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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 07, 2003

Saddam Hussein. Pol Pot. Idi Amin.

On Feb 5, 2003, the NYT carried an article by Barham A. Salih (“co-prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Goverment in Iraq") under the tilte, Give Us a Chance to Build a Democratic Iraq . In his article, Salih writes:
Most of my Iraqi compatriots — Shiite and Sunni Arab, Turkmen and Assyrian, Muslim, Christian and Yazidi — have been united by what they have endured under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party. They want the overthrow of a regime that used chemical weapons against the Kurds and wasted a nation's natural resources on wars rather than schools. They want democracy in Iraq. These are goals worthy of the world's support.
...
We have watched demonstrators in Washington and other cities chant, "No to war." But the Baathist dictatorship has been waging war for decades. It has inflicted hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties. Every day, Iraqis of all ethnic and religious groups are tortured in horrible ways. The regime even now is waging a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing in the parts of Iraqi Kurdistan it still controls.

Iraq has many dedicated apologists, including some who defend or deny the Hussein regime's use of chemical weapons on Kurds. They ignore captured Iraqi documents that tell of inhuman attacks on my people, among them an audiotape of Saddam Hussein's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid boasting of his plans to use chemical weapons against the Kurds. We know from samples collected by Human Rights Watch at the village of Birjinni and tested by the British defense ministry that the regime used mustard gas and the nerve agent sarin against our people.
Subsequent to World War I, the Kurdish people were the victims of outrageous conduct on the part of the Allies. The same 1921 “Cairo Conference” in which Churchill gave away Eastern Palestine to Abdullah (son of Hussein, King of the Hejaz), also decided that a considerable portion of the Kurd’s homeland would become part of Iraq. As the World War I agreements were being finalized, “independence or autonomy for the Kurds, which had been on the agenda in 1921, somehow disappeared from the agenda in 1922, so there was to be no Kurdistan” (quoted from p. 560 of

Fromkin, David. A peace to end all peace. New York: Avon Books, 1989).

Today, the Kurdish people are divided among four countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. (See Kurdish Online Encyclopaedia).

Now the Kurds are hoping to rid themselves of the tyrant who rules Iraq, but the “antiwar” bleeding hearts are standing in the way. One of their slogans, heard repeatedly on radio and TV shows, is “war and violence solve nothing”. Tell that to the nations who fell under the Axis occupation during World War II. Tell that to the people of Cambodia under Pol Pot, a murderer who was removed only when Vietnam's troops overthrew him. Or, tell that to the Ugandans during Idi Amin’s rule of terror, people who were not liberated from the terror until the Tanzanian army came to the rescue.

The story of Uganda and her liberation from Amin is particularly noteworthy because it highlights several recurring themes. First, as in the case of Iraq, the UN proved itself utterly irrelevant. Second, again as in the case of Iraq, it showed how selective the bleeding heart’s vision is, seeing Israel’s sins where they don’t exist, but blind to the Idi Amin’s of the world while they proceed on their murderous path. Third, also in parallel to the Iraq situation, because of misguided loyalties, the bleeding hearts stand in the way of peoples’ liberation. And finally, as in the case of Iraq, tyranny, opposing Israel and support for terrorism go hand in hand. For all these reasons, it is useful to review the story of Uganda in the 1970's, where an entire community - Ugandan Asians - was expelled, and several tribes were slaughtered, while the UN turned a blind eye.

The facts about Idi Amin's dictatorship, 1971-1979, may be found, inter alia, in the web sources given at the end of this article. In a nutshell, the data culled from these sources reveal as follows:

On January 25, 1971, while President Obote was outside of Uganda, Idi Amin staged a coup.

On March 30, 1972, Amin won the distinction of being the first African leader to break diplomatic relations with Israel and expel Israeli technicians who were in Uganda to assist its economy.

Hot on the heels of this achievement, on August 5, 1972, Idi Amin began expelling the Asian population that constituted the backbone of the merchant class. Estimates of the number expelled vary from 50,000 to 80,000. The Asians expelled ended up in many countries, including Canada, but mostly in Britain.

On December 18, 1972, Idi Amin nationalized 41 foreign-owned farms and tea estates, of which 34 were British. This trend continued later with the expulsion of all foreign business interests from Uganda.

On June 27, 1976, an Air France plane with some 100 Israeli citizens was hijacked and flown eventually to the Entebbe airport. On July 5, 1976, in an outstanding feat of courage and skill, the IDF landed in Entebbe, killed the hijacking terrorists and flew the freed hostages to Israel.

On November 1, 1978, Idi Amin attacked his neighbour, Tanzania. The Tanzanian army fought back, and on April 11, 1979 reached Kampalla, the capital of Uganda. Idi Amin found refuge in Saudi Arabia, where, according to the available information, he continues to live in luxury to this very day. Born in 1925, Idi Amin is now 78 years old.

Idi Amin’s reign of terror cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of his countrymen. The estimated number of those murdered varies from 100,000 to 400,000, mostly Christians.

Throughout the eight-year period reviewed above, the Security Council (SC) did not find it appropriate to condemn Idi Amin even once. In the view of this august organization, Amin’s assault on Tanzania warranted no attention under the peace and security mandate of the SC, nor did his expulsion of the Asians warrant denunciation.

In general, Amin was treated with kid gloves by “the international community”, as summarized by the following quote from Encarta (see link below):

The United States government did not pass a trade embargo until 1978. In an unsuccessful effort to encourage Amin to moderate his policies, the rulers of other African states elected him chair of the Organization of African Unity for a one-year term in 1975.
Sounds familiar?

Sources Regarding Uganda:

A compact chronology was posted by the BBC site.

Recent BBC stories about Uganda and Idi Amin may be found in this site.

Encylopaedia resources may be found at www.encyclopedia.com, or at the Encarta site.

Other informative sites include this page.

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland. This piece is cross-posted on IsraPundit and Dawson Speaks.