Proliferation of U.S. Unilateral Sanctions May Be Undermining Gulf War Coalition

Tuesday, 18 November 1997

Bahrain, Egypt, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates have all been targeted for some form of sanctions by the United States.

"The present regime in Iraq poses a very real threat to U.S. national security and world peace. Maintaining a strategic alliance with the Middle East's regional powers has been the linchpin of our efforts to contain Iraq -- yet support among these nations appears to be waning," said Frank Kittredge, President of the National Foreign Trade Council and Vice Chairman of USA*ENGAGE. "The proliferation of unilateral sanctions now seems to be adversely affecting our ability to build and maintain united multilateral coalitions -- even when there is a serious threat to world peace."

Kittredge pointed to the recent report by the President's Export Council which found that the U.S. unilateral sanctions are now threatening 75 countries representing 52% of the world's population. Included are several key Middle East countries which have been targeted by unilateral U.S. economic sanctions. In addition, the pending "Specter-Wolf" religious persecution bill would likely extend sanctions against countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

"The United States has threatened sanctions against the Arab League for supporting a secondary boycott of Israel, while at the same time, the U.S. is threatening Canada and members of the European Union for failing to support the secondary boycotts mandated by the Helms-Burton and D'Amato sanctions legislation," continued Kittredge. "While U.S. goals are laudable, these sanctions are proving to be counter-productive. With the Middle East political scene as complex and sensitive as it is, relying on unilateral sanctions to threaten key strategic partners in the region undercuts America's ability to lead. Unilateral sanctions rarely work, and in this case, could be threatening U.S. national security."

USA*ENGAGE is a coalition of 652 small and large businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations working to seek alternatives to the proliferation of unilateral U.S. foreign policy sanctions and to promote the benefits of U.S. engagement abroad.


Contact: Eric Thomas 202/822-9491

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