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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 Online) ******************** Oil Industry Wants Government Help By H. Josef Hebert, Associated Press Writer, Thursday, January 28, 1999; 6:47 p.m. (extract) 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 Alternatives By Barton Gellman, Washington Post Staff Writer, Thursday, January 28, 1999 (extract) 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 interview. "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 (extract) 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 sanctions. ******************** -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html