Iraq

Iraq: Moral case for war as yet unproven

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Christian Aid is warning that military strikes on Iraq are likely to exacerbate the humanitarian crisis. The charity also fears that the international community is as yet unprepared for the new and potentially widespread humanitarian crisis that may result from war.

In an open letter to Tony Blair, the UK Prime Minister, Christian Aid says it does not believe there is yet a 'moral case' for war, as put by Mr Blair in his speech on 15 February. The charity argues that 'the options for a peaceful solution to the current crisis are not yet exhausted' and urges the Prime Minister to 'pursue these options vigorously.'

'Your moral argument for war asserts that the long-term benefits for the people of Iraq will outweigh the short-term costs of war. This is far from certain,' says Christian Aid's letter. 'War is always unpredictable. Our experience in post-conflict Afghanistan teaches us that it is likely there will be significant chaos and suffering in Iraq long after military strikes have ended.'

The letter warns that preparations for humanitarian relief in and around Iraq have not kept pace with preparations for war. 'There is a raft of evidence suggesting that preparations may turn out to be woefully inadequate,' it says.

Christian Aid also urges the Prime Minister to put equal effort into pressing Israel to comply with UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Occupied Palestinian Territories.