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Sanctions as Warfare

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Daniel Pourkesali on sanctions:

In the recent years economic sanctions have become a prime instrument of global dominance by a handful of major powers particularly the United States. With permanent membership status in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), they have managed to pass resolutions imposing sanctions on more than a dozen nations, including the former Yugoslavia, Cuba, Libya, Somalia, Liberia, Haiti, Iraq, and Iran since the end of cold war.

In addition, the U.S. when faced with threat of a veto or inability to gain majority consent within UNSC has elected to act unilaterally more than any other nation or multinational body in the world. Over two-thirds of all sanctions since 1945 [1] have been initiated and maintained by the United States, three-quarters of which have involved unilateral U.S. action without significant participation by any other nation. They are often discussed and portrayed by our leaders and many members of Congress as a form of diplomacy and an alternative to war as though they’re not an act of aggression with actual human costs.

But those states on the receiving end of such acts along with the rest of the international community increasingly view these sanctions as illegitimate and punitive, because of the humanitarian suffering they tend to create and widespread doubts about their effectiveness and legality under international and humanitarian laws. It is a well-documented fact [2] that from 500,000 to 1 million children under the age of 5 died as a direct result of U.S. pushed and UNSC imposed sanctions on the so-called “dual use” materials and equipments related to nutrition, health and education in the 12 years prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Yet despite shocking proof showing that the primary victims of economic sanctions — the children, the elderly, the sick, and the poor being least responsible for affecting change in government policy, its advocates like Gordon Brown and George Bush [3] continue to legitimize them as an instrument of peace and a justified means of bringing diplomatic pressure on nations like Iran dismissing the idea of it being a form of violence that actually infringes on the most basic human rights and the rule of universally accepted laws.

Irancove @ June 18, 2008

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