ADC Warns Against Expansion of Conflict in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, DC–The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) today warned against any moves by the Bush Administration to expand the current conflict beyond actions specifically targeting those responsible for the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, DC. ADC also urged that more care be taken to avoid civilian casualties or exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and neighboring Iran and Pakistan. A steady chorus of voices, mostly coming from pro-Israel sources, is urging that the United States expand its current campaign to include various Arab organizations unconnected to the September 11 attacks, and some Arab states, especially Iraq. Such demands persist in spite of repeated statements from leaders such as Vice President Richard Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powel that there is no reason to suspect that Iraq was in any way connected with the attacks on New York and Washington. Today, a senior British official reaffirmed that “We have no evidence that links the Iraqi regime with the events of September 11,” and assured the international community that no action would be taken against any state without ”absolute evidence” that it was linked to the September 11 outrages.
ADC President Ziad Asali emphasized “any expansion of the current campaign against Usama bin Laden and his accomplices to include groups and states not connected to the crimes of September 11 would be unjustifiable and would play directly into the hands of those who would paint US actions as being motivated by a generalized anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment.”
“The people of Iraq,” according to Asali, “have suffered over ten years of the most severe blockade in human history, which has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and have been subjected to continuous bombing attacks by American and British warplanes. To compound their suffering with another massive attack on their country would be a grave injustice to the Iraqi people.” Asali concluded that “such a decision would also undermine the widespread support the United States has received from the Arab countries in its campaign against those responsible for the atrocities of September 11, and would undermine all of the laudable efforts taken so far by President George Bush and others to assure Arabs and Muslims that this is not a war against Islam or the Arab world.”

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