calls for Arab boycott
By Ibtisam Awadat,
Star Staff Writer
April 13, 2002
Opposition political parties, Professional Associations
and other institutions are calling on all Arabs to boycott US products
and in particular those companies that support Israel.
Jordanian Student holding a Boycott
Israel Campaign banner
Jordanians welcomed the Iraqi move to cut its oil exports for one
month in support of the Palestinian people starting from Monday
8 April. To create greater international impact, political observers
noted other oil states are demanding the same action be taken. However,
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait said they would not sever their oil exports.
Meanwhile, a popular initiative was launched to boycott US products,
The economic significance of the Iraqi move to suspend its oil
exports will remain limited unless other oil states take the same
procedure. If Libya and Iran join the Iraqis in their one-month
suspension, OPEC will not be able to compensate for the market.
"The production of those states [Iraq, Libya and Iran] comprises
30 percent of OPEC's, which is about seven to eight million oil
barrel a day," Dr Jawad Al Anani, former deputy prime minister
told The Star. The boycott by the three countries will create severe
The Iraqi decision was announced by President Saddam Hussein on
the occasion of the establishment of Arab Baath party. Its implications
are expected to be effective in putting pressure on the United Nations.
"According to the Oil-for-Food program, the UN takes 30 percent
of Iraq's oil revenues." Al Anani believes that when these
financial sources stop, the UN will certainly move to take action.
Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on 5 April Islamic
countries should stop supplying oil for one month to countries with
close relations to Israel.
Other analysts note the Iraqi move will lead to disturbance in
the oil market and may affect oil prices. "The US administration
doesn't understand [anything] but the language of their own interests,"
Dr Mohammad Saqr, economics professor at the University of Jordan
told The Star.
Hence, economic pressure on the US will make it feel "Israel
is nothing but a burden on their economy," Saqr noted.
The move is considered a message to all Arab regimes who claim
they are unable to change the ongoing instability and force the
Israelis to stop their aggression.
Jordanian popular organizations are fed up with the silence of
their political regimes towards the Israeli massacres. There is
a more pressing trend to take more forceful action. Opposition political
parties, Professional Associations and other institutions are calling
on all Arabs to boycott US products and in particular those companies
that support Israel. Their names have already been circulated to
many internet users. However, the magnitude of the Arab boycott
of US products is minimized by economists.
"The boycott will not affect the US economy as a whole, however,
the losses of grand US soft drinks, fast food and clothes wear will
produce the required pressure," Al Anani explained. The Americans
will understand the boycott as "a message of support [to the
Palestinians] and they fear this would only be a first step which
the Arab world will take to harm their economic interests,"
Dr Khaldoun Al Nasser, spokesman of the National Constitutional
Party (NCP) believes the boycott should be applied more in the Gulf
states since they are the biggest consumers of American products.
"The demonstrations, strikes and rallies will result in sabotage
and chaos and only serve the Zionist enemy."
Al Nasser believes the Arab people demonstrated their role and
"it's now time for Arab diplomacy to operate, not people,"
he added. More than 410 demonstrations in Jordan alone led to clashes
with the police, damaging public and private properties and paralyzing
economic life in Jordan because of the ongoing public strikes. Al
Nasser believes "the spasmodic stand in the Jordanian street
will badly affect the Palestinians and serve Zionist plots."