07/30/2007, 00.00
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Iraq vs Bulgarian nurses, the international community’s double standards

by Louis Sako
Mgr Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk, challenges the international community over its responsibilities. So far it has failed to lean on Iraq’s neighbours to stop fighters from entering and destabilising Iraq. The announced US arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries won’t stop it either. Arabs should realise that US offensives in Iraq and Afghanistan saved them from Saddam Hussein and the Talibans.

Kirkuk (AsiaNews) – The international community has done a lot for the Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian medic imprisoned in Libya. What joy for them and their families when they finally got their freedom! On the day they were released I celebrated a thanksgiving mass. However, I was also sad because I compared their fate to that of Iraq. Every day some 50 to 100 people die, mostly civilian and innocent; 2.2 millions refugees have fled since the war began in 2003 with the offensive led by the United States. For five years we have lived in this situation and we don’t know how long it will go on, perhaps for years, because Iran’s nuclear programme and the US plan to arm the Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia, will not improve the region’s security and stability; in fact it will make things more complicated.

All of Iraq’s neighbouring countries are sending fighters (mujahidin) into the country. According to statements by the Iraqi government Saudis lead the pack, followed by the Iranians and the Syrians . . . .

So far we have not heard a single word out of a leader or an international delegation visiting Iraq saying something that could end this flow.

If the United States as the occupying power that created the current situation is responsible for it, the international community is also responsible for providing real assistance to solve Iraq’s problems like reconciliation and reconstruction that include all political, religious and ethnic groups. Indeed I think Iraqis deserve as much international help as the Bulgarian nurses.

I believe that the US-led offensives in Iraq and Afghanistan had some positive consequences for many Arab countries, which were saved from the danger of Saddam Hussein and his desire to rule the Arab world. Muslim countries must also realise that the United States saved them from the Talibans.


As evidence in support of Mgr Sako’s statement, former US ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad said that “Saudi Arabia and a number of other countries are not doing all they can to help us in Iraq.”



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