US/UK ‘Smart Sanctions’ Resolution May Double List of ‘Dual Use’ Iraq Exports

6 December 2001

Security Council Resolution 1382 (29/11/01), extending Iraq’s ‘oil for food’ programme, contains a largely neglected annex that may double in length the list of ‘dual use’ items whose export to Iraq is controlled. If so, the US/UK ‘smart sanctions’ initiative could further block, rather than ease, legitimate civilian exports to Iraq, with potentially grave humanitarian consequences.

The resolution, "decides that [the Council] will adopt" an annexed list of ‘dual use’ items "for implementation beginning on 30 May 2002", "subject to any refinements ... agreed by the Council". The British Foreign Office interprets this to mean that the annex has been adopted (30/11/01). Chinese and Russian commentaries imply a belief that further Council agreement is required to do so.

The annexed list has three parts:

(A) the existing list developed by the UN technical bodies charged with disarming Iraq’s nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and mid- to long-range missiles;
(B) a document from the US mission to the UN, containing 149 pages of items based on the Wassenaar Arrangement, a 1996 export control regime that evolved from Cold War controls; and
(C) eight pages of assorted items.

Part C generally adds further controls to items in Part B. For example, Part B controls bathymetric survey systems with three sophisticated features; Part C controls those without such features. In some cases, the Part C controls do not merely add to the Part B controls, but appear to conflict with them. For example, Part B notes that controls on "optical fibre cables" do "not control standard civil telecommunications cables". Part C controls "optical fibre cables of more than 5 meters in length", without further qualification. Beyond outlining some general procedures, the resolution gives no clues as to how such conflicts might be interpreted.

Parts B and C differ from Part A by not being related directly to Iraq’s proscribed weapons. If the resolution’s procedures are adopted, the import restrictions on goods -- one element of the sanctions -- would be replaced by a technology transfer control regime.

Nevertheless, the humanitarian effect of increased holds may be grave. Tun Myat, UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq, explained, "the biggest killer of children is not lack of food or medicine but of water and sanitation" (UN News Centre, 30/11/01). Infrastructural contracts, necessary to restore Iraq’s water and sanitation, are already at high risk of holds. Expanded ‘dual use’ lists less directly related to Iraq’s proscribed weapons threaten to increase this risk.

Given the Security Council’s longstanding lack of haste in redressing the civilian damage caused by its policies in Iraq, it must address these concerns about the humanitarian consequences of this resolution.

For more information on the subject of this press release, contact: Colin Rowat. Tel: 0121 414 3754 / 07768 056 984
For more information on CASI, contact: Per Klevnäs. Tel: 07990 501 905