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I've just finished a new two-sided, footnoted A5 flyer on sanctions and the oil-for-food deal. If anyone wants copies [for photocopying and distribution] please mail me. Gabriel. %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Financial Times. 15th July 1998. IRAQ: Kurdish north suffers in limbo Partly freed from Baghdad's grip, the Kurds' future remains uncertain, enmeshed by the Iraq-UN stalemate. Roula Khalaf reports The village of Heran in Iraq's Kurdish north once dreamed of becoming a summer resort. But mired in the Kurds' tumultuous history of bloodshed and destruction, it never even came near. Its garden of pomegranate trees was and burned by Iraqi forces in 1988. Villagers say chemical weapons were used, though Baghdad denies it. Baghdad was back three years later to put down the Kurdish uprising after the Gulf war. The people of Heran and most villages in the north rushed to the Turkish and Iranian borders, forcing the Gulf war allies to set up a "safe haven" in the north and expel Iraqi troops. Since 1994, the village has been in the frontline of fighting between rival Kurdish groups, driven by personal ambitions of Kurdish leaders and disputes over money. I've seen nothing but suffering my whole life," says a 74-year-old villager. Like the rest of northern Iraq, Heran lives in limbo. Scarred by a bloody past, it is uncertain about the future. The peshmergas - Kurdish guerrillas - stroll down the main street waiting for the fighting to resume. Meanwhile, the two main Kurdish factions are engaged in a "peace process". Both are also said to be talking to their common enemies in Baghdad. For food, medicine, and any hope of improvement in infrastructure, the people of Heran have to turn to the United Nations, which imposed sanctions on Iraq in 1990. Under the oil-for-food programme, Iraq can export $5.3bn of oil every six months to buy humanitarian supplies. Some $550m is allocated to the north, for distribution by the UN. It builds schools, hands out equipment to farmers, and distributes food and medicine. Sanctions are a difficult subject for the people of northern Iraq. They guarantee the north a portion of Iraq's oil revenues. The Kurdistan Democratic party (KDP) - which controls the largest part of the north - says the amounts far exceed anything the north has ever received from Baghdad. Under sanctions, the north has been luckier than the rest of the country, and has been flooded with non-governmental organisations since 1991. According to the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef), acute malnutrition rates of children under five have dropped from 37 per cent in 1994 to 30 per cent in 1997. Foreign currency has also flowed into the region, as the north is also the land of smuggling. The KDP - in a main point of contention with its rival, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) - pockets millions every month in tax levies from the illegal oil trade from central Iraq to Turkey. But sanctions have also damaged the economy and prevented imports of badly needed spare parts for repairing infrastructure. Unicef says 85 per cent of water samples are contaminated. Power cuts sometimes last a month, and the education system is collapsing. Implementation of UN agencies' projects has been dismal. The oil-for-food deal is also harming farm output. In the wheat fields of Bahraqa in northern Iraq, Jalal Kak Ahmed has just won a lottery to receive spare parts for his harvester and he is expecting a bumper crop. Yet he is not happy. "There is no market. To whom do we sell the wheat?" he says. "I know I will lose money, and next year I will not plant more." Under oil-for-food, everything is imported. The deal is structured to prevent any funds from falling into the hands of Baghdad and the UN Security Council is reluctant to make big exceptions for the north. It makes little sense to the farmers, especially when they find out that the only buyer for their wheat is the government in Baghdad - at a price that farmers say barely covers their costs. In a land where people see themselves as Iraqi but want human rights and the chance to run their affairs as they please, Baghdad is out of the way, yet somehow always present. The central government reappeared in August 1996, when the KDP asked for Iraqi troops to help it recapture the administrative capital of Arbil from the PUK. Earlier this year, it Baghdad told Iraqis they could spend their summer holidays in the cooler north, though it seems to have now changed its mind. For northern Iraq, the greatest anxiety today is that, as international pressure for lifting sanctions mounts, the oil-for-food programme on which it subsists may end while the north's status within Iraq remains unsettled. UN officials and Kurdish leaders say it is a question the international community has not even begun to debate. "It is difficult to predict what will happen," says a KDP leader. "But a lot depends on peace between us and the PUK." In Heran, no one is thinking that far ahead. Having understood that Heran's tourist ambitions will have to wait, all the villagers are asking for today is electricity, better access to water and a telephone line. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ U.N. to Take Up Iraq Nuclear Issue By Robert H. Reid Associated Press Writer Wednesday, July 15, 1998; 9:29 a.m. EDT VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- The U.N. Security Council will consider a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency that could lead to a scaling back of nuclear inspections in Iraq, U.N. sources said today. The head of the Vienna-based IAEA's Iraq inspection program, Garry Dillon, will travel to New York for the council session, which is tentatively set for July 29, the sources said on condition of anonymity. Scaling back nuclear inspections in Iraq has been a goal of the Russians, French and Chinese. Those three permanent council members have been urging U.N. inspectors to wrap up the seven-year program to determine whether Iraq has destroyed all long-range missiles and nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Iraqi compliance with that demand is the main condition for the council to lift crippling economic sanctions imposed on Iraq in 1990 after President Saddam Hussein's soldiers invaded Kuwait, triggering the Gulf War. Last month, Russia, France and China urged the 15-member council to certify that Iraq had dismantled its nuclear weapons research program and to order the IAEA to shift from ``intrusive inspections'' to an ongoing monitoring program of Iraqi facilities. Their demand was based on a series of IAEA reports that said seven years of monitoring had produced no evidence that Iraq was maintaining a clandestine nuclear weapons program. But the agency stopped short of declaring Iraq in full compliance. Despite acknowledging progress in the nuclear field, the United States argued last month that Iraq had failed to provide answers to all IAEA questions on its nuclear program, which Baghdad claims was dismantled shortly after the Gulf War. The Americans and Russians agreed in June that the IAEA would submit a new report on the Iraqi nuclear program by the end of this month. The sources said the draft report to be sent to the Security Council was fundamentally no different than the previous IAEA reports. The IAEA is responsible only for inspections of Iraqi nuclear facilities. The U.N. Special Commission, headquartered in New York, inspects Iraqi missile, biological and chemical weapons programs. %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html