The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Sanctions do NOT 'work' in northern Iraq

State Department spokesman James Rubin points to northern Iraq as a place
where economic sanctions "work"[1], as opposed to Iraq's center/south where
the humanitarian consequences are more severe.  Opponents of sanctions have
established that differences in geography, funding, program tenure, and NGO
participation explain these differences.  

However, the focus on regional disparity obscures a larger truth: that the
situation in northern Iraq remains dire.
> Today's under-five mortality rate for northern Iraq is roughly equivalent
to the rate observed in Iraq 20-years ago.[2]
> The current under-five mortality rate for northern Iraq -- 72 -- remains
more than double the rate for most neighboring countries.  For example, the
rate for Saudi Arabia is only 30; for Iran, 37; for Kuwait, 14; for Turkey,
47; for Syria, 34; and for Jordan, 25.[3]  Statistical projections show
Iraq's mortality rate would now be roughly 30, had the decline observed in
1960-1990 continued into this decade.[4])
> As Rubin notes, the under-five mortality rate for northern Iraq has begun
to decline.  However, the decline is slight and the comparison rates were
inflated by the Iran/Iraq war, regional infighting, and Ba'athist

These are bloodless statistics, but they mask a vast human tragedy.  An
increase by a single point in these rates represents an annual toll of
hundreds of additional children who would be hale but became ill; who
visited the hospital instead of their friends; who were buried rather than
returning home.  Rubin implies these calamitous results are the intention of
our policies ... that this is how they "work".   

These words should haunt him.

Drew Hamre
Golden Valley, MN USA

[1] Statement of Assistant Secretary of State James Rubin during the daily
briefing for August 12, 1999, following the release of UNICEF's report (see   "It is our
view that the fact that in Northern Iraq, the infant morality rate is
improving with the same sanctions regime under the rest of Iraq shows that
in places where Saddam Hussein isn't manipulating the medicines and the
supplies, that this works."
[2] Data for Iraq's north and center/south are from UNICEF's recent surveys,
available online at  From each
region's respective report, data are pulled from "Table 3" on page 10.
Under-five mortality rates are as follows:
                Iraq's Center/South     Northern Iraq
1994-99         131                     72
1989-94         92                      90
1984-89         56                      80
1979-84         67                      104
[3] Non-Iraq statistics are from
As a further frame of reference, the USA's U5 mortality rate is 8; the UK's,
[4] See

This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To be removed/added, email, NOT
the whole list. Please do not send emails with attached files to the list
*** Archived at ***

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]