King Hussein's call for peace

Issue 

The Bush administration is "reviewing" its aid to Jordan following a February 6 speech by King Hussein. The speech is reprinted here abridged. Subheads have been added.

Brother citizens, brother Arabs, brother Muslims, you who uphold your faith and refuse to see your nation humiliated; you who are truly sincere within yourselves and in your hearts and minds, and in your objectives, ideas and attitudes; you who are concerned for the present as well as the future generations of our nation, I greet every one of you with all affection.

I address you on the eve of the fourth week of this savage and large-scale war which was imposed on brotherly Iraq, and which is aimed at Iraq's existence, its role, its progress and its vitality. It is also aimed at Iraq's right to a life of freedom and dignity, and its determination to fulfil its historic, cultural and human role which started in Babylon, Baghdad and Basra, and which contributed to human civilisation, scientific progress and culture.

Iraq now pays the price in pure and noble blood of belonging to its nation. Iraq had always hastened, without hesitation, to make sacrifices in all the battles which the Arabs fought, or which were forced upon them in defence of Arab land in Palestine, Syria, Egypt and Jordan. Arab blood was always dear to Iraq, and shouldn't the blood of Iraqi men, women and children be dear to us?! How shamed will be the Arabs who let Arab blood be spilt in this unjust war!

The world has known cruel wars, but never one like this. The armies of the biggest and most powerful nations have gathered and unleashed their modern and dangerous weapons on the land, in the sea and in the sky.

Fire rains down upon Iraq from airplanes, from battleships, from submarines and rockets, destroying mosques, churches, schools, museums, hospitals, powdered milk factories, residential areas, Bedouin tents, electricity generating stations and water networks.

This bombing aims to destroy all the achievement of Iraq and return it to primitive life, by using the latest technology of destruction. The first victims of this war were justice, righteousness and peace. Its first casualties were the aspirations of all humanity since the end of the second world war, hoping that that war would be the last human tragedy, and that man would no longer be killer or victim. All the hopes of our nation and the world community were thwarted the day the land of Iraq was turned into the arena of the third world war.

United Nations

The irony of this war is that it is waged under the cloak of

international legitimacy, and in the name of the United Nations, which was created to preserve peace, security and justice and to resolve disputes through dialogue, negotiations and diplomacy.

If this is an example of the future role of the United Nations in the new world order, what an ominous future lies before all nations! What international legitimacy will there be to protect the less powerful against the more powerful who seek to subjugate them, humiliate them, kill them and usurp all their rights that were granted by God and protected by charter of the United Nations?

It is claimed that every effort possible was made to solve the crisis during the five months before the war. This is not true. If the effort that was spent in preparing for the war had been devoted to the quest for a peaceful settlement, this disaster would not have taken place. Moreover, the ongoing war, with its destructive outcome, is incompatible with the humanitarian objectives of the United Nations resolutions which were adopted to restore peace and security to the Gulf region.

The Arab Palestinian people and the Arab nation still await the implementation of a single United Nations resolution which rejects Israeli occupation and calls for an end to it. Twenty-four years have passed since the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights, and nine years have passed since the occupation of south Lebanon, but none of our hopes were fulfilled.

Real aim of war

All the good offices of Jordan and others who were concerned for the future of our nation were aborted. Why? Because the real purpose behind this destructive war, as proven by its scope, and as attested to by the declaration of the parties, is to destroy Iraq and rearrange the area in a manner far more dangerous to our nation's present and future than the Sykes-Picot agreement. This arrangement would put the nation, its aspirations and its resources under direct foreign hegemony and would shred all ties between its parts, thus further weakening and fragmenting it.

The new world order to which we aspire holds all people equal in their right to freedom, progress and prosperity. It must be an order that believes in public freedom and protects private freedoms, respects human rights and strengthens the principles of democracy. It should not deny the Arab people their right to all this.

The nature of the military alliance against Iraq betrays its near and long-term objectives. This war is a war against all Arabs and Muslims, not only against Iraq. When Arab and Islamic lands are offered as bases for the allied armies from which to launch attacks to destroy Arab Muslim Iraq, when Arab money is financing this war with unprecedented generosity unknown to us and our Palestinian

brothers, while we shoulder our national responsibilities; when this takes place, I say that any Arab or Muslim can realise the magnitude of this crime committed against his religion and his nation.

From the very beginning we have shouldered our responsibilities to the Arab nation and Islam, as well as towards international peace and security. Our rewards have been successive punishments to our country and people.

As a new form of punishment there are now attempts to deprive us of our basic needs, even oil, for no other reason than our principled stand. Nevertheless, Jordan's leadership and people will remain firm in their position and belief that the opportunity for peace still exists.

The voice of millions can be heard in every country, including those of the alliance. They all call for peace and an end to the killing of children, the destruction of homes and the withholding of medicine from the sick.

Dividing the spoils

If this situation continues, it will only benefit those who covet our lands and resources, with Israel at their forefront. There are already signs that the spoils are being divided.

We hear and read every day of plans to control our resources, limit our freedom of decision, strangle our aspirations and usurp our rights. There is talk of proposed military alliances and foreign troops that will stay on Arab soil; of conditions that will handicap our progress; of a solution for the Palestinian problem which has been prepared or which will be prepared by others according to what they see, and according to the will of the powerful that is imposed on the weak.

This is a call from a Hashemite Arab to all honest Arab and Muslim leaders. Let us join our efforts to stop this catastrophe and save the people of Iraq from the fate that is planned for them. Let us save our nation from the plans that are designed for it. Let us bring this war to an end.

The starting point in all this is immediate and serious work to make the alliance accept a cease-fire, in preparation for a responsible dialogue between the antagonists: an Iraqi-American dialogue and an Arab-Arab dialogue that resorts to reason and balances interests against international legitimacy, the legitimacy of security, peace, justice and equality.

I send to our people in Palestine our great pride in them, in their steadfastness, in their resilience against their suffering where a whole nation is under house arrest, without work, without a source of earning, without medicine.

As for our people in Iraq, what words can describe their great courage and pride, their tenacity, and their ability to face 28 allied countries, 28 armies headed by the largest, most powerful, and best-armed army of the world! To them we send our love and our pride as they defend us all and raise the banner that says God is great, the banner of Arabs and Islam. We salute Iraq, its heroic army, its steadfast people, its glorious women, its brave children and its aged, confronting with faith the bombers, the battleships and tons of explosives.

We send a special salute to his holiness Pope John Paul II for his prayers and continuous calls for peace in the Middle East, and to all people and international figures everywhere who decry war and call for peace.