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Guardian article on Halliday

>From today's Guardian - the result of one of the many
interviews Denis Halliday is giving in London this week:

Former UN official decries sanctions on Iraq 

Ian Black meets Dennis Halliday, who is
upsetting Washington and London by finally
speaking his mind 

Wednesday January 27, 1999 

Dennis Halliday talks with the pent-up passion of a
disciplined civil servant long used to keeping his private
thoughts to himself but now free to speak his mind. 

Britain and the United States, says the former United Nations
official, are 'jointly responsible' for killing thousands of
ordinary Iraqis who, in the name of the will of the
international community, have been targeted by punitive
sanctions that are strengthening their leader, Saddam Hussein.

As head of the UN's humanitarian relief programme in Iraq
until his high-profile resignation last autumn, Mr Halliday
has both the practical experience and the moral authority to
condemn a policy which he insists is both immoral and

'After eight years in Iraq we've got to classify sanctions as a
form of warfare, given that they're producing 5,000-6,000
Iraqi deaths per month,' the Irishman says, breaking his
silence after 34 diplomatic years with the UN.

'We've got to come up with another answer.'

Unsurprisingly, he is not a popular man in London and
Washington. Last year both governments tried to have him
sacked after his persistent lobbying of France and Russia
started to produce pressure in the UN Security Council against

And now, as the US and Britain try to find new policies to
'contain' President Saddam in the wake of Operation Desert
Fox, he is openly contemptuous of their attempt to refine
sanctions by allowing Iraq to sell more oil to buy food and
medical supplies for its suffering people.

He says it is not just a question of unprecedentedly low oil
prices, of Iraq being unable to pump anything like the $5.2
billion worth of oil allowed by the UN under its oil-for-food
deal, or of the 40 per cent deducted for compensation and UN
costs. It is the very concept of the embargo that is wrong.

'I am convinced that sanctions as a tool do not work; the only
success may have been in South Africa. But they fail totally
when you have a military dictatorship, as Iraq has shown.
Smart sanctions that are focused on the leadership seem to be
nigh impossible; the people inevitably are going to get hurt.'

He dismisses suggestions that Iraq itself hinders the
distribution of supplies, though there are well-documented
cases of the manipulation of ration cards by the feared
mukhabarat secret police and the stockpiling and theft of
medicine by the regime.

'It's not true. The UN monitors every bag of rice, sack of
wheat. We know where it goes. The fact is that oil-for-food is
a failure. Anything that sustains malnutrition at 30 per cent
and leads to the death of so many thousands is a failure.'

With almost daily US-Iraqi clashes in the no-fly zones - and
11 civilians killed on Monday - he believes the moment is
right for a radical rethink on Iraq, but he has no clear answer
to some difficult questions.

How are sanctions to be eased or lifted without rewarding
President Saddam for his intransigence? And what or who
will replace the inspectors of the UN special commission,
Unscom - discredited by allegations of spying for the US and
Britain - and who must certify that Iraq has been rid of its
nuclear, chemical and biological weapons before the embargo
can end?

Mr Halliday believes that the military threat from Iraq has
been exaggerated and that what remains of its arsenal can be
tackled only in the context of a regional effort to control
weapons of mass destruction - particularly, Israel's formidable
nuclear capability. 

President Saddam, he agrees, has the unique distinction of
using chemical weapons against his own people - the Kurds
of Halabja - but he points out that these were originally
supplied by the US to help Iraq fight the Iranian mullahs.

'Hiding behind the fact that Saddam is a monster is just not
good enough,' he says. 'It's a cop-out. We've got to recognise
that he is there and he's not likely to disappear next week.'


Inlayed into the above article was:

Allied pilots freed to hit
harder at Iraqi violations of
no-fly zones 

Wednesday January 27, 1999 

The United States and Britain are allowing their pilots more
scope to hit back at increased Iraqi hostility in the no-fly
zones, it emerged yesterday as US warplanes pounded
missile, artillery and radar sites for the fourth day running,
writes Ian Black. 

President Bill Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy
Berger, said American pilots were now allowed to bomb not
only the source of an attack but to target Iraq's air defences
more widely.

'The president has responded to requests by the military for
more expansive rules of engagement,' hd said.

In London, the Ministry of Defence said RAF rules had also
changed 'in line with the Americans' and had been approved
by ministers. 'They enable us to take action if our aircraft are
threatened in any way,' a spokesman said.

In yesterday's clashes, the Pentagon said, three targets were hit
when US jets were threatened by ground missiles and
anti-aircraft artillery near Mosul.

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