Hands traces of Al Amiriya refugee victims branded in the walls. In this cruel attack of US Air Force 403 Iraqi civilians were killed, 142 of whom were children under ten years old
IRAQ is today suffering a brutal process of imperialist intervention unheard of in Modern History, a genuine medieval-style siege by which an attempt has been made to make a nation surrender through hunger, illness and violence.
SINCE August 1990 Iraq has been subjected to a regime of economic sanctions imposed by the Security Council (SC) of the United Nations (UN) that violates all International Law on individual and collective Human Rights by indiscriminately and generally punishing its population. According to reliable sources, the embargo against Iraq has caused the deaths of one and a half million people, more than half of whom were children under 5 years.
FURTHERMORE, between 17 January and 28 February 1991, Iraq was devastated by a multinational intervention led by the United States of America in which the civil infrastructure and means of production of the country were systematically and premeditatedly destroyed: during the 109 876 bombing missions (one every 34 seconds) 22 000 civil installations of all types -from bridges and hydrographic dams to museums and schools-, were attacked with a tonnage of bombs twice to that deployed during the Vietnam war. According to the UN Report of 15 July 1991 S/22799, the civil damage caused to Iraq by the multinational coalition was more than 22 billion dollars. The war also left the deadly legacy of 300 tonnes of depleted uranium residues, which are currently seriously affecting its population and which will continue to do so for generations.
SINCE the war, the embargo against Iraq has continued to this very day, at the same time as there being new attacks (the most recent, against Baghdad, in February 2001) and almost daily raids on the so-called "no-fly zones", which are illegally maintained by the USA and the UK in the north and south of the country. The USA and Britain are trying to perpetuate the embargo with unlimited measures of technological, financial and commercial controls, additionally imposing arbitrary war compensation payments of more than 300 billion dollars. The objective is to chain Iraq in a state of underdevelopment for decades, keeping its population in poverty and having to beg from the international community through such pernicious and ineffective "humanitarian" formulas as the "oil for food" programme (UNSC Resolution 986) or what are now called "smart sanctions".
SEVERAL slaughters of civilians occurred during the aggression against Iraq in 1991, such as the attack on the market of Faluja, perpetrated by British planes on 17 February, which caused the deaths of 130 civilians and injured 68 others, the attacks ordered by General McCaffrey against the military units and civilian vehicles after the ceasefire had been declared, and also the murder of Iraqi prisoners. However, the attack against the shelter of al-Amiriya -a neighbourhood of Baghdad)- may be considered to be the symbol of this war that combined the technological sophistication of the most modern military machinery with the most inhuman brutality of the colonial conquests of the past.ON the night of 13 February 1991, the US Air Force launched two missiles against the shelter of al-Amiriya. It was the twenty-eighth day of the war, of which their were 16 more to go before the ceasefire. 403 people died in the attack, 142 of them under ten years of age. Each night the shelter took in Iraqi families from the neighbourhood, as well as Jordanians, Syrians and Egyptians families. In that cold winter of the war, more than protection from the air raids, they sought warmth, light and drinking water in the shelters, in a city that had been without supplies for almost a month. A first penetrating missile made a hole in the roof in the only vulnerable point of its construction, its ventilation system, whose exact location was provided to the US airforce by the Finnish company that had built the shelter years before. Scarcely minutes later, a second missile entered through the hole opened by the first, producing a fireball of 4 000 C degrees that burnt the occupants to death, leaving -like in Hiroshima and Nagasaki- only a silhouette of many of them engraved on the ceiling and walls by the heat.
THE USA justified the attack by claiming that the shelter housed a military communications centre, a falsehood that the international press categorically refuted. The Pentagon finally recognized that an error had been made. However, the attack was premeditated. The first missile was built specifically for the purpose. Baghdad was an open city, at that time abandoned by the majority of its inhabitants, who had sought safety in the countryside or in other cities. The objective of the attack was to terrorize the civilian population, creating a feeling of vulnerability that would encourage a complete surrender.
THEREFORE, to ensure that the memory of the Iraqi victims and the crimes committed against the people of Iraq remain in the memory and conscience of the international community, the Arab Cause Solidarity Committee (ACSC) has undertaken to set up a centre in Madrid (Spain) that will be named the al-Amiriya Centre for Documentation and International Initiatives, in memory of the victims of the shelter in Baghdad that was bombed on 13 February 1991, symbol of the aggression suffered by the Iraqi people during these years.
THE al-Amiriya Centre will collect information and encourage international social and legal initiatives in relation to the Crimes of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity committed by those responsible in the USA and allied countries against the people of Iraq. These will include not only those resulting from the military aggression of 1991 and after but also those stemming from the economic sanctions that have been operating against the country since August 1990. To these ends the Centre will take as its foundation the Accusation Act drawn up by Ramsey Clark for the International Court, organized by the Spanish Campaign for Lifting the Sanctions on Iraq (SCLSI) in Madrid, on 16 and 17 November 1996, as well as its condemnatory Final Verdict.
THE al-Amiriya Centre will undertake and collaborate in similar social or legal initiatives, to denounce the criminal acts committed by the USA against other peoples, supporting the recovery of the spirit that inspired the creation of the Russell Tribune, the Permanent Tribune of the People, and the Anti-Imperialist Tribune of Our America, the proceedings against NATO for its aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999, as well as the legal case against the USA for military aggression, sabotage and embargo in Nicaragua (1984) and Cuba (1999), and the most recent, presented in Belgium against Ariel Sharon for the slaughters of Sabra and Shatila in 1982.
THE ACSC invites other organizations in Spain participating in the SCLSI to commit themselves to and support this new initiative within the framework of the aforementioned Campaign.
THE ACSC calls for the participation of organizations and personalities throughout the World -most especially of those involved in the exercise of Law- in this initiative of solidarity, to ensure that their objectives can be met efficiently, in a common effort by which we pay homage to the Iraqi people for their capacity to resist such an adverse and unjust situation with dignity, and contribute to a future of prosperity and full sovereignty for its coming generations.
The secret behind the sanctions: how the U.S. intentionally destroyed Iraq's water supplyAuthor: Thomas J. Nagy (The Progressive)Date: September 2001
The humanitarian situation in Iraq, the humanitarian program 'Oil for Food', and Human RightsAuthor: Jutta BurghardtDate: July 2001
Memorándum on the humanitarian emergency and threat to peace resulting from the Security Council's sanctions policy vis-à-vis Iraq, on the efforts to establish a régime of so-called "smart sanctions," on the continued violation of Iraqi sovereignty by permanent members of the Security Council, on the unilateral threat of the use of force against Iraq, and on the special responsibility of the international community to uphold the principles of the United Nations Charter and to avert armed aggression against IraqInternational Progress OrganizationDate: February 2002