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Re: End Sanctions Proposals

On Fri, 15 Jan 1999, Glen Rangwala wrote:

> I accept, though, that there are many goods that the Iraqi government has
> not applied for without propmpting from the UN. I think we shouldn't
> be too quick to blame the malevolence of the Iraqi government on this
> score; poor procurement management is inevitable when all decisions on
> what to import for a country of 22 million have to be made by a central
> authority many months in advance. In many ways, the fault lies with SCR986
> para 8(a),which states that 'each export of goods is at the request of
> the Government of Iraq¹. By not giving any power to individual groups or
> organizations within Iraq to make requests for imports, the Security
> Council is setting up a highly centralised scheme under which humanitarian
> goods will inevitably remain unordered. 

There is a logical incoherence in this programme of import and
distribution, as formulated by the Security Council resolution, which
could be made more generally known. This would also obviate the necessity
of having to make any claims about the Hussein government's malevolence or
benevolence, or about the efficiency of centralised distribution networks. 

Is is not inconsistent with the claims made by the US and UK governments
etc of Saddam Hussein's uncaring attitude to his people, that they should
place powers to make requests for imports exclusively in his hands? This
seems rather inconsistent - why, if he is the evil dictator, the third
antichrist etc, is he to be expected to do what is best for his people,
when the argument so far is precisely that he will not?

I think we accept that he will not, or at least may not - which is the
point of opposing the bombing and the sanctions without supporting Saddam
Hussein's regime.

So if it is true that he is not doing all he could possibly do to make
sanctions easier for the Iraqi people (let us forget for the moment that
the sanctions were not imposed by him), one might be permitted to question
why those who impose sanctions on the country of an evil dictator then
place the means to allegedly make the sanctions more humanitarian in the
hands of that same evil dictator, and blame the evil dictator for not
doing enough to help. This then becomes an excuse for the perpetuation of
sanctions, and the periodic bombing of Iraq. 

In this equation, the 'Iraqi people' are completely irrelevant, except
when they appear in various pieces of evidence of the evils of Saddam
Hussein's regime. 

Has anyone heard of this paradox being highlighted in the press, or in
campaigns against the sanctions?

Ben Zachariah.

> > 2) reports that Iraq was actually exporting grain rather than selling it
> > domestically (has anyone found out anything new on this question since
> > it was last discussed on this list?)
> I'm wondering if it is actually the 3 northern governorates (ie the
> Kurdish controlled areas, out of central government control) that are
> exporting grain. The latest 180-day report from the Secretary-General
> (S/1998/1100) details that wheat production is the major farming activity
> in this region, and reports a 25% increase in yields, accompanied by a 26%
> reduction in costs. Since this is area is out of central government (due
> to the US-UK military incursion), if they KDP-PUK are exporting their
> grain, Saddam can hardly be blamed. In fact, in the government-controlled
> regions of Iraq, the Secretary-General reports that agriculture is in dire
> straits, with a severe shortage of tractors, combine harvesters, spare
> parts &c. These problems may be due to the Sanctions Committee; for
> example, the Iraqi government ordered pesticides under Phase III of the
> oil-for-food plan (early 1998), but due to delays in approval and
> contracting, they arrived too late for the 1998 cropping season. Anyway,
> since purchase of food from anywhere in Iraq contravenes SCR661, the US
> government should be making representations to the importing countries if
> it really had any information.
> > 3) Iraq's own acknowledgments that it cannot effectively distribute some
> > imported medicines.
> Undoubtably, there is congestion in warehouses. This may again be due to
> the lack of handling equipment and suitable operational transportation. In
> addition, the Secretary-General reports that some suppliers have failed to
> provide testing methodology and standard solutions; coupled with the
> inadequacy of inadequate facilities at testing laboratories, this has
> increased processing time from 2 to 3+half weeks (S/1998/1100, para.25)
>  > 4) US official reports that Iraq has kept large supplies of food and
> > medicine in storehouses, refusing to distribute them to the needy
> This has been largely rejected by the UN observers in Iraq. Michael Stone,
> former head of UN Monitoring in Iraq, together with Denis Halliday and
> officials from the WHO in Iraq have all said that Iraq's distribution of
> food is efficient.
> > 5) reports that the government of Iraq has refused donations of
> > humanitarian goods from other countries
> True: Iraq is now refusing 'charity' (spuriously).
> --
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