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FW: Major sanctions coverage in the Houston Chronicle and Toronto Sta r

Regarding the Toronto Star OpEd, Colin Rowat has made the following valuable
points which, I thought, merited posting.  Thanks, Colin!
In addition to Colin's points:
> The OpEd misquotes Albright, slightly.  She didn't say "... I think the
price is worth it ...";  rather, she sought refuge in the exculpatory
plural: "... *we* think the price is worth it".  
> Questions of the Geneva Convention's application outside of declared wars
bring to mind "the surreal phrase of Thomas Pickering, the US undersecretary
of state for political affairs, (that -- rather than a state of war -- we
are) in a 'state of animosity' with Baghdad." (David Sharrock in The
Guardian, April 24, 1999)

Drew Hamre
Golden Valley, MN USA
<<From Colin Rowat -- Coordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq>>

> While I very much agreed with Mr Siddiqui's editorial perspective I was
> uncomfortable (with the following):
> > A majority of the 20 million still stuck there are malnourished
> I've only ever seen child malnutrition systematically reported.  The
> latest oil-for-food report by the Secretary-General to the Security
> Council (S/1999/896,
> suggests that about
> 1/5 children in Centre/South Iraq are underweight; a similar fraction are
> stunted (paragraph 42).  In the north 1/7 children are underweight, about
> 1/5 stunted (paragraph 70). 
> > The number of civilian deaths since 1991 is between 1.5 million and 1.7
> million, including 500,000 children. The death toll of kids under 5 is
> about 250 a day.
> These claims refer, I think, to "excess" deaths, those deaths that would
> not have occurred in another scenario.  The 500,000 figure is that used by
> Unicef as an estimate for the
> additional number of children who might have died had Iraq's child
> mortality rate continued its linear downward trend of the 1980s.  Not all
> of the extra deaths can be attributed to sanctions: the Gulf War itself
> damaged infrastructure, making sanctions more harmful; the 1991 civil
> uprising in Iraq led to direct deaths in the ensuing repression as well as
> to further infrastructural damage.
> The 1.5 - 1.7 million total death toll is similar to the 1.4 million
> claimed by Iraqi Health Minister Oumid Medhat Mubarak in January (Arabic
> News Service, 18/1/99).  I do not know of any external validification of
> these figures.  They may be accurate, though, as Mr Mubarak's figure of
> 428,920 children under five is very similar to the more recent Unicef
> figure (n.b. Mubarak claims that these are deaths attributable to
> sanctions, though).
> About oil-for-food, Mr Siddiqui claims that:
> > Nearly half the revenues are withheld for U.N. expenses
> OFF revenues are paid into a number of accounts.  The ESB (53% of
> revenues) is responsible for humanitarian supplies to the people of
> Centre/South Iraq; the ESC (13%) is its equivalent in Iraqi Kurdistan.
> Therefore no more than 34% of revenues could be "withheld for UN
> expenses"; the largest of those "expenses" is the Compensation Fund.
> > Of the half left, Saddam diverts some to his military and ruling elite. 
> This is almost certainly true but I've yet to see a UN report mention it.
> I do hear more about other charitable aid going astray.  
> > ... no chlorine for desalination plants
> The 18 May 1999 oil-for-food report (S/1999/573,
> describes the import of
> chlorine into Iraq.  By 31 March 6,303 tons of chlorine had arrived in
> Centre/South Iraq, 75% of the ordered quantity (paragraph 40).  In the
> North, 328 tons have been distributed, described as "ample" (paragraph
> 76). The chlorine isn't for _desalination_, though, but water treatment.
> The August report, cited above, report the Centre/South receiving some
> 7,300 tons of chlorine (paragraph 48).  In Iraqi Kurdistan, 380 tons were
> used, 252 tons kept as stocks (paragraph 75).
> > or no pencils (because the lead may be used as a radar-deflecting coat
> on planes). 
> I am told by people working with the Sanctions Committee that there is no
> "list" of forbidden items.  Contracts are evaluated on a case-by-case
> basis.  As the Committee is not required to make its decisions public it
> is never clear why a particular contract has been rejected.
> > the cruelties being inflicted on Iraqi civilians contravene the Geneva
> Convention against genocide
> The Geneva Convention, as I understand it, applies under conditions of
> war.  While the US and the UK are certainly bombing Iraq it is not
> technically clear that this constitutes a state of war. 
> I do apologise for the above points.  I agree entirely with Mr Siddiqui's
> position but do think that the case could be more strongly put.  In any
> case, the prominence given to these articles is good news.
> Colin Rowat
> Coordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
> (or)
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