Multiple Impacts of Sanctions, DU Contamination and Other Destructive Weapons on the Population and the Environment in Iraq (1991 – 2006)
Dr. Souad N. Al-Azzawi Assistant Professor in Environmental Engineering Multiple Impacts of Sanctions, DU Contamination and Other Destructive Weapons on the Population and the Environment in Iraq (1991 – 2006)
Existence of US forces in the Middle East Implemented through Creating political instability in the region as well as related neighboring areas. Creating conflicts between neighboring countries. Destruction of all economical, cultural, social, and health infrastructures to intimidate the people of these countries before invading their countries (in Iraq this step had been accomplished through the genocidal sanctions between 1991 and 2003). Invasion & Direct Control of the Resources
<ul><li>Control most of the oil in the world as well as other natural resources in the area (gold, phosphate, sulphur, ..etc) </li></ul><ul><li>The existence of the military forces in a permanent bases in a the gulf as a strategic area (the intersection zone of the three continents where 80% of the world population). </li></ul><ul><li>As a result of the above, the US will control the economy of the whole world. </li></ul>Genocide and occupation of Iraq are only means to:
Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons were first used in armed conflict in recent history during the Gulf War of 1991. In that year, more than 320 tons  of Depleted Uranium calibers and projectiles were used by the American and British armies during the withdrawal of the Iraqi army from Kuwait. Military operations began from Kuwaiti territories up north, to the west of Basrah and Nassyria cities in Iraq. Table (1) shows the types of DU weaponry used in the military operations in southern Iraq in 1991 . Map (1) shows areas of intensive use of DU weapons in 1991. Introduction
<ul><li>The above factors with the increase of radiological, and other contamination, caused huge multiple genocidal effect among the population of Iraq. </li></ul><ul><li>Destruction and infrastructure devastation. </li></ul><ul><li>Implementing comprehensive economical sanctions which creates the compounded hardship to provide even the most essential human necessities including health care. </li></ul>Preparation to the Genocide
<ul><li>Type of project no. Of projects </li></ul><ul><li>Educational/schools, educational services 3818 </li></ul><ul><li>Health/hospitals, storage, medical centers 392 </li></ul><ul><li>General buildings,bridges, housing centers 260 </li></ul><ul><li>Commerce/food supply stores, central malls, shopping centers 251 </li></ul><ul><li>Religious centers/mosques, churches, other 159 </li></ul><ul><li>Industry and mining/factories, mines, storage 122 </li></ul><ul><li>Agriculture and irrigation/dams, canals, pumping stations 205 </li></ul><ul><li>Media and culture/TV, and radio stations, museums, </li></ul><ul><li>historical places 90 </li></ul><ul><li>Social and municipal services/water purification and treatment </li></ul><ul><li>plants, networks, registration centers, municipalities 833 </li></ul><ul><li>Higher education/universities, laboratories, others 39 </li></ul><ul><li>Transportation and telecommunication/TV. Stations, highways, </li></ul><ul><li>airports, railroads 475 </li></ul>Table (2): Economic, service, and infrastructure projects that have been destroyed during the Gulf War of 1991
320 tons Depleted Uranium Munitions and Projectiles 142,000 tons or 7 times the explosive power of the atomic bombs of Hiroshima Bombs and other sorties (Cluster Bombs, BLU-97, BLU-101, highly explosive GP bombs, MK-84, GP-27, GP-28, MK-83, MK-82, Cruise Missiles, Laser Guided bombs, GBUI-5, GBU-24, GBU-27 (of Al Amiriya Shelter), GBU-28. 4,938 Tanks and armored vehicles 650,000 soldiers from 41 countries Soldiers 2,780 Air force and warplanes 115,000 Air strikes on Iraq 43 days Period of military operations Number Operation Table 3: Military Force Used During the Gulf War of 1991 
Gulf War Depleted Uranium Contamination in Iraq (1991) DU contamination in Iraq was detected through comprehensive exploration programs in and around Al-Basrah City, southern Iraq, which showed the following results: <ul><li>(124) onsite exposure measurements in west Basrah City showed high gamma radiation exposures ranging from (9.7 – 184) µR/hr. in areas of destroyed vehicles compared to a natural background level of (6 – 7) µR/hr. </li></ul>
3. Surface water channel sediments showed (2-3) times higher radioactivity than the natural background of 40 Bq/Kg. 2. (124) soil samples from 39 locations showed higher activities than natural background levels. Range of activities of U-235 from (60 – 1050) Bq/Kg, and of U-238 ranged between (273–65,200) Bq/Kg, compared to natural soil background of 60 Bq/Kg in that area. 4. Activity ratios of 0.003 – 0.0327 proves the existence of DU contamination in these areas.
<ul><li>Results of Modeling DU related pollution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contamination of about 1718 km² of soil with DU oxide particulates. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1886103 m³ of contaminated surface water related to DU. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>140 000 m³ of channel sediments contamination. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vegetation Cover contamination of about 845 100 tons. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>About 45% of people in the area, the Iraqi troops, and the Coalition troops were exposed to higher levels of radioactivity than the annual 2.5mSv. </li></ul></ul>
Risk Assessment Analysis Also, the measured collective radiation doses the people in Al Basrah, the Iraqi troops, and the USA troops were exposed to are: <ul><ul><li>The calculated total annual whole body dose to DUDA inhalation dose in highway zone between Kuwait and Basrah is (0.442 – 0.577) Sv </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The assessed expected overall detriment risk among the exposed soldiers to DUDA would be 70 cancer cases per 1000 soldiers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>DUDA inhalation does represent 89% of total whole body dosage </li></ul></ul>
<ul><li>There is a distribution of this increase in contaminated areas west of Al-Basrah City. </li></ul>Epidemiological studies in Al-Basrah area indicated: <ul><li>A rise in the incidence rate of malignancies amongst children to be far more noticeable from 1995 onwards. </li></ul><ul><li>A four time increase than prior to the 1991 war. </li></ul>
<ul><li>A six fold increase in congenital malformations among births in Basrah City since 1995 onward have been registered. </li></ul><ul><li>The shift of leukemia to younger children supports the criteria of biological plausibility specificity and is consistent with findings of correlating such incidents to exposure to ionized radiations. </li></ul><ul><li>Congenital heart diseases and chromosomal aberrations have been reported at higher rates lately. </li></ul>
Other contaminants effecting the human health status in Iraq Contamination problems associated with each military operation, and attacks on Iraq during the former 16 year period include: <ul><li>1991 Gulf War related environmental contamination. </li></ul>2. Continuous attacks by US-UK Air force on southern and northern cities of Iraq (1991 – 2003) made it impossible to reconstruct basic services and needs. By the end of 1999 US and UK army forces had flown 6000 sorties, dropped more than 1800 bombs and hit more than 450 targets.
3.1998 re-attack by the USA and UK with more DU contaminant by Cruise missiles and Bunker Buster bombing Iraqi facilities. This 80 hour attack during Ramadhan (16 – 19) of 1998 aimed to destruct the reconstructed civil services and major infrastructures which were demolished in 1991 and were re-constructed. These attacks, accompanied with the sanctions, have done great damage to the Iraqi people and the environment.
4. 2003 US Invasion of Iraqi land and the associated military operations, more destructive weapons, even the internationally banned types, were used against people, infrastructure facilities, and environment. 5.The contamination resulting from the looting and burning of various factories, industrial complexes and laboratories, and ministries (including the looting of the Tuwaitha Atomic Energy Agency), and 300 other highly contaminated sites identified by UNEP.
Table 1: Types of Weapons Used in IIMO since March 2003 – Today SA-80 rifle MOAB Scimitar reconnaissance vehicle GBU 12 Saxon Armored personnel carrier AGM 84D M109A6 Paladin Howitzer MK-82 Humvee AGM 65 M6 Bradley Linebacker Tomahawk M2A3 Bradley fighting vehicle SCUD C M1A1 Abrams battle tank AGM 154A Up-armored Humvee AGM 88 Ground Weapons Munitions
6. Post-occupation major siege and attacks on anti-occupation Iraqi cities in central and northern Iraq (Mosul, Tel Afar, Fallujah, Balad, Anbar, Haditha, Qa’im, Rawa, Baghdad, Karbala, Najaf, Aubaidi, Diala, Samara, Tikrit, Baiji, Ahsaiba, Mada’in, Kubaissa, Baghdad suburbs …etc.) 7. Continuous military engagements between occupation forces and occupation resistance groups.
<ul><li>Use of extensive DU weapons by USA during the Gulf War satisfied the following criteria: </li></ul>1.To overcome the overwhelming psychological barrier the United States of America faced as a result of using conventional atomic and nuclear weapons like the ones used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki against civilians at the end of World War II. 2. Long-term buildup of threshold harmful radiation doses from the accumulation of low-level exposure over long time periods in weak devastated bodies of the populations attacked by DU weapons should give the same results on the long run of attacking by nuclear weapons.
3. Solving the problem of overpopulation in areas rich with natural resources desperately needed to keep up the standard of living in industrialized countries through contaminating these areas and the natural environments. 4.To find a profitable way to handle the huge amounts of radioactive and nuclear wastes generated by the USA through converting them to weapons and distributing them all over the world through armed conflicts and army bases.
Post 2003 War and Military Operations Against Civilians in Iraq 1- Daily killing of Iraqi citizens by the occupation forces and its assigned government. Total number of people killed during and after the invasion is estimated to be over (120,000). 2- Additional everyday killing by death squads towards certain ethnic and sectarian groups. 3- Cutting of all life support aids on people during the sieges on Iraqi cities in northern, western and central Iraq. Thousands of children, women and elderly who could not leave their houses were subjected to collective punishment in the cities of Fallujah and 10 other cities. Water, food, electricity, health care and medicine were deprived from these cities for weeks. People started drinking polluted water from ditches and nearby rivers.
The story of the Fallujah war crimes was well exposed after the film made by the Italian Rai news channel.
4- The use of forbidden and WMD on civilians in the besieged cities such as cluster bombs, DU, napalm, thermoboric, daisy cutters, etc. Nerve gas and white phosphorous were also used in Fallujah city where over 2000 people were killed, most of whom were civilians. New generations of Napalm (MK 77) fire bombs were also used on Safwan in the vicinity of Basrah city in March, 2003. These bombs increase temperatures from 1472o F to 2192o F.
Reuse of Depleted Uranium weapons on crowded, heavily populated cities like Baghdad to previously contaminated areas increased the risk of radioactivity related diseases. The health ministry in Iraq already announced in 2005 (without statistics) that there is an increase in cancer incidents in Iraq after the war . <ul><li>5- Continuous negligence of medical care systems, hospitals, and the killing of prominent medical and healthcare specialists in Iraq after 2003. Hospitals in Iraq continue to face ongoing medical and equipment shortages and other important supplies. WHO last year warned about the health crises in Baghdad. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The total sum of money that was spent to improve medical care and hospital performance did not exceed $ 300 millions , compared to the $ 236 billion spent on buying foreign security contractors to kill more Iraqi people, or about $200 billions for building permanent US bases in Iraq.  </li></ul></ul>
6. Refusal of any statistical release of the number of killed civilians or injured people as a result of bombings, explosions, attacks, kidnappings and organized killings. 7. Refusal of occupation forces to conduct exploration programs to detect Depleted Uranium related increase in radioactivity. Such measurements and surveys are necessary to confine the problem . The research centers were all looted or destroyed to stop any further research that will define the real causes behind the genocide of the Iraqi people. Casualties of about two million Iraqis continues since the US and its allies made the decision to occupy the worlds oil resorts beginning with Iraq.
8. Continuous deterioration of environmental quality measurements. Figures 8, 9, 10 shows mean monthly TSP (total suspended particulates) increase in air in Baghdad City due to explosions, and heavy traffic of tanks and vehicles, mean monthly concentrations of SO2 increase in air of 2004 in Baghdad, and total suspended solids increase in Baghdad during 2004 .
Table (6) shows lead concentrations in Baghdad in 2004, compared to international allowable concentrations. e can see that concentration of toxic lead in some areas in Baghdad reached 20,490 mcg/gm of soil and 116 mcg/gm of soil in Mosul city, compared to environmental limits of 25mcg/gm of soil (the EPA standards). Also, water quality parameters during sanctions and after the invasion of Iraq showed dramatic deterioration as compared to the same parameters prior to 1990. Clean water availability to about 93% of the population of Iraq during the eighties according to the Human Development Report of 1993. In 1995 about 4.4 million people cut from potable water. Currently more than 30% of the population suffers from a lack of clean water
<ul><li>Quality of drinking water has also deteriorated. Figure (11) shows percent bacteriological tests failed samples of drinking water in Baghdad and in different other Iraqi cities during year 2004 </li></ul>
Collective impact of all the above pollution sources on the human body can be critical especially for children, women and the elderly people.
Concluding Remarks: 1- The sanctions and blockade regime implemented against Iraq since August/September 1990 by the Security Council of the UN can be viewed in terms of three conventions : <ul><ul><ul><ul><li>First additional Protocol to Geneva Conventions 1977 (the Geneva Protocol) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crime of Genocide (The Genocide Convention). </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Nuremberg Principles </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>2- Since the sanction/blockade targeted civilians it is considered illegal from its inception under the Geneva Protocol. It is manifestly criminal both as a war crime and as a breach of the Genocide Convention .
3- Other conclusions would be through applying the Nuremberg Principles which consider all individual persons knowingly assisted in the application and enforcement of the sanctions on Iraq are guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.. 4- Secretary of the State Madeline Albright emphasized in an interview with Leslie Stahl of CBS news that the death of half a million Iraqi children as a result of sanctions was acceptable. Correspondent Leslie Stahl said to Albright, "We have heard that a half million children have died . I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima . And -- and you know, is the price worth it?" Madeline Albright replied "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it.“ This statement concludes the genocidal ideology committed in Iraq. Accordingly, the Iraqi Oil certainly worth the killing of two million people, and still going on.
5- Two major wars and continuous attacks on civil services, with the sever economical sanctions, have caused multiple impact of the radiological pollution from the use of Depleted Uranium Weapons on human health of the people in Iraq. Direct and indirect casualties of the above acts committed by USA and Britain Administrations can be considered as a crime of genocide because it mainly targeted civilians, and the structure of the Iraqi society of Iraq, and not the Iraqi military targets as they always claim. 6- The blockade/sanctions regime was designed to work as a siege. It is noted that all characteristics of modern war -the blurring line between battle fields and societies, the destruction of the infrastructure, the uprooting of the entire populations- were anticipated in ancient siege warfare.  All these characteristics are demonstrably present in the Iraqi war/sanctions elements.
Correspondent Leslie Stahl said to Albright, "We have heard that a half million children have died . I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And -- and you know, is the price worth it?" Madeline Albright replied "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it."
500,000 children have died We think the price is worth it. Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
Canadian Ambassador Stephen Lewis said : "I don't know how Madeleine Albright lives with it..!!"