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Re: oil-for-food

> does anyone know when the UNSC first proposed the oil-for-food deal to
> Iraq?

In August 1991 the UNSC passed SCR 706, which was a proto-oil-for-food
resolution.  It would have allowed Iraq (under September's SCR 712) to
sell $1.6 billion of oil every 180 days.  This cap, for which there was no
humanitarian reason given that all funds were to be paid into a UN
controlled account, would have left less money available for Iraq's
humanitarian needs than what the UN Secretary General had just
reported to the SC as being the minimum consistent with Iraq's most basic
humanitarian needs.

There is therefore strong evidence that the original oil-for-food deal was
designed to be rejected, which it was.  David Fine wrote in the Middle
East Report (Jan/Feb 1992) that

        UN officials were convinced ... that the US intention was to
        present Saddam Hussein with so unattractive a package that Iraq
        would reject it and thus take on the blame, at least in Western
        eyes, for continued civilian suffering.

Denis Halliday explained in January that Iraq tried to go it alone by
devoting more resources to agriculture but, by 1995, it was clear that
this had failed:  the mortality rate were too high and agriculture wasn't

In 1995, SCR 987 was passed; it then took two years for it to be
implemented, partly due to Iraq's continued suspicion that it was
designed primarily to ease political pressure for the lifting of the

[some details taken from Mil Rai's letter to the editor of the
Independent, 3 September 1999]

Colin Rowat
Coordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq

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