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Thanks for the posting Mark. > This came from the USIA website. Is this a proper copy of a UN > document? No. The National Security Council, who wrote the document, is a branch of the US government, not the UN. Their document should therefore be seen in a similar light to, for example, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office statements on this topic. The numbers contained seem correct, when I recognised them. What becomes more questionable are interpretation and uncited claims. An example of the first is that > [Saddam] alone has the power to lift these sanctions by complying with > all relevant UN resolutions. This is a questionable assertion both because Security Council Resolutions are implemented with varying degrees of rigour depending on the country concerned and because the Security Council has the ability to override previous resolutions; this ability is precisely what has allowed the "oil for food" deal. The suggestion that the oil for food deal is the world's largest humanitarian aid programme is one that Madeleine Albright made last year in an International Herald Tribune article. This too is a questionable assumption as Iraq is paying for all of its imports; the claim therefore makes as much sense as a claim that China's grain consumption represents the world's largest food aid programme. There is no doubt that the Iraqi government refused to implement the initial oil for food proposals for many years. There are, though, varying interpretations here. One is that the Baghdad government recognised oil for food's intrusiveness and gambled that they could get by on domestic agricultural production. By 1995 it was obvious that they could not, so they swallowed their pride and returned to the negotiating table. The article is also partial, generally claiming manipulation from Baghdad without mentioning the potential for abuse of the sanctions mechanism by veto-holding members of the Sanctions Committee of the Security Council. Denis Halliday, formerly in charge of oil for food in Iraq, claimed when he was in Cambridge in January that the US and UK were holding up humanitarian contracts for political ends on this committee. > Saddam Hussein's spending habits prior to and during implementation of > the oil-for-food program clearly demonstrate that he has no intentions > of alleviating the plight of his people. > -- The Iraqi regime continues to build lavish palaces, hide its > weapons of mass destruction, and hoard food for its elite military > units, instead of devote resources to the caring and feeding of its people. The above illustrates both partial interpretation and poorly cited claims. UN reports will contrast the Iraqi social system before the imposition of sanctions in 1990 with it after. Crudely, the comparison paints Iraq before sanctions as a generous welfare state providing free health and medical care. Against this, there is no doubt that Saddam's regime is not directly responsible to Iraq's population. The poorly cited claim here is that of the palaces. The New York based Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR), the NGO springing out of the 1991 Harvard Study Team to Iraq, tracked this claim back to the US State Department (UNSanctioned Suffering, 1996). They had been using a specific figure of some billions of dollars on the basis of back-of-the-envelope calculations. Since then specific figures have been replaced by mere claims of lavishness. Relatedly, The Economist reported last year that the world's largest mosque was being planned for Baghdad, to be built on a bombed airport; while Saddam's Ba'ath Party is officially secular it has recognised the potential for maintaining its grip on power by tapping into the resurgence of Islam in Iraq (31 January, 1998). Colin Rowat Coordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/casi King's College Cambridge CB2 1ST tel: +44 (0)468 056 984 England fax: +44 (0)1223 335 219 -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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