News Release

Live, From Iraq


The following people are available for interviews. Note that Baghdad is 8 hours ahead of Eastern Time.

President of the humanitarian aid organization Conscience International and a longtime professor of Middle East and Islamic Studies, Jennings has worked extensively in Iraq. He last traveled to Iraq with Congressman Nick Rahall and former Senator James Abourezk in a trip sponsored by the Institute for Public Accuracy in mid-September. Now in Baghdad until Friday (Nov. 22), Jennings said today: “On his arrival here, chief weapons inspector Hans Blix raised two important points. First, Blix talked about the importance of the sanctions as an issue and how lifting them would move Iraq forward and that we should move toward that. Secondly, he raised the idea from one of the earlier UN resolutions, that in the Mideast there should be a zone free of weapons of mass destruction.” Jennings also noted: “A war now would destroy the limited progress that Iraq has been able to make in the wake of the war and sanctions, and so the issue is not just about arsenals, but is also about the ordinary people of Iraq and their welfare. Over the last three years, you can see an improvement here in Baghdad. Simply put, there are more cars and fewer beggars.”

Kelly is co-coordinator of Voices in the Wilderness, a group opposed to the sanctions on Iraq. The organization has initiated the Iraq Peace Team, a group of activists working to prevent war. They currently include Cliff Kindy, a farmer from Indiana, and Cindy Banas, a retired librarian from New York state. Kelly said: “Yesterday, CNN offered a 3-D rendition of a street in Baghdad to illustrate how fighting in Baghdad might go. I realized that the street they were showing was the street I’m on — Abi Nawas Street. There’s the detail and the assurance of the war planning; but here in Baghdad, there’s the terrifying uncertainty of Iraqis not knowing what’s going to happen though it affects them greatly. There’s even a reluctance to follow the news as many Iraqis feel they owe it to their children to maintain some equilibrium.” Diaries of team members are available at the above web page.

Now in Washington state, Sacks is a retired engineer. He said today: “In late September, I traveled to Iraq with three U.S. Congressmen. We went to Basra where the greatest threat … comes from unsafe drinking water. We visited a diarrhea clinic and saw dozens of babies weakened from bouts with water-borne diseases. When we returned to Baghdad we saw the cause: the largest sewage treatment plant for Baghdad is in severe disrepair. There is a lack of electricity and spare parts — a result of the Gulf War bombing and economic sanctions.”
More Information

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167