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Re: Oil for Food - What's going on?

> It was reported yesterday, both on CNN and on German State TV that the
> Oil for food programme has been suspended after Iraq refused to a
> shortening of the time period for which the extension is valid. This
> development is to me just as surprising as it is worrying. Does this now
> mean that for the time being even the meagre resources of this aid will
> be cut off, leaving the Iraqi people with nothing at all? As I said this
> took me completely by surprise and I would appreciate if anyone could
> let me know: 
> 1) Is this as serious as it seems ?
> 2) Is there any chance of a quick solution to the problem before the
> flow of aid to Iraq is cut completely? 

Thanks Sean,

I think that this move is primarily for show and will not have many
practical consequences: Iraq's escrow account still has billions of
dollars in it; it is also possible that the terminals from which oil is
exported have some days of supplies present. 

It certainly seems to me to be a political gamble (I keep wishing that the
Iraqi government would make our job easier) as not even Russia is publicly
supporting them.  I don't know what the government is hoping to achieve.
They are demonstrating that they can still influence the political process
(something that they have been less able to do without inspectors present:
with the Unscom in Iraq the government could use them to cause crises as
well) but there is a risk of backfire.

p.s. in my last posting I had requested that the discussion on genocide be
moved off of the discussion list.  After that request I received three
e-mails telling me that the discussion was still generally interesting.
In retrospect, I made the wrong decision and would invite people who felt
quashed by my remarks to consider the discussion open again.

Colin Rowat

Coordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq

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