Arab Americans Outraged at US Attack on Iraqi Civilians
Washington, DC, Jan. 25 — The American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) expresses its outrage over apparent U.S. missile strikes on Iraqi civilian targets on Monday.
According to the Associated Press, “The governor of Basra reported a number of missiles hit the Basra area Monday killing 11 people and wounding 59.” AP has published photographs of the residents of the al-Jumhuriya neighborhood of Basra camped outside the wreckage of their homes. Western journalists have reported seeing extensive damage to civilian areas in southern Iraq and numerous badly injured children being rushed to local hospitals.
US military authorities claimed that, as they have several times in the past few days, American jets fired on Iraqi military targets in both northern and southern Iraq today. These attacks are justified, according to US officials, because of the “no-fly zones” in northern and southern Iraq. In spite of what has been claimed in numerous inaccurate press reports, these “no-fly zones” were never approved by any United Nations resolution. They have no basis in international law, and are an illegitimate and illegal violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
It is shocking that the US would again target the long-suffering Iraqi people with lawless missile attacks. International public opinion is likely to coincide with the view of the Vatican, which condemned the latest U.S. bombing raid on southern Iraq, which comes only one day before a scheduled meeting between Pope John Paul II and President Clinton. In a statement issued from Mexico City, which the Pope is currently visiting, the Vatican said the military action “confirms once again” the pope’s belief that “military measures don’t resolve problems in themselves, rather they aggravate them.”
ADC President Hala Maksoud “asks President Clinton to listen carefully to the Pope tomorrow and heed his council. The United States needs to abide by United Nations resolutions and international law, rather than simply resorting to unilateral force to achieve its ends. The targeting of civilians is particularly distressing. Have the Iraqi people not suffered enough?”