civilian population.
  • We point out that the „Oil for food programme” was so ill-designed as to have devastating effects on the Iraqi population which led two consecutive UN co-ordinators of this programme to resign in protest. The situation was exacerbated by the lack of cooperation of the Baghdad authorities who formally decreased the production of oil while smuggling a great deal of it and using the relevant revenues for unclear purposes.
  • Since December 1998 Iraq has refused controls by UN weapons inspectors as foreseen by the UN resolutions, due to disputes over the interpretation of these texts and to blatant misuse of the information obtained on the part of certain UNCSOM inspectors.

    1. We note with relief that the Iraqi Government accepted on 19. September the return of UN weapons inspectors without conditions and the prompt agreement with the UN on 1 October defining the practical modalities of such a return within two weeks.

    2. UN weapons inspectors could and should have returned to Iraq on the basis provided by existing UN resolutions and international law, and we call on the members of the Security Council to agree on their rapid return.

    3. We regret once more the lack of political will of the European Council to reach a common position based on the EU founding principles and in line with the UN Charter.

    4. We condemn US threats to launch a pre-emptive attack on Iraq as illegal, and denounce the UK Government’s support for US policy.

    5. Our concern is that a new Security Council resolution will be used not to avert but to provoke war and we state that UN Security Council approval for a war on Iraq is a necessary but not sufficient requirement for a military intervention in Iraq.

    6. There are no new elements proving an increase in Iraq’s capacity to threaten world peace and non-military means have not only not been exhausted, but non-military means are being deliberately avoided by the US/UK approach.

    7. The best way of ensuring that Iraq destroys and does not use possible remaining weapons of mass destruction is to allow the UN weapons inspectors to effectively resume controls.

    8. The feelings of vulnerability to outside threats, which motivate US administration’s policy of offensive unilateralism after 11 September, are understandable. However the only reasonable hope to reduce such risks in the future remains in an active policy of multilateral interest arbitration through democractic means on the national, regional and international level.

    9. We are concerned that the US policy towards Iraq gives an outlook on the concrete implications of the new US National Security Strategy shifting from the post war military doctrine of deterrence and containment to pre-emptive war as accepted means of self-defence, combined with unlimited military supremacy for the United States.

    10. Iraq is only one of the many countries world-wide allegedly in possession of weapons of mass destruction. We stress the importance to increased world-wide efforts towards arms reduction as well as the ultimate goal of replacing warfare as a means of policy by negotiated conflict resolution and warn that the new Bush doctrine puts the last decades’ achievements towards those goals at risk.

    11. This policy of unilateral action is going to set a dangerous precedent which could be used for the same reasons by Russia in its drive to crack on Chechen guerrilla in Georgia and by China with Taiwan thus destroying international institutions.

    12. We are highly alarmed that an attack on Iraq would further destabilise the region or even lead to a full-scale regional war, contribute to heightened tension worldwide and foster international terrorism, including in the US and in Europe.

    13. We welcome the attitude of the French and the German government to oppose attempts by the United States to pass a single Security Council resolution allowing for the use of force in case the US unilaterally decides that Iraq does not fulfil its commitments. The EU should adopt a collective position along these lines to avert an unnecessary military conflict.

    14. The uneven treatment of Iraq and the Palestine conflict represent a primary source of tension in the Middle East.

    15. The world needs a strong international initiative on the Middle East along the lines of the 1991 Madrid Conference and based on the Saudi proposal of the recognition of the state of Israel. It has to be accompanied by the necessary and determined international pressure, in order to address the interconnected social, economic and political problems of the region as a whole. Such a conference forms the necessary prelude for urgently needed mutual disarmament efforts in the region.

    16. We demand with the return of the UN weapons inspectors an end to those sanctions that adversely affect the civilian population and we call for free access of human rights monitors to Iraq.

    17. It is of utmost importance to support the return and the work of international humanitarian organisations in Iraq. The European Commission should take adequate steps so as to tackle urgently the present dramatic situation.

    18. The EU and the Member States should find ways to support Iraqi civil society and democratic Iraqi refugees’ organisations with a view to paving the way for a change of regime in Baghdad by non-violent means.

    19. We call for an immediate halt to the bomb attacks by US and British forces in the no-fly-zones, without putting into question the protective function of those zones for the local population.

    20. The best way to prevent Iraq from obtaining fissile material from abroad is a renewed effort to promote and enforce the fissile material cut-off treaty, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Comprehensive Testban Treaty, the Convention on the Prevention of Chemical Weapons, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, and other relevant treaties.

    Source: Group Greens/EFA in the European Parliament
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