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Current govt thinking about future of sanctions

Extracts of news articles concerning future of sanctions.
*       Effect of sanctions and oil-for-food on US oil industry
(Associated Press)
*       3 of 5 permanent UN Security Council members favour lifting
embargo, plus US interest in "fooling around and keeping things static"
(Washington Post)
*       BBC Defence Analyst: "there must be doubts about just how long
... the world at large will be prepared to maintain UN sanctions." (BBC

Oil Industry Wants Government Help
By H. Josef Hebert, Associated Press Writer, Thursday, January 28, 1999;
6:47 p.m.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Oil state senators and industry representatives
called on the Clinton administration and Congress to intervene Thursday
and help the oil industry survive the most severe economic downturn in
decades. "If we do nothing, things are going to get worse," Sen. Frank
Murkowski, R-Alaska, declared at the opening of a hearing by his Energy
and Natural Resources Committee on the oil industry's economic woes --
what some have called a severe depression. John Lichtblau, an analyst
for the Petroleum Industry Research Foundation. attributed the collapse
to an oversupply and unexpected drop in worldwide demand, largely
because of the Asia economic crisis and warmer winter weather. "The
single most important reason was, and still is, the Asia-Pacific
economic recession,'' said Lichtblau. Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., said
Iraq also was to blame for problems in America's oil patch. Iraq's oil
exports were allowed to increase from 700,000 barrels a day in late 1996
to 2.5 million barrels a day at the end of 1998 under a U.N.-approved
program, in which the country's oil revenue is used to pay for
humanitarian assistance. The added supply increased the downward
pressure on prices, analysts said. 

The industry's problems, stemming from a 55 percent decline in crude
prices over the last two years, have seen thousands of workers lose
their jobs, with no improvement in sight. Small companies are threatened
with bankruptcy, while larger ones such as Exxon and Mobil are pushing
toward consolidation to reduce costs.  The price of a barrel of
benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at just over $11 a barrel last
month, compared to $25 a barrel in December, 1996. And some lesser
grades have been sold for less than $6 a barrel, Jay Hakes, head of the
Federal Energy Information Administration, told the committee. And, he
added, "the recovery may take some time," with prices not likely to
rebound to the $20 a barrel level until 2000 or 2001. Still, while the
oil industry suffers, others are benefiting.

UNSCOM Losing Role In Iraqi Arms Drama: Bickering Security Council Seeks
By Barton Gellman, Washington Post Staff Writer, Thursday, January 28,


Three of five permanent members of the Security Council now favor
lifting the oil embargo and shifting from the aggressive search for
Iraq's hidden weapons to a more restricted system of monitoring against
future threats. Russia, France and China are explicitly looking for
arrangements that would be acceptable to Iraq, and are speaking publicly
about disbanding the U.N. Special Commission, or UNSCOM, which has led
the hunt for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs and the
ballistic missiles that deliver them.

Even the United Kingdom, which has stood with the United States among
UNSCOM's strongest backers, is backpedaling in private consultations.
British Foreign Minister Robin Cook, according to a diplomat with access
to notes of his recent conversation with Secretary of State Madeleine K.
Albright, lamented that UNSCOM and its executive chairman, Richard
Butler, are political liabilities in the wake of November's bombing of
Iraq and disclosures this month about U.S. eavesdropping under cover of
U.N. inspections. "UNSCOM and Butler are rapidly becoming history and
not part of solving our current problem," a British official said in an

"Our policy now is what we call containment plus replacement" of Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein, said Bruce Riedel, senior director on the [US]
National Security Council staff for near East and south Asian affairs,
in remarks to reporters Friday. "In the long term, the only real genuine
compliance in disarmament will come about through a change of leadership
in Baghdad."
U.S. officials maintain, as one put it, that "time is on our side"
because the Security Council is deadlocked and the status quo supports
Washington's goal of starving Iraq's military machine for funds. "We
bought seven years and that's not bad," said an American official with
responsibility for Iraq. "The longer we can fool around in the council
and keep things static, the better." 

BBC Online, Thursday, January 28, 1999 Published at 20:38 GMT 
Analysis: Dealing with Iraq, BBC Defence Analyst Nick Childs


In the absence of agreement at the United Nations, or the return of UN
weapons inspectors, the United States and Britain may be faced with
continued military pressure as the only policy option, with the prospect
of contemplating the renewal of the controversial air and missile
strikes in order to maintain the credibility of that policy. Washington
says it is comfortable with this approach - a preferable alternative to
the broken-backed inspection and monitoring regime which Iraq seemed to
be forcing on Unscom. But there must be doubts about just how long this
policy can be sustained and how long, in the face of paralysis in the UN
Security Council, the world at large will be prepared to maintain UN


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